Monthly Archives: August 2012

Standard Parking Awarded City Airport Parking Contract

Standard Parking has been the primary vendor for parking operations at both O’Hare and Midway airports for nearly two decades.

So, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the company was awarded a new five year, $58 million contract to continue running things at both airports according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Standard beat out LAZ Parking, Imperial Parking and CPS Chicago Parking LLC to win the day.

The Sun-Times points out coincidentally, Standard Parking has made contributions to local politicians over $190,000 over the last few years and claims the firm carries a lot of what Chicagoans call “clout.”

Bike Riders Dangerous, Unlawful, Jerks Says Writer

Bikers "Mass" up traffic in Wicker Park

Bike riders don’t obey the Rules of the Road, ride recklessly, are a danger to pedestrians and are just plain jerks.

At least that’s what Chicago Sun-Times writer Mark Konkol thinks.

Konkol, a driver and biker, wrote an opinion piece criticizing the need for and cost of, protected bike lanes last summer and was roundly attacked by the biking community for this views.

So he’s back making friends with bikers in a recent column where he points out the new fancy bike lanes have, in his opinion, emboldened bike riders to flaunt the law even more, drive more recklessly and in general behave like jerks.

Konkol even cites 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, who’s ward encompasses much of downtown, who hears from constituents every day complaining about bad biking behavior. Reilly has been pushing the Chicago Department of Transportation to take actions to rein in bike riders.

At the very least, Reilly just wants bike riders to stop at stop signs so they don’t run over pedestrians. But according to Konkol’s observations pedestrians walking near the Kinzie Street protected bike lanes do so at their own peril.

Read Mark Konkol’s full column, “Rogue bikers ignore Rules of the Road.”

Taxi Crash Kills Pedestrian, Injures Passenger

A horrific car crash involving a taxi driver killed one person and injured the taxi’s passenger and driver at Milwaukee & Chicago Avenues early Tuesday morning according to the Chicago Tribune.

The car, according to another cab driver who witnessed the crash, hit a light pole and then hit a pedestrian who was pronounced dead on the scene. The cab caught on fire immediately after the driver and passenger escaped from the vehicle.

Red Light Camera Tickets, Revenue Plunges In Plainfield

Something fishy is going on.

Plainfield’s red light camera program is less than three years old.

But that western suburb’s red light cameras seem to be having some sort of effect at the two RLC intersection.

According to the Joliet Herald News, red light camera violations and revenue have been falling since the cameras were first installed in 2010.

The city issued 3,573 violations and brought in $8100 in 2010. 2,953 violations were issued in 2011 and only 1,200 RLC tickets have gone out the first seven months of the year with barely $2000 in revenue realized.

The reduction in red light running at those locations is a positive thing and one can debate whether how much of the decline is due to RLCs or not.

What is perhaps the most interesting revelation from the data, and completely missed by the story’s author is the disconnect between the number of violations and the revenue Plainfield brought in.

The Unitended Consequences Of Higher Gas Mileage Standards

54 miles per gallon.

The Federal government has imposed some pretty strict mileage standards on car makers. 35 mpg by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. Just check out the wonderful results of increased CAFE standards put out by the White House in the graphic above.

It all sounds and looks terrific, right?

Sure does…unless you look at the unintended consequences of these policies like columnist Harry R. Jackson, Jr. did in a recent piece.

According to Jackson’s recent column, these newly imposed CAFE standards will have two major effects.

CPD Writing Fewer Parking Tickets, LAZ Writing More

With less Chicago police officers doing more work trying to keep up with increases in city crime, it’s no surprise that cops are writing even fewer parking tickets than last year.

15% fewer than last year, which comes on top of a 20% drop in 2010, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

But even though police issued parking tickets are down, city Parking Enforcement Aides along with employees for the private contractor SERCO are on pace to write more parking violations than they did last year.

While PEA and SERCO ticketing is up marginally, the biggest percentage increase in ticket writing is coming from LAZ Parking who, as contractors for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC are allowed to issue expired parking meter violations per the parking meter lease contract.

LAZ Parking enforcement has written 72,933 meter violations as of July 31st compared to 43,947 for the same period the year before–a whopping 66% increase.

Palatine Parking Ticket May Violate Constitutional Protected Privacy Rights

All this controversy over a measly $20 parking ticket.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled early this week that printing personal information on a parking ticket may infringe upon a driver’s Constitutionally protected right to privacy.

The plaintiff, Jason Senne filed a lawsuit when he received a $20 parking ticket in 2010 for parking overnight in Palatine. The ticket, according to the plaintiff was on his windshield, available for the public to view it and contained personal data about him including his name, address, driver’s license number, date of birth, height and weight according to Courthouse News Service.

Monday’s reversal of the decision came after the full court agreed to rehear the case this year.

The Geek Joins Outside The Loop Radio Thursday Morning

Outside the Loop Radio's Mike Stephen

Here’s an idea.

While you sit at your desk at work Thursday morning, instead of surfing the web for dinner recipes or trying to discreetly watch internet porn at your computer, tune in Outside the Loop Radio and listen to the Parking Ticket Geek.

Mike Stephen, the charming and handsome host of OTL Radio and the Geek talk rising gas prices, towed cars, the parking meter lease deal and all sorts of driving related topics starting at 10 AM on WLUW 88.7 FM.

If you’ve never listened, Outside the Loop Radio is easily one of the best public affairs radio shows in Chicago. With the exception of the Geek, Stephens has a knack for bringing in a great spectrum of interesting guests every week. We’re still not sure how he crams so much good information into a half hour show–it’s quite impressive.

So, forgo the YouTube videos of Kate Upton doing the “Cat Daddy Dance,” this morning and tune in to WLUW 88.7 FM or stream OTL here.

Never Run Over A Police Officer’s Foot

Here’s a piece of advice.

If a cop is standing by your car giving you a parking ticket, do not, we repeat DO NOT, run over the police officer’s foot with your vehicle.

In the video above posted late last week, a certain Mr. Douche of New York City, driving a very expensive red Ferrari, thought his fast car could out race parking ticket being written by an officer of the NYPD.

After gunning the engine, the car lurches forward and allegedly runs over the officer’s foot.

Of course, hilarity ensues.

City Announces New Street Obstacles To Make Chicago Driving Even More Confusing, Challenging, Frustrating

Lincoln Avenue micro-park

The City of Chicago has announced two new initiatives the past few days to add more bike lanes and micro-parks to Chicago’s streets in the near future.

On Friday, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein showed off the first of four seasonal “People Streets” which, according to CDOT’s press release, “will convert ‘excess’ asphalt into year-round hardscape public
spaces with the purpose of creating safer intersections and additional open space in neighborhoods. People Streets are intended for dead-end streets, cul-de-sacs, or areas of excess pavement.”

The idea was pioneered in San Francisco, with the goal of increasing pedestrian traffic and encouraging economic development in these less trafficked areas. While these spaces often attracted the homeless, the concept seemed popular with many residents with homes.

These spots in Chicago typically take up two to three on-street parking spots adjacent to sidewalks essentially expanding open space to be utilized by pedestrians.

“By expanding the sidewalks, these spots create seasonal space for outdoor seating
and dining,” said Klein. “As a placemaking tool, they also contribute to an increase of pedestrian volumes and help promote economic development in neighborhood retail corridors.”

Of course, the city will have to figure out a way to compensate Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, the company that controls the city’s metered parking system, for the lost parking spaces. Most likely, other metered spots will be added in areas where metered spots currently don’t exist.

The first four of these spots will be located at:

  • Lincoln Avenue between Southport and Lakewood Avenue in Lakeview.
  • Clark Street and Farragut Avenue in Andersonville.
  • 47th Street and Greenwood Avenue in Kenwood.
  • 47th Street and Champlain Avenue in Bronzeville.

More Protected Bike Lanes Announced