Monthly Archives: June 2013

Why Does Traffic On The Kennedy Expressway Get Backed Up?

Why does traffic on the Kennedy Expressway backup at the Eden’s junction?

That’s the question asked and answered by WBEZ 91.5 FM resident historian John R. Schmidt.

Isn’t it simply too many vehicles traveling on too few miles of roadway? According to Schmidt, it has to do with how the expressway was originally constructed back in the 1950′s.

Schmidt says back then, all the city’s expressways were designed with the idea of allowing traffic to flow in and out of the city. Traffic engineers didn’t take into consideration the idea of local drivers using the expressways for local, crosstown driving–thus underestimating traffic volumes.

Gay Pride Parade Brings Traffic, Parking Headaches To Northside

Sunday is Chicago’s annual Gay Pride Parade.

DNA Info Chicago warns, if you expect to drive anywhere quickly Sunday–forget about it!

DNA Info’s Alex Parker writes:

“The parade starts at noon at Montrose and Broadway, and travels south down Broadway to Halsted, moving back to Broadway at Belmont, and turning east on Diversey. Streets along the route will close as the parade moves south. There is no parking along the parade route from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.”

You got that? Towing cars off the parade route begins at 5 AM. It will cost you $160 to get your car back from the Chicago Auto Pound. Avoid parking along the route tonight if you live or party in those neighborhoods.

Here’s the streets affected by the parking bans:

Drivers See Long Lines On ‘Last Day’ Of City Sticker Sales

Lines to buy Chicago city stickers flow out the door of the city payment center at 2550 W. Addison St. Friday morning.

The line to buy a Chicago city vehicle sticker flowed outside the Chicago Department of Finance Office at 2550 W. Addison St. and down the length of the strip mall where the office is located.

Hundreds of Chicago vehicle owners patiently queued up Friday morning, the last business day to buy a city sticker before last year’s stickers expire on Sunday.

The same scenario was playing itself out at City Hall and other finance department and City Clerk satellite locations across the city Friday, with some people waiting up to two hours according to city employees.

“I didn’t know the lines would be this long,” Northwest Side resident Oscar Smith said as he waited to buy his sticker at the Addison office. “I think it’s kind of crazy.”

“This is disgusting,” railed Santo Pompilio, who also lives on the Northwest Side. “After all the money they get from city stickers we have to deal with this? I have five cars with the City of Chicago. All they want is money, money, money.”

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Wicker Park Parking Ideas Include Shuttle, Demand Based Pricing

CMAP's Lindsay Bayley discusses UCLA professor Donald Shoup's influential book, "The High Cost of Free Parking" at a meeting in Wicker Park.

A number of ways to solve parking problems in Wicker Park were offered Wednesday at a community meeting, including fluctuating meter prices, shuttles from outlying lots and ending loading zone abuse.

About 30 area residents, local business owners, community activists and urban planners gathered at the Bucktown – Wicker Park Library to participate in the meeting to address the neighborhood parking issues.

The event was organized by the Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, which is working with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on what is being called an Innovation in Parking Management Plan to address the parking headaches which plague one of the most congested neighborhoods in the city.

Lindsay Bayley, a Senior Planner for CMAP who is heading up the project, said the goal was to get neighrborhood input but warned that “people want a lot of parking, but don’t like it when they get it.”

Bayley, who moved to Wicker Park about seven years ago, said that after reading the influential book “The High Cost of Free Parking” by UCLA professor Donald Shoup, she became convinced parking is the most important issue to the health of vibrant urban neighborhoods.

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Man Arrested After Taking Blowtorch To Denver Boot

70-year old Michael Ziemba has been accused of trying to use a blowtorch to remove the boot from this car.

“I had to remove it somehow because I have money problems,” Michael Ziemba allegedly told police.

According to DNA Info Chicago, the 70-year old Ziemba was caught by police allegedly attempting to remove the bright yellow Denver boot attached to his front wheel with a blowtorch.

He was charged with criminal damage to property and released on his own recognizance.

Ziemba may also face a separate $750 fine for tampering with the boot by the city’s Department of Finance.

Here’s DNA Info’s full story, “Man, 70, Caught Using Blowtorch on Denver Boot, Prosecutors Say.”

Mayor Stonewalling in Sunday Parking Deal, Some Aldermen Say

Some aldermen trying to opt out of free parking at metered spaces on Sundays under the recently renegotiated meter lease deal say they are getting the runaround from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

During hearings on the revised parking meter lease deal several weeks ago, Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton assured aldermen that if they wanted to keep paid parking on Sundays in their wards to control business traffic they would have the support of Emanuel.

But now, several aldermen are seeing resistance from a mayor’s office which seems to want to control the process of which wards are allowed to keep paid parking on Sundays, they say.

Two recent developments: an ordinance that would have preserved metered parking on some streets in Lakeview and Lincoln Park was not on Wednesday’s agenda for the full City Council, and a note aldermen received Tuesday night from Emanuel’s office seeking more information.

On Monday, Ald. Tunney (44th) and Ald. Smith (43rd) introduced an ordinance at the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety committee meeting that would preserve paid Sunday parking at meters on streets in the retail shopping districts located in their wards, a move they say would help business owners who need a turnover in the spots so customers can park.

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Kedzie Bridge Closure Begins Wednesday

The second phase of reconstruction on the Kedzie Bridge begins June 26th. Photo credit: DNA Info/Casey Cora.

Starting Wednesday June 26th, Kedize Avenue Bridge spanning the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal on the city’s southwest side will be closed to traffic in both directions for reconstruction, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

“Critical infrastructure upgrades like this must be made to strengthen our neighborhoods,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “A restored Kedzie bridge will provide improved access to the industrial and commercial areas of the Southwest Side that are a key to Chicago’s economy.”

The three-span fixed bridge, which was first constructed in 1909, reconstructed a first time in 1969 is getting a $5 million dollar facelift, with a new concrete roadway, repaired girder beams, floor beams and new sidewalks.

The Expired Meter Awarded In Reader’s ‘Best Of Chicago’

Has the Chicago Reader lost its mind?

That’s the question on many people’s minds.

It seems the Chicago Reader, via reporter extraordinaire Mick Dumke, has included The Expired Meter in it’s Best of Chicago issue and the Parking Ticket Geek as the “Best Blogger.”

In all seriousness, despite our befuddlement in being chosen, we are VERY honored with being included in the Reader’s Best of Chicago issue.

Here’s the full story, “Best Blogger, Reporter, Activist, and Authority on the City’s Exasperating and Expensive Traffic Policies.”

Boot & Run

A crafty driver in Logan Square found a way to escape the dreaded Denver boot and give the city the middle finger all in one fell swoop last night.

The industrious car owner, finding his or her vehicle immobilized by a bright yellow, heavy, metal boot, found a way to remove the entire wheel in order to get back on the road.

Trib Says Mayor Got $10,000 In Donations Linked To Red Light Camera Bidder

The Chicago Tribune is alleging the wives of two executives for a company vying for the city’s red light camera program donated $5000 each to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political campaign.

According to the story, the Mayor issued an executive order prohibiting city contractors, or people bidding for a city contract or their spouses, from making campaign contributions. But, if the person owns less than 7.5% of the company in question, the contribution is acceptable which seems to be the case in this situation.

Bottom line, Emanuel is not returning the $10,000.

The company, System Development Integration, doesn’t seem to have a lot of experience in red light camera enforcement, although it has millions of dollars in contracts with the city for providing computer technology for different city departments.

Here’s the Tribune’s story, “Emanuel got $10,000 in donations linked to red light camera bidder.”