Monthly Archives: April 2014

Reconstruction Of Van Buren Bridge Begins Thursday

Building a new ChicagoThe 57-year old Van Buren Bridge will begin undergoing reconstruction Thursday, May 1st according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The movable bascule bridge which spans the Chicago River will be closed to all traffic for over seven months between May 1st until January 7, 2015.

The Van Buren bridge was built in 1956 will have bridge girders, floor beams and lateral bracing repaired and will get a new roadway deck. The project will cost $2.5 million and is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago initiative.

Producers Pay Parking Tickets To Promote New Film

A new film premiering Friday is trying to generate some buzz by paying people’s parking tickets.

The “get your parking ticket paid” contest is a way to promote the film “Friended To Death,” where the lead character is not a very popular guy.

In fact, lots of people hate him.

Drunk Arrested Driving 118 MPH On I-55

118 mph is pretty darn fast.

That’s how fast Nathaniel F. Stainck was allegedly going on I-55 near Channahon in the Southwest suburbs according to the Illinois State Police.

Mr. Stainck is in a lot of trouble according to ABC News. Not only was he charged with going more than 40 mph over the limit, but he was also charged with DUI, disobeying a traffic control device and for driving without his license.

But, Stainck had a little bit of luck that night as he was pulled over just before entering a construction zone where the potential fines would be even higher if he was caught driving 118 through there.

Here’s the complete story from ABC News, “Dwight man charged with drunken driving at 118 mph on I-55.”

Ousted Red-Light Camera Vendor Rakes in Windfall In Contract’s Final Months

A Xerox contractor installs a new red light camera at the corner of Clark Street and Irving Park Road.

A Xerox contractor installs a new red light camera at the corner of Clark Street and Irving Park Road.

Even as Redflex Traffic Systems’ scandal-plagued 11-year tenure operating the nation’s largest red-light camera system was ending, it was a particularly lucrative year for the company.

The last Redlfex cameras — at the intersection of Grand, Kostner and North — were turned off in February, but in the year before that, the company raked in $24 million, city records show, the second most profitable year in the company’s Chicago history.

The money flowed in even after February 2013, the date the company was banned from bidding on new work with the city. Xerox Local Solutions now runs the city’s red-light camera system.

“Redflex is out of the picture and [everything is] under the control of Xerox,” Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Scales said Friday. “Their contract is over and we have no financial relationship with Redflex now.”

Redflex was unceremoniously banned from bidding to maintain control of the cameras after the Tribune revealed an alleged bribery scandal that found the CDOT Deputy Commissioner overseeing the program accepted tickets to sporting events, luxury hotel accommodations, meals and other gifts from company executives. Federal authorities are now investigating the allegations.

Read more at DNA Info.

Ald. Arena Backs Off Paid Sunday Meters For Portage Park

Ald. John Arena. Photo credit: John Arena's Twitter account.

Ald. John Arena. Photo credit: John Arena’s Twitter account.

Drivers in the northwest side 45th Ward will continue to park for free at meters on Sundays as Ald. John Arena (45th) has withdrawn his request to bring back paid meters on that day according to DNA Info.

Originally, Arena was one of the small band of rabble rousing aldermen who wanted to restore paid metered parking on Sundays to retail areas of their wards.

Arena had said that drivers were parking in premium spots in or around the Six Corners neighborhood where Irving Park, Cicero and Milwaukee intersect and preventing shoppers from patronizing area businesses.

But now he’s withdrawn his request for paid Sunday meters because he couldn’t get the 25 cents  per hour reduction in meter rates in he wanted in his ward for every day of the week.

Gapers Block Op-Ed Piece Goes After Parking Meter Deal Remix

An old school parking meter from before the notorious Chicago parking meter lease came into being in 2008 adds its two cents.

An old school parking meter from before the notorious Chicago parking meter lease came into being in 2008 adds its two cents.

With a handful of aldermen finally getting their wish to bring back paid metered parking on Sundays to retail districts in their wards, Gapers Block has an op-ed piece strongly critical of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s remix of the parking meter lease deal.

Writer Rachel Anspach goes after all the usual suspects of unpopular changes in last year’s revision of the much hated deal including the extended enforcement hours and free Sunday parking.

But she also hectors the mayor about his reluctance to join either of the two lawsuits filed against the meter lease deal which are slowly winding their way through the courts.

Suburban Towns Moving Away From City Vehicle Stickers

2013 was the last year Evanston drivers had to display a city vehicle sticker.

2013 was the last year Evanston drivers had to display a city vehicle sticker.

While having a Chicago city vehicle sticker is a way of life for city vehicle owners, suburban towns seem to be moving away of this type of vehicle fee–at least according to a very compelling story in the Chicago Tribune recently.

The story says that even though vehicle sticker programs can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for municipalities, the cost of operating the program and resistance from residents have pushed many suburban towns to drop or to consider dropping the vehicle sticker requirement.

From a revenue perspective, towns have figured out ways to cut costs or have created new revenue streams.

Perhaps the most interesting portion of the story is insight into Evanston’s sticker-less vehicle sticker program which began this year. While Evanston residents have to pay an annual $75 fee for every vehicle they own, the town has ditched the sticker.

Instead, parking enforcement can mount license plate readers on their vehicles to scan for scofflaws while driving down city streets. Evanston rakes in $2.2 million in revenue from their wheel tax.

Here’s the full Tribune story, “Suburban towns peeling off vehicle sticker programs.”

Get Some Free Parking Ticket Advice, Free Money For Your Tickets

Geek Photo 2Calling all scofflaws!

MetroMile and The Expired Meter will be out at 435 N. Michigan Avenue (in front of the Tribune Tower) today at noon.

MetroMile will be handing out envelopes with $60 in cash to drivers who bring along a recent street cleaning parking ticket and can show they’ve downloaded the MetroMile app to their iPhone.

The Expired Meter’s Parking Ticket Geek will be on hand doling out parking ticket advice to any frustrated drivers trying to deal with their ticketing issues.

Come by, say hello and pick up some cash!

Second City has recently released a humorous video about Chicago’s historic pothole epidemic that pokes fun at the city’s inability to effectively deal with bone shaking condition of Chicago’s streets.

Dressed as employees of Pep Boys auto parts and repair, Second City actors thank the mayor for the city’s failure to keep up with the hundreds of thousands of potholes that have erupted after this year’s brutal winter.

“Potholes are nature’s job creators,” one actor intones.

But perhaps the video’s last line is its funniest.

“When it comes to holes,” says an actor. “You’re an ‘A’”

Drivers Rack Up Over 12,000 Parking Tickets In First Two Weeks Of Street Cleaning Season

MetroMile to Pay 100 Street Sweeping Tickets Wednesday

One of the approximately 12,000 parking tickets issued the first two weeks of street cleaning season.

One of the approximately 12,000 parking tickets issued the first two weeks of street cleaning season.

Chicago’s street cleaning season has just barely begun but drivers have already racked up over 12,000 parking tickets in the first two weeks according to data from the city’s Department of Finance.

In a response to a Freedom of Information request by the Expired Meter, the city says 12,224 parking tickets for street cleaning were issued between the April 1st start of the street sweeping and Friday, April 11th.

City data says over 250,000 street cleaning tickets totaling over $15 million in fines were issued in 2013 during the course of the eight month street cleaning season.

But there’s good news for a handful of those several thousand motorists who got stung with one of these $60 tickets.

Auto insurance company MetroMile is going to help 100 of these drivers pay their parking ticket by giving them $60 cash if they show up with their bright orange street cleaning violation in hand Wednesday at noon outside of 435 N. Michigan Avenue.