Monthly Archives: December 2012

Chicago Speed Camera Testing Begins Today

The City of Chicago’s test of speed cameras began today at four locations around the city.

The test, which begins December 3rd and runs through January 3rd, is for the two finalist automated camera enforcement companies in the city’s speed camera bid process, to show off their respective technologies over the next 30 days. All cameras during the testing phase will be taken down after the test period has finished.

The two vendors, American Traffic Solutions and Xerox owned ACS, each have cameras installed at four locations near schools or parks.

No citations for drivers exceeding the posted speed limit or traveling beyond the 20 mph school zone speed limit when children are present.

Towed Drivers Whine, Cry, Complain About Parking Ban

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It’s an annual event.

Every December 1st, a ton of cars get towed to one of Chicago’s four auto pounds on the first day of the Winter Overnight Parking Ban.

Drivers, by the hundreds, file into auto pound offices, slap down their $160 in cash or by credit card, and retrieve their vehicles. This year it was an astounding 301 cars–perhaps the most in one night in the city’s history.

Afterward drivers complain.

301 Cars Towed In First Night Winter Parking Ban Hangover

60% More Cars Towed Than Last Year–A Record?

A driver towed during Friday night's winter tow ban leaves the auto pound at 701 N. Sacramento Ave.

It started out as a fun night for Melissa Garcia.

Dinner, drinks and partying in the Wicker Park neighborhood until the wee hours.

But when they decided to call it a night and go home around 6 a.m., Garcia and her date couldn’t find the car they parked on North Milwaukee Ave.

That’s because their car, along with an unofficial 300 other vehicles were towed when Chicago’s Winter Overnight Parking Ban went into effect at 3 a.m. Saturday morning, according to the Department of Streets and Sanitation.

301 is a 60% increase over last year’s 188 tows on the first night. Although Streets and Sanitation won’t confirm, it could be a one day record for winter ban tows. At the very least it’s the highest number in the past five years.

Standing outside the Chicago Auto Pound at 701 N. Sacramento Ave., Garcia explained she and her date had come from their night out to retrieve their vehicle. They realized their error when they read the street signs posted near their missing vehicle.

“We knew it was towed (due the ban),” Garcia said. “But then we couldn’t find a number to call. Someone said ‘call 311′, but they weren’t answering. It took us a long time to find out where it was.”

Several other drivers, who declined to be identified, admitted they also had been enjoying a fun Friday night before making the impound lot the final stop of their evening.

“The bulk of the tows was from the North Side,” Streets & Sanitation spokesperson Anne Sheahan said.

Read more at DNAInfo

Toys For Tots Zooms Down Western Ave. Sunday

An electronic sign on Western Ave. warns drivers of Sunday's Toys for Tots motorcycle parade

Thousands of crazy, warm hearted hog riding Santa’s helpers will zoom down Western Avenue toting thousands of toys for needy children in the annual Toys for Tots parade.

The event steps off from Dan Ryan Woods at 83rd & Western at 9:30 AM, and travels all the way north to Addison, and terminating at the Lane Tech High School parking lot.

Event organizers expect around 20,000 participants to ride the nearly 20 miles. The ride typically takes about 90 minutes to complete.

However, because Western Ave. is such a well traveled thoroughfare, it will have an impact on traffic Sunday morning and early afternoon.