Monthly Archives: November 2012
The Facts, Info & Tips To Keep The Tow Trucks Away
With Chicago’s annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban starting late Friday night at 3AM (technically Saturday morning), here’s what drivers need to know to keep their cars from being hooked up behind a city tow truck.
Starting Saturday, December 1st until April 1st, every night from 3 AM to 7 AM.
Remember, this really means Friday night. Find a safe, legal parking spot on a side street for your car to avoid any driving drama.
This includes portions of Clark St., Devon, Central, Foster, Kedzie, Milwaukee, Division, Madison, State St., Cermak, Archer, Martin Luther King Drive, Morgan, 60th, Cottage Grove, 78th, 103rd, 106th and Torrence.
Here’s the city’s full listing of streets covered by the parking ban.
If you normally park on a major thoroughfare overnight, double-check the signs along the entire block to see if you can legally park there at night.
Give your alderman’s office a call and double check with a staff member to see where you can legally park and/or what streets near where you live are impacted.
Reference the map below to see if streets where you park are affected.
The barricades have been pulled off the streets, and as traffic finally returned to Wacker Drive, men with hard hats are talking about grabbing a beer after their shift to celebrate the end of a construction project they’ve worked for nearly three years.
Upper Wacker Drive opened Friday morning at 9 AM, after a round of speeches and accolades from Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“Wacker Driver is an important thoroughfare for tens of thousands of motorists and pedestrians,” said Emanuel to a crowd of construction workers, city workers and media assembled at the intersection of Van Buren & Wacker Drive Friday morning. “By modernizing and investing in our infrastructure, we are investing in our future and an improved quality of life for Chicagoans.”
“It’s an iconic part of Chicago but also a major thoroughfare,” said Porcori. “66,000 cars a day travel on Wacker Drive. It’s not a highway, it’s a transportation facility–it connects the city.”
On December 1st, a few hundred Chicago drivers will return to where they parked their car the night before only to find it has mysteriously disappeared.
It’s like that every December 1st, when Chicago’s infamous, annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban goes into effect. Every day between 3 AM and 7 AM until April 1st, city tow trucks will spirit away vehicles parked along 107 miles of Chicago’s main arterial streets to one of Chicago’s auto pounds.
Department of Streets and Sanitation spokesperson Anne Sheahan says her department has had boots on the ground since Monday reminding drivers of the winter ban’s imminent return by placing fliers on the windshields of cars parked along streets affected by the ban.
“Our goal is to have the season start with no tows,” says Sheahan. “No one wants to come out and find their car has been moved. We’re trying to do our best to see that people don’t get ticketed and towed.”
Getting towed in violation of the winter ban is expensive. Between the $50 ticket and the $160 in tow fees, drivers will fork over a minimum $210 at the auto pound to get their car back.
Sheahan strongly advises motorists who park along winter ban streets to think of the ban as starting Friday night, not Saturday morning.
“Remember, when you go to bed Friday or park your car Friday night, the ban will take effect overnight,” says Sheahan. “We want to stress to people the ban will be in effect at 3 AM.”
The Parking Ticket Geek joins host Mike Stephen on Outside the Loop Radio this Thursday morning at 10.
Stephen talks to OTL’s reigning “Official parking and driving expert,” about speed cameras and the Windy’s City’s new place in the record books as having issued over $100,000 in parking tickets to a single vehicle.
It’s a beautiful day to install a speed camera.
Contractors for American Traffic Solutions took advantage of the sunny and mild, almost pleasant late November weather Wednesday to begin the company’s first speed cam in the 6500 block of north Western Ave.
The location, adjacent to Warren Park, will capture video and photos of speeders driving northbound on Western, and is one of two locations with ATS equipment as part of the city’s four location speed camera pilot announced last week. The pilot will help the city to determine which of the the two finalists in the bidding process best meets the needs of the city.
ATS will also be installing speed cameras in the 6300 block of S. King Drive near Dulles Elementary School.
ACS, a Xerox company, is the other finalist in the speed camera bidding process according to the Chicago Tribune. ACS will be installing their cameras in the 2200 block of Pershing Road near McKinley Park and at 1400 block of north Division St. near the Near North Montessori School.
ATS spokesperson Charles Territo, who was on site to oversee the installation, said he was not at liberty to discuss many of the details of the installation and the bidding process and only had limited comments to share.
“We’ve been chosen to participate in this phase of the process,” said Territo, a spokesperson for ATS who was helping oversee the installation. “We are excited about the opportunity.”
Gee, thanks for the heads up IDOT.
Late Monday, the Illinois Department of Transportation spit out a press release announcing two weeks of overnight closures of the Congress Parkway Bridge–which began that same Monday night.
Congress Parkway, and in particular its namesake bridge spanning the South Branch of the Chicago River, has been under construction for nearly two years due to a major rehab project to address major structural issues as well as improve the aesthetics of one of Chicago’s most famous entrance points into the city. The original bridge was built back in 1955.
The closures are needed to complete final testing of the new bascule bridge on Congress and will include full closures of the Eisenhower (I-290) at the Circle Interchange and closures of the ramps from the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) and the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94).
The closures will begin Monday night and will go through December 12th, weather permitting.
According to the Chicago Tribune, an Oak Park couple’s van gets stolen out of their garage in the middle of the day.
The thief promptly generated a few red light camera tickets and a ton of parking tickets on the stolen van he or she was driving.
Despite reporting the vehicle stolen, having the title transferred to the insurance company (because the van was not recovered), and writing the city regarding all the thief incurred tickets, the city would not dismiss the bulk of the violations.
After many, many calls, the couple still couldn’t get anyone with the city to use common sense and throw out all the citations.
Instead, the city asked the Secretary of State to suspend the driver’s license of the older woman who’s name was on the vehicle’s title and registration.
Finally, the Tribune’s What’s Your Problem columnist Jon Yates, came to the rescue on behalf of the former van owners.
Well, gather the family around the radio at 11 PM Saturday night, tune in WGN Radio 720, and listen to that jackass the Parking Ticket Geek join the always affable and hilarious Nick Digilio for an hour.
We’re going to discuss some of our latest stories and answer all sorts of parking and driving questions as well as give out parking ticket advice.
Tune in to WGN Radio, AM 720 or stream it via the internet here.
The month long tests, being used to evaluate the technology of a previously reported two finalist vendors in the bidding process for the city’s speed camera program, will begin Monday December 3rd and end on Thursday, January 3rd.
The good news for drivers is no tickets will be issued during this test period.
“All this is, is a test of the equipment,” explained Chicago Department of Transportation spokesperson Pete Scales. “It’s just one phase of the RFP (Request for proposal) process.”