Monthly Archives: July 2012

Street Cleaning Good Samaritan

Who ever you are, thanks!

Your identity is unknown to us and we’ve never had to actually park on the 4100 block of North Ashland Avenue on a Wednesday or any day for that matter.

But the fact that you took the time to hand draw and post a pair of bright orange paper signs on trees to warn motorists not to park there due to street cleaning every Wednesday is laudable.

We’re confident your signs have saved many an unwary driver from an expensive street cleaning parking ticket. We’re equally confident and happy that your signs have robbed the city of hundreds of dollars of precious revenue from parking tickets that never happened.

On behalf of Chicago drivers everywhere we want to thank you for your generosity of spirit and kindness toward your fellow Chicago driver.

We need more people like you in Chicago.

Could Cars Powered By Natural Gas Be The Answer To Expensive Gasoline?

Honda Civic Natural Gas

Is natural gas the future for alternative fuel vehicles?

While electric vehicle charging stations remain generally underused and the sales of electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf or high priced Tesla remain lukewarm, it seems that sales for natural gas powered vehicles are heating up.

The Chicago Tribune spotlights the small, overlooked but quickly growing trend in natural gas powered vehicles.

While sales of vehicles that run on compressed natural gas have traditionally been for fleets of vans and other business vehicles, because the price of gasoline has risen and remains high, while the cost of natural gas has dropped, consumers have begun purchasing natural gas powered cars.

Actually, there’s only one on the market–the Honda Civic Natural Gas.

Red Light Camera Runaround For Uptown Couple

This is the kind of story that does, or at least should, elicit howls of red faced outrage.

A young man with chronic mental health issues and a history of drug abuse hijacks his own mother’s car, blows through four red light cameras intersections and is ultimately caught, arrested and sentenced to nine years in prison according to the Chicago Tribune’s Problem Solver column.

The parents dutifully filed all the appropriate paper work including police reports and stolen vehicle reports.

In the meantime, and for reasons unexplained in the article, the city’s Law Department came calling looking to get paid the $1,268.80 that was outstanding for the four RLC tickets and a city sticker violation which of course, had all doubled.

A Call To Arms For Chicago Drivers?

Art Golab

Long time Sun-Times writer Art Golab is angry.

Golab goes on an epic rant in the newspaper about what this city’s war on driving citing red light cameras, speed bumps, city sticker fees, parking tickets, high parking meter fees due to the meter lease deal, stop signs, inefficient red light timing and the impending speed camera program. Whew!

Overall, he’s right.

Chicago has the highest downtown parking meter rates in the nation, is the red light camera capitol of the U.S., is one of the most congested urban areas, fees and taxes for driving keep on going up and will shortly become the speed cam capitol of America.

The war on drivers continues.

Ultimately, he implores someone to create an organization to actively lobby and protest the city’s powers that be on issues that affect local motorists. Something akin to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coaltion or the National Rifle Association but for car owners.

Stuff To Avoid This Weekend

While many publications  give readers the skinny on what’s hip and happening on weekends so people can attend those events.

This site likes to warn drivers of events to avoid so they don’t spend extra hours of their life tied up in traffic.

CRITICAL MASS

Our first heads up is the monthly Critical Mass ride.

Always the last Friday evening of the month, no matter the weather, Critical Mass for those unaware is essentially a raucous bike parade composed of a few hundred or sometimes thousands of generally hardcore bicycle aficionados. The sheer volume of these bikers tie up motor vehicle traffic wherever their 10-15 mile course takes them.

Things kick off at 5:30 from Daley Center Plaza downtown. The route is never announced until minutes before it begins.

Don’t Get Beat By The Heat This Summer

Make Sure Your Car Is Ready For The Family Road Trip

No one denies the heat this summer has been pretty darn brutal.

With gas prices substantially lower than last summer, many more people are considering taking a family road trip or vacation before the summer is over.

If you’re planning to hit the road soon, it may be a good time to make sure the family station wagon is prepared too.

Deaths From Traffic Crashes Up 9% Statewide

After many years of significantly declining traffic related deaths, fatalities from crashes seem to be on the rise again.

So far this year, Illinois has recorded 533 traffic fatalities (as of Wedneaday) compared to 488 at this time last year. That’s 45 more deaths and a 9% increase according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Illinois Department of Transportation officials attribute the increases to a lot of factors–increases in distracted driving and driving while impaired as well as a recent spike in wrong way driving.

But Illinois is not the only state seeing increased crashes and traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released numbers showing a 13.5% increase in traffic deaths nationally for the first quarter of 2012.

Quinn Signs Law Ending Free Meter Parking For Disabled

Disabled drivers, get your quarters ready.

Over 600,000 Illinois motorists with handicap plates or disability parking placards will say goodbye to free parking at metered parking spots starting in 2014.

Monday Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law sweeping changes to legislation controlling disabled parking statewide, but perhaps has the most impact in Chicago.

Part of the impetus for the legislation came from reports of wide spread abuse of disabled parking placards to park for free in Chicago’s very expensive metered parking spots first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

In addition, the City of Chicago began receiving multi-billion dollar bills from Chicago Parking Meters, LLC the company which has the 75 year concession to operate the meters. Per the contract signed with CPM in 2008, the city has to compensate the company for the massive number of drivers using disability placard and handicap plates to legally park without feeding the meter.

The vast majority of drivers with disabled placards and/or handicap plates will no longer be eligible for the free parking. Only drivers who cannot physically operate or access a parking meter will still be allowed to park without feeding the meter. Those drivers will be required to have their physician to sign a medical form in order to obtain the new placard or window decal to park at meters for free.

‘Douche Bag’ Driver Elicits Geek’s Ire

“Daddy, what’s a douche bag?”, my nine year old daughter asked me as we pulled into the parking lot at Jewel on Sunday.

I had just muttered the word under my breath to myself and hoped, even as the inartfully chosen word was escaping my lips, my two children had not heard it.

“That’s a good question honey,” I choked out, scrambling to come up with a definition that would both explain it and somehow, magically erase the word from her vocabulary. “It means someone being naughty or acting like a jerk. It’s another word for being a goof.”

“Who’s a jerk?”, my five year old son chimed in, as this conversation began going from bad to worse. Ugh.

“Look over here,” I directed the kids as they got out of the car gesturing toward a black pickup truck. “Look how this person parked their car.”

A Romantic Comedy Film About Parking Tickets?

A long time ago, when we used to actually get out to see films in an actual theater, I would have probably seen a movie like Expired.

And not just because of the parking ticket related subject matter.