Monthly Archives: May 2012

Death, Taxes, & Parking Meters

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes,” over 200 years ago.

But today, in modern Chicago, you can add parking meters to Franklin’s adage.

Surprisingly, parking meters and taxes have combined in a particularly galling fashion.

Tribune columnist Eric Zorn tipped off The Expired Meter
to this toxic combination on Tuesday when he pointed to a relatively new policy from Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to begin charging city and county parking taxes at the handful of metered parking lots across the city.

According to the Chicago Parking Meters website, the company had not been charging drivers the taxes (but paid them anyways) until they changed that policy this February and began passing on the taxes to drivers.

City Estimates NATO Parking Meter Bill At $65,000

City of Chicago officials are telling the Chicago Tribune that they estimate the bill for the loss of parking meter revenue due to the recent NATO Summit to be around $65,000.

Parking Meter Vandalism On The Rise?

Is parking meter vandalism on the rise again?

That’s the question posed in an email which included the photograph above from an observant reader.

The photo shows a meter made completely inoperable by black spray paint which covers all signage and digital readouts on the face of the pay box.

“Geek! Check out this photo I took today,” says reader Ron. “There’s also a big gold colored spray painted piece of graffiti down the side of the machine. Has there been an upswing in meter vandalism lately?”

None of the neighboring machines were touched according to Ron.

While we’ve noticed a few pay box machines with some naughty four letter words scribbled on the front of a meter or two, there doesn’t seem to be any dramatic increase in vandalism like the city saw in the spring and summer of 2009.

Lake Shore Drive Closes For Bike Event Sunday Morning

Planning an early morning drive along the lakefront on Sunday?

You may have to settle for taking a detour because Lake Shore Drive will be closed for Bike the Drive Sunday morning.

Shock Poll: Chicagoans Opppsed To Speed Cameras

We can’t believe it.

What a shock.

According to a Chicago Tribune/WGN TV poll, 54% of Chicago voters are against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speed camera program.

Wow.

But even mores surprisingly, 69% of the 700 respondents to the poll felt that speed cameras were about raising revenue and not about improving traffic safety. Only 37% believed the program was primarily about improving safety.

Traffic Expert: Holiday Traffic Easier, Lighter This Year

But Traffic Enforcement Up

Good news drivers.
One local traffic expert believes Memorial Day Holiday traffic will be a bit easier than in recent years due to reduced construction projects.

Because there’s less road local road construction than in previous years, News Radio 780 Traffic Reporter Steven Hass believes traffic for this holiday weekend should be running smoother and faster than last year.

“The on-going construction list is much shorter this year than last, but there are still a couple of projects,” said Haas rattling off a list of construction and repaving projects around the area. “Of course, there are numerous suburban projects, but all in all, it is a lighter year in the construction department.”

Parking Meter Company Sends City New Bill For $22 Million

Stunning.

According to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, a lot of disabled drivers are parking for free at metered parking spaces around the city. Millions of dollars worth.

CPM says it’s cost them $22 million in revenue in 2011 according to a story in today’s Chicago Tribune.

Per the parking meter lease agreement, approved by the vast majority of the Chicago City Council and signed by Mayor Daley in December of 2008, the meter company can bill the city when the number of drivers utilizing handicap license plates or disability parking placards exceeds a set percentage.

A week ago, CPM submitted their bill to the city for $22 million to compensate the company for disabled parkers just for 2011. The company invoiced the city $13 million for the same item in 2010.

$1 Million Parking Space For Sale In New York City

One million bucks.

Even if you had the cash, would you pay that much for a parking space in New York City?

Most sane people would say no.

But a NYC real estate developer is betting someone will fork over that much cash for the most expensive and most exclusive parking space in the world according to Yahoo News via the New York Post.

Milwaukee: Parking Tickets First, Ask Questions Later

The City of Milwaukee has a new parking ticket policy.

Write the ticket first, straighten out the problem later.

Former Fox News Chicago reporter Steve Chamraz did a great piece for WTMJ 4 News spotlighting some very hard to digest parking enforcement policies from Chicago’s neighbor to the north.

The city is pushing parking checkers (Milwaukee’s version of a Parking Enforcement Aide) to write tickets even though they may know the ticket will be thrown out later.

NATO Summit Will Make Monday’s Commute A Challenge

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best is what they say.

While the City of Chicago has done a respectable job of handling the challenge of the NATO Summit over the past few days, the major road closures which will still be in effect through 6 PM Monday will have an impact on both morning and evening commutes.

With Lake Shore Drive closed from 39th St. all the way to Balbo, I-55 closed from LSD to I-90/94, and many major streets east of Michigan Ave. shut down as well, the morning commute for drivers who normally use these thoroughfares is going to be a challenge.

Even though some downtown employers have told many of their employees to stay home Monday, this decrease in bodies won’t completely offset the increased vehicle volume from those commuting by car displaced by the LSD closures.