Ticket Writing Continues Outside Closed Chicago School

A no parking sign outside the closed Lafayette Elementary. Photo credit: Darryl Holliday/DNA Info.

Despite the fact that the Chicago Board of Education closed 50 schools this year, some drivers who are parking outside of at least one shuttered school are getting parking tickets.

According to DNA Info, motorists parking outside of Lafayette Elementary in the 2700 block of West Augusta Blvd. have been getting ticketed for “no parking during school hours” even though no children are inside studying their reading, writing and ‘rithmatic.

Residents are, understandably, upset.

“The sign says during school hours, but the school is closed. … That’s why we left the car there” resident Anadely Rios told DNA Info. “It’s unfair. They’re giving tickets like crazy. … They just want to give people the boot.”

Patricia Jackowiak, director of the city’s Department of Administrative Hearings, believes drivers who fight a ticket like this would prevail if they fight it.

“Absolutely!” Jackowiak told The Expired Meter when asked if someone who received a parking ticket under these circumstances could use the defense that the school was closed. “Just go to the CPS website and print out a list of closed schools just to show there is no longer a school there. Bring that in for an in-person hearing or they can contest by mail. That is absolutely a defense they can raise.”

Jackowiak explained that the signs only apply when the school is in session. With the school closed, there is nothing to prohibit legally parking on that street

But wrongfully ticketed drivers may not even have to contest their tickets.

After DNA Info brought the problem to the attention of the Chicago Department of Finance, a spokesperson says anyone who was wrongfully ticketed outside a closed school should contact the city and the ticket will be non suited.

“Anyone who has received a ticket for ‘no parking during school hours’ should call (312) 744-PARK as soon as possible. We will withdraw the ticket for that infraction. This is for any instances at a closed school this week. The tickets will be withdrawn and the motorist will not need to contest it. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”

Here’s the full story at DNA Info Chicago, “Tickets for Parking Near Closed Schools ‘A Slap in the Face,’ Residents Say.”

16 Responses to Ticket Writing Continues Outside Closed Chicago School

  1. Jeff says:

    Reminds me of the time back in college, when my trusty old Toyota got towed for a “rush hour” parking violation in Streeterville – ON THANKSGIVING DAY!! Nice to know that our great kleptocracy is alive and well in Chicago.

  2. Greg says:

    Ok – I have to ask. How does something like this even happen…?

  3. Jeff says:

    Greg:

    This situation happened because:

    (1) the ticket writer is unaware that the school has closed;

    (2) the ticket writer was not thinking through the idea that writing a ticket for a school zone is not appropriate if the school is no longer open; or

    (3) the ticket writer was simply writing a ticket that he/she knew was questionable, calculating that:

    a. the driver will just pay the ticket and not realize the mistake

    b. the driver will just pay the ticket, given the fact that traffic ticket proceedings can often be a kangaroo court; or

    c. the driver will protest the ticket, but it will be upheld by a hearing officer, many of whom tend to uphold the disputed ticket as a matter of due course.

  4. DoR Employee says:

    If we at Finance Street Ops Know the School is one of the 50 that were closed, we are not going to issue the No Stop/Stand:Time Restriction ticket.

    That is By Order of the Head of Street Ops and all Supervisors.

    The Acting Comptroller and the Dep Director of Street Ops are keeping a close eye on this issue.

    While Accidental ticketing due to human error is ‘acceptable’ , and don’t get me wrong; errors due to human error still Suck;
    deliberately ticketing while Knowing that No Violation exists is something is completely different.

  5. DoR Employee says:

    And Jeff…

    The sign near where you were ticketed…

    Did it say “rush hour: N/P X time to X time”

    Or just 7am-9am/4pm-6pm No Park/Stand:Tow Zone?

    The CPD Loves to ticket for “rush hour” on Holidays where the signs only give a Time Restriction of “Mon-Fri :: 7am to 9am or etc..”

  6. Jeff says:

    DorEmployee:

    If I remember correctly, the sign was on Erie Street off Lakeshore Drive, and read:

    “rush hour: N/P X time to X time”

    So the lesson for me that holiday was “Yes Virginia, there is a Rush Hour On Thanksgiving – Now Pay Up”

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Greg, Jeff, etal

    I actually think this is simply, just a dumb mistake.

    If I were a ticket writer, and I got sent into a neighborhood that perhaps I wasn’t familiar with, I may not know that this particular school was closed by CPS.

    There were 50(!) schools closed. What normal person would remember the names and/or locations of those schools?

    Although, perhaps seeing so many cars parked in front of a school and/or seeing or hearing no activity from inside the school might set off alarm bells in some people. But, I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, I believe it was a dumb mistake.

  8. Greg says:

    I don’t think its a conspiracy either – I think its a dumb mistake as well.

    I guess U should have worded my comment to say “How can someone be so dumb to see no activity around the school and several cars parked there and not realize the school is closed or at least not check to see if it is closed.”

    This is right up there with the ticket I got once on 5200 WEST Clark, the ticket I got for parking on Erie St when I was actually on Ontario, and the ticket I got at 7:00 pm for No Parking when I was parked right next to a sign that said no parking till 5:00 pm.

  9. Pete says:

    Rahm and Gabe support erroneous ticketing as part of their ongoing War on Cars. I bet these tickets end up getting upheld anyway. And the city code might even get changed to say that parking in front of schools is prohibited even when school isn’t in session.

    10 years from now the only street parking that will be allowed will be at meters (enforced 24/7 electronically, for $10 an hour) or permit parking for neighborhoods where the alderman has enough clout to push for it. And of course for city vehicles. Everyone else can pay $50 to park in a garage.

  10. Capt M-Plate says:

    I’d disagree with you Mike.

    You have my email address.

  11. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Jeff,

    I’m going to be pissed if you tell me you didn’t fight the tow AND the ticket when you got towed on Thanksgiving. PLEASE tell me you contested both of those.

  12. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Greg,

    What are you talking about?!?

    Those crazily erroneous tickets are my favorite ones. Stupidly written tickets = Easy to beat tickets.

  13. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Capt. M-Plate,

    You don’t think it was what I called a “dumb mistake”?

    I will definitely e-mail you. Yikes.

  14. Jeff says:

    Geek:

    At the time I got that erroneous rush hour ticket over twenty years ago, I was a dumbass college kid (as opposed to the middle aged dumbass I’ve become today). Lucky for me, I had an uncle who has was a lawyer who got the ticket thrown out for me.

  15. Greg says:

    Geek -

    I know they’re easy to beat. But they should never be written in the first place and no one should have to take the time to go and contest them.

    I wish there was some kind of repercussions for ticket writers who write blatantly wrong tickets, whether its purposely or just out of stupidity.

  16. Capt M-Plate says:

    Mike,

    First or even second day of class, probably just didn’t know. And in all honesty, a list of names of the 50 was Not distributed by CPS memo to Finance for distribution to Street Ops parking enforcement staff.

    When told by citizens that a particular school isn’t open, and then continues to issue tickets for the time restriction;

    Well…that’s no longer human error.

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