Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ashland Avenue Reopened Ahead Of Schedule Saturday

Ashland Avenue sans bridge Saturday afternoon. Photo credit: The606.

Ashland Avenue sans bridge Saturday afternoon. Photo credit: The606.

Traffic on Ashland Avenue on the city’s North Side reopened much earlier than expected Saturday afternoon around 3 PM after a bridge was removed.

The Chicago Department of Transportation estimated it would take 48 hours to remove a bridge spanning Ashland Avenue between North Avenue (1600 N.) and Armitage Avenue (2000 N.) but was telling drivers and CTA bus riders the project would be finished no later than early Monday morning.

But less than 24 hours from when Ashland was closed at 8 PM Friday night, crews had removed the bridge and one of the city’s most heavily traveled thoroughfare was open to traffic according to the 606 Facebook page.

Chicago’s Street Cleaning Season Starts Tuesday

Chicago's street sweepers will hit the street Tuesday, the first day of Chicago's street cleaning season.

Chicago’s street sweepers will hit the street Tuesday, the first day of Chicago’s street cleaning season.

Every year in Chicago, April 1st marks the first day of the city’s street cleaning season.

But the start of this year’s street sweeping may be a bit more challenging than in recent years due to higher volume of debris leftover from the historically harsh winter.

In fact, street cleaning crews from the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation began sweeping the city’s arterial streets last week to try to get a jump on these dirt filled streets.

The department is also using crews to pick up litter, refuse and other objects too large for sweepers to clean up.

“With this harsh winter finally coming to an end, Streets and Sanitation has been aggressively cleaning along arterial routes to ensure streets and curb lanes are clear of litter and garbage for the spring,” said Commissioner Charles L. Williams.

Parked Blocking A Sidewalk, Driver Invites Geek’s Wrath

Jackass parked on a sidewalkEven the Parking Ticket Geek has limits.

Look, I have a lot of patience with drivers who park, let’s say…creatively.

I don’t think drivers should get dinged with a ticket for parking a foot or two too close to a hydrant or a stop sign. It doesn’t bug me when someone’s in an alley for a few minutes with their flasher on. And I’m not driven to distraction when a car is parked in a no parking zone for a moment to run into a store.

It’s no big deal.

But in the Wicker Park neighborhood Friday afternoon, I came across some jackass’ SUV underneath the Blue Line L tracks parked on a sidewalk blocking the path of pedestrians who wanted to walk down the street.

What the Hell?

City Debuts More Speed Camera Sites Issuing Warnings, Tickets

A sign warns drivers of  speed cameras nearby.

A sign warns drivers of speed cameras nearby.

Chicago has flipped on the switch of a handful of new speed cameras and ticketng has begun at one new location.

On Friday, speed cameras at Schaefer Park (2400 block of N Clybourn Ave.) and Francis Xavier Warde School (at 18 W. Superior) began their mandated 30-day warning period.

On Monday, March 31st, cameras near Portage Park (4100 block of N. Central Ave.) will also begin their month long warning period.

However, the cameras near Jefferson Park on the city’s Northwest Side (5400 block of W. Higgins) have completed their warning period and will begin issuing speeding tickets to drivers starting Sunday, March 30th.

Ashland Avenue Closed To Traffic On North Side This Weekend

A sign on Elston Avenue detours drivers around the closed portion of Ashland Avenue this weekend.

A sign on Elston Avenue detours drivers around the closed portion of Ashland Avenue this weekend.

The Chicago Department of Transportation is warning drivers a portion of Ashland Avenue will be closed to all traffic on the North Side this weekend to remove a bridge.

The Chicago Department of Transportation is warning drivers Ashland Ave., one of Chicago’s main north-south thoroughfares, will be closed between North Avenue (1600 N.) and Armitage Avenue (2000 N.) starting Friday March 28th at 8 PM.

The bridge removal is part of the Bloomingdale Trail construction project.

Work will go on round the clock and Ashland will re-open to traffic no later than 5 AM Monday, March 31st. Although the city may open the street earlier than this as they are estimating the entire process to take just 48 hours.

Parking Company Reaches Deal With City Over Unfair ‘Tickets’

ABM Parking Services will issue parking tickets to drivers who don't  pay to park at their lots or garages.

ABM Parking Services will issue parking tickets to drivers who don’t pay to park at their lots or garages.

A company that operates parking lots and garages in Chicago has reached a settlement with the city for some allegedly unscrupulous practices according to the Sun-Times.

ABM Parking Services operates 55 parking lots or garages around Chicago. Most locations are unmanned and drivers must use a pay station when they park. However, sometimes motorists will park without paying or their parking time will expire. Enforcement personnel working for the company will issue “parking tickets” to vehicles in these situations.

However, in October 2012, the city began an investigation of ABM after the Sun-Times was contacted by drivers who were issued tickets at a parking lot in River North even though the pay station was inoperable–drivers were unable to pay to park.

NerdWallet.com Names Chicago Worst Place To Park A Car

#1 foam fingerGet that big foam #1 finger out of storage Chicago–because NerdWallet.com says its the worst place in America to park a car.

The financial advise website used data from a handful of variables to come up with their rankings. The main factors were the average cost of daily parking and the rate of auto theft in each city.

According to NerdWallet.com, Chicago drivers pay an average $35 a day to park in a lot or garage and the motor vehicle theft per capita is 33% above the national average. When you factor in the city’s dubious distinction of having the highest downtown meter rates in the U.S., Chicago picks up the gold medal for worst place to park a car.

Implausibly, Chicago somehow beat out cities like Oakland, San Francisco, New York and Boston for title of worst of the worst.

The Mystery Of The Missing Orange Safety Cones

Who’s stealing the safety cones?

That’s what Ald. Scott Waguespack wants to know.

He’s been using the bright orange cones to mark where the worst potholes are located to warn drivers not to drive directly into one and end up at the closest auto repair garage.

Car Pal iPhone App Helps Drivers Avoid Parking Tickets

iPhone app Car Pal helps drivers avoid Chicago parking tickets including street cleaning, expired meter and Winter Overnight Parking Ban tickets. Photo credit: Car Pal.

iPhone app Car Pal helps drivers avoid Chicago parking tickets including street cleaning, expired meter and Winter Overnight Parking Ban tickets. Photo credit: Car Pal.

Varun Goel and Gaurav Goyal don’t drive or own cars, but the two young programmers know how easy it is for drivers to get slapped with parking tickets — especially for parking on the wrong side of the street on street-cleaning days.

So, they decided to build an iPhone app that would let users know when street-cleaning is scheduled on their block.

Car Pal also will let drivers know if their car is parked on a street with a winter overnight parking ban or when it’s time to feed the parking meter.

“It’s definitely a pain to find parking in the city, especially in dense neighborhoods,” Goel said. “This app helps drivers determine whether they’re parking legally or not.”

Both Goel and Goyal were born in India, went to school in the U.S. and ended up meeting after getting jobs as programmers at Morningstar.

Read more at DNA Info.

Chicago Red-Light Camera Tickets Drop for Fifth Straight Year

Chicago red light camera tickets have declined 20% in the past 5 years.

Chicago red light camera tickets have declined 20% in the past 5 years.

Drivers appear to be hitting the brakes at red lights — leading to a big drop in tickets issued by red-light cameras, city officials said.

For the fifth year in a row, Chicago’s red-light camera program has seen a significant decline in the number of tickets issued.

The city’s 384 red-light cameras issued 579,460 tickets last year — 32,619 fewer than in 2012, representing a 5 percent decline, according to data obtained from the city’s Finance Department.

In fact, the data shows red-light camera tickets have been falling steadily since 2009, when 722,935 tickets were issued, a record at the time after a dramatic expansion of the program a year earlier. The 140,000-ticket drop represents a 20 percent decline since the peak five years ago.

Fewer tickets issued means a potential drop in fine revenue. At $100 a ticket, that translates to an estimated $3.2 million drop in fines issued between 2012 and 2013 and a $14.3 million drop in total fines issued since 2009.

Read more at DNA Info.