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Category Archives: Ticketmaster

Street Beat: Ticketmaster’s Triumphant Return!

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GEEK EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s been a loooooong time since we posted a Street Beat from our friend Ticketmaster. Too long really.

The Geek has been preoccupied or perhaps obsessed, with all the crazy news surrounding the parking meter lease deal, that pretty much everything else got put on the back burner. Sorry Ticketmaster!

We’re going to make a concerted effort for posting more advice and stories from our favorite PEA in the future.

Ticketmaster is a Parking Enforcement Aide (PEA) for the city of Chicago Dept. of Revenue.

Ticketmaster has been pounding the pavement of the streets of Chicago, and issuing those darn bright orange violations for many years. Ticketmaster very graciously, answers questions from readers and share their knowledge and experience within the parking enforcement system to give our readers insight and information to hopefully avoid tickets altogether.

Ticketmaster-

If a vehicle is parked at a space near United Center where the block has “No parking during stadium events” signs, can the vehicle be ticketed at any time of day on a day of a scheduled event?

What if a vehicle is parked 6-6:30pm while the driver is picking up tickets, and the game starts at 7:30pm? (That was my situation a few times.)

Would that be an illegal situation?

Thank you.

-KMS

Hello KMS,

Good question. If a PEA could enforce that sign all day, it would really make
our job easier and maybe even plug the hole in budget. Sadly that is not the case.

The general rule of thumb that Revenue has us enforce 2 hrs before and 2 hrs after the stadium event (good news here is 9 out of 10 times Revenue personnel will be off the street by start time).

Remember, that is Revenue only.

CPD and SERCO operate independently of Revenue and may operate under different rules (although CPD is in more line with us, only because they are busy with their Valet Parking)

Now in your case, the straight forward answer is YES, you are parked illegally and subject to a ticket -n- tow. I know it can be hard to do, but try to get your tickets earlier in the day.

Kind Regards,

Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster!

What’s the deal? What’s with these meters with the covers? Why are they
covered? I saw this one on Sheffield near Belmont?

Any clue?

Sid

Hello Sid,

The bag in the photos are usually used in an area that is being used for a special event or for security reasons.

Right after 911, there was a lot of them used in the loop. Sometimes SERCO would use them for their vehicles when they where collecting money from the meters.

Kind Regards,

Ticketmaster

PEA Restaurant Review

The Green House, 2700 S. Millard in Lawndale – Doesn’t look like a restaurant, however they have excellent Mexican food. I would encourage you to go onto the 2nd floor as it is a little bit more quiet. A little bit high (on a PEA’s Salary), however nice portions, and a friendly staff.

Story from the Front Lines

During probation, PEA supervisors will always remind you that you are on
probation and that you can be let go at anytime for any reason.

They will frequently recall the story of 5 PEA’s that were terminated right before Christmas. With that kind of fear instilled, as a probationary PEA, you really want to go out and hustle for those tickets.

Well, there was this one PEA (and no, it was not the Ticketmaster), who really wanted to make a good impression, and it was the first time they worked on a Saturday in the loop. They went around and time zoned all the cars displaying the handicap placard. After two hours, they went back and issued citations to any vehicle that was there over the time limit.

Unfortunately, per municipal code, there is no time limit for handicapped drivers with proper placards or license plates.

That PEA ended up ticketing 100 cars that way. Interesting enough, only five complaints came in. The PEA was commended for making a valiant attempt, however they needed to be instructed on the handicap privilege again.

Kind Regards,

Ticketmaster

Thanks Ticketmaster!

If you have a question for Ticketmaster, please send your questions to either:

askthepea@theexpiredmeter.com or ticketmaster@theexpiredmeter.com

Ticket Tidbits: Car Crashes, Anarchists, Booting, Ticketmaster, LA, DC & Midlothian

Each week or two, The Expired Meter offers up a potpourri of ticket and parking related news to keep you up informed and up to date.

ITEM: Meter Repair Man Steals $171,000 In Quarters

It seems the enterprising, but ultimately stupid William Fell, a 61-year old meter repair man for Alexandria, VA, got caught stealing nearly $172,000 dollars in quarters.

It seems that over the past year, Fell had been coming to work early. Very early. About 3-4 AM, well before his 5 AM start time. It turns out he had been relieving parking meters of their booty of quarters before work.

Fell’s supervisor noticed a steep drop in meter revenue, and put two and two together with Fell’s early start times.

The Fox News station in Washington DC has the full story.

ITEM: Parking Meter Injured In Car Crash

It’s really never a good idea to text message while driving as one driver found out the hard way the other day when, while texting they crashed into a building under construction.

No one was injured, thank God.

However, the only casualty was a poor, innocent parking meter just minding it’s own business on Milwaukee Ave.

According to WBBM Newsradio 780, “The two vehicles “by momentum” then traveled into a building under construction at 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave. and also broke a parking meter “right off,” according to the captain.”

ITEM: Parking Meter Used To Smash Window In Pilsen

In an alleged anti-Olympics protest on April 22nd, a bunch of anarchist idiots, thought it would be “cool” to use a parking meter as a weapon to break the windows of a condo development, according to Chicago Indy Media.

“A third window was smashed with a parking meter that bore a message. The message reads “Dear Racist Capitalist Scum, You and your tenants are displacing us. This is our response and it is only the beginning.”

This story demonstrates that parking meters actually have larger intellectual capacity than a violent anarchist.

ITEM: Reaction To Chicago Reader Story

If it’s not in your recycling bin already, in the April 16th issue of the Chicago Reader, following Mick Dumke and Ben Jorvasky’s fantastic expose of the parking meter lease deal, Jorvasky responds to some of the many, many furious readers.

ITEM: Higher Parking Meter Rates In Our Nation’s Capitol

In Washington D.C., they’re facing higher parking meter rates too. According to the Washington Examiner, the DC city council approved the increase in December, and all 16,500 meters should reflect the new, higher rates by next week. $1 an hour meters jump to $2 and all other meters go up by two bits.

ITEM: Ald. Joe Moore Comes Out Against 2 Ticket Booting

49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore comes out against the city’s two ticket booting ordinance in this ABC 7 News video.

ITEM: Suburban Midlothian Offers Ticket Scofflaws Amnesty

Out in suburban Midlothian, they’ve taken a tip from Chicago and are offering all the scurrilous scofflaws out there a parking ticket amnesty.

It starts May 1st and ends October 31st, and according to the Southtown Star newspaper, “Village attorney Dan McGrath said the program will be for those who have accrued the $250 maximum in parking fines and penalties or who have failed to appear in village court on their cases.”

ITEM: Ticketmaster Gives Us The 411 On Broken Meters & Street Cleaning

Ticketmaster, this website’s resident Parking Enforcement Aide (PEA) and expert on ticket writing,  reports a slowdown in PEA ticket writing because of the recent increase in broken and vandalized parking meters.

Due to recent problems with the meters, Department of Revenue management has instructed their PEA’s, when they log in a broken meter into their AutoCITE (the handheld ticket writing computer/printer), they also have to immediately call it into Revenue Security reporting the meter # and address,” explains Ticketmaster. “The good news for the citizens is that broken meters will get reported sooner, and also it will slow PEA’s down.”

And new guidelines in regards to properly providing photo evidence for tickets is having an effect on the speed of street cleaning violations as well.

With Street Cleaning tickets, management has instructed us to take a photo of the car, and a photo of the sign (even if sign is 1/2 block away) (and if at all possible with car in photo),” says Ticketmaster. “Talk about time consuming. This will be a very long street cleaning season. The good news is that the tickets will be harder to fight. The bad news, depending on where the signs are and how many cars are on a block, it will slow us down.”

Well, I don’t often disagree with Ticketmaster, but isn’t it BAD news that tickets are harder to fight and GOOD news that it’s slowing down ticket writing? Just wondering. Obviously I am biased.

ITEM: Street sweeper camera program on hold?

Sources claim the highly touted street sweeper camera program, where every big blue sweeper would be armed with a camera to photograph license plates of cars violating street cleaning parking bans, is being disbanded.

Allegedly, the six cameras are being removed.

ITEM: Two More Violations Added To PEA’s Repertoire

Ticketmaster also reports that DOR has just updated the violations in the PEA’s handheld computer/printers they issue tickets with.

They’ve added two more violations to the AutoCITE database, one for tinted windows and another for having a car alarm go off for more than 4 minutes.

While both violations have been on the books for a while, up until now, only cops would write those type of violations.

So watch out and get your tint removed and for God’s sake please turn off your alarm–at least during the day! No one wants your crappy AMC Pacer anyway.

ITEM: LA Rushes Toward Parking Meter Privatization

Yesterday, the LA City Council voted nearly unanimously to spend half a million bucks to explore privatizing their 41,000 parking meters ala Chicago according to LA Streets Blog.

LA’s KNBC also covered this story.

About two weeks back, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, proposed the idea in a Budget & Finance Committee Meeting.

Politicians and pundits have been watching what’s been going on here in Chicago very closely.

In fact, a writer from the LA Times, will be on the ground here in Chicago this morning, to spend a few days checking out how our city is handling our meter madness.

Hopefully, if LA moves ahead with privatization, they’ll learn from the many, many, many mistakes Chicago made.

Ticket Tidbits: John Kass, Carol Marin, Red Light Cameras, Milwaukee, Champaign & Being Very Sick

Each week or two, The Expired Meter offers up a potpourri of ticket and parking related news to keep you up informed and up to date.

ITEM: John Kass from the Tribune had an interesting take on the parking meter fare hikes in his Sunday column, explaining that ritzy Beverly Hills, California has more affordable parking meter rates than Chicago.

ITEM: Speaking of columns about parking meter problems, we never got a chance to mention Ms. Carol Marin’s first Sun-Times column on the subject and her followup column on the parking meter “boycott”.

Both, according to Ms. Marin, generated more response than anything she had ever written before.

ITEM: Ticketmaster reports in on the broken meter situation and how it’s effecting PEA’s.

Due to recent problems with the meters, Department of Revenue management has
instructed their PEA’s when they log in a broken meter into their Autocite, they
also have to immediately call it into Revenue Security reporting the meter # and
address
,” says Ticketmaster. “the good news for the citizens is that broken meters will get reported sooner, and also it will slow PEA’s down.”

Ticketmaster also reports new policies have slowed down PEA’s ticketing for street cleaning.

With Street Cleaning tickets, management has instructed us to take a photo of the
car, and a photo of the sign (even if sign is 1/2 block away) (and if at all
possible with car in photo),
” continued Ticketmaster. “Talk about time consuming. This will be a very long street cleaning season. The good news is that the tickets will be harder to fight.
The bad news, depending on where the signs are and how many cars are on a block, it
will slow us down
.”

Thanks for the great info Ticketmaster!

ITEM: Check out this VERY interesting article on the back end of some area red light camera programs from today’s Chicago Tribune.

ITEM: 47th Ward Alderman Gene Schulter has introduced a change to the ordinance regarding B Truck Plates. Now, if you get a permit, you can park your pickup truck with “B” plates in the 47th ward without being ticketed.

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In general, it’s illegal to park a truck, even if it’s just a small pickup truck, with “B” Plates on a Chicago residential street.

9-64-170(a)…Park Truck, RV (22 feet or larger), Self-Contained Motor Home, Bus, Taxi or Livery Vehicle on Residential Street. Pickup Trucks and Vans are exempted in Wards: 1,9,10,12,13,14,15,16,18,19, 21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,32,33,35,37,40,42,43,46,49 and 50 IF the appropriate permit is displayed.

Thanks to Ald. Schulter, you can add the 47th Ward to the above list.

ITEM: Our neighboring city to the north, Milwaukee, Wisconsin has also seen some parking meter rate increases recently. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl had some interesting insights into the increases in a recent column and it sounds very familiar to what frustrated people down in Chicago are saying.

ITEM: Despite protests from local downtown businesses, the Champaign city council has decided not to reverse the recent parking meter increases.

ITEM: The Parking Ticket Geek has been ill. Very ill.

I picked up some bug from my kids and was literally on my butt for over 10 days now. One of those days, I wound up in the ER at a local hospital after passing out at a local medical clinic. If anyone has ever wondered if riding in an ambulance is fun, let me tell you, it is definitely NOT!

So, to say the least, the Geek is VERY behind. Not only keeping up with postings but in responding to e-mails. Please accept my apologies and I ask you all to be patient with me as I try to catch up now that I’m starting to finally feel better.

Thanks for everyone’s patience.

The Geek Gives Up Parking Tickets For Lent

As a practicing Catholic, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 days of Lent.

It’s supposed to be us Catholic’s annual period of fasting, penance, reflection and sacrifice that culminates on Easter Sunday.

So, amongst a host of other things I’m “giving up”, I’ve decided to give up parking tickets for Lent.

I’m going to try my damndest to not get a single parking ticket for the entireity of Lent.

This will be very difficult for The Parking Ticket Geek.

Perhaps, with a  lot of prayer and by the grace of God, I’ll make it.

On a similar note, Ticketmaster e-mailed me that he has a similar goal for Lent.

He’s shooting to be 100% error free in his ticket writing for Lent.

No mistakes. No  tickets that can be successfully contested and dismissed due to errors.

Another tough goal, but definitely admirable. As much as we all dislike parking tickets, it’s the improperly issued tickets that we constantly rant, rave and rail about here.

Wish us both luck in our Lenten endeavors.

ASH WEDNESDAY CONSIDERATION

Ticketmaster also says that he and his colleagues are going to be giving a bit of extra consideration and understanding around churches today in respect for the parking chaos that often accompanies Ash Wednesday services around the city.

Thanks to Ticketmaster and the rest of the city’s PEA’s.

We always appreciate a little understanding and consideration.

DOR Steps Up Photo Evidence On Tickets

Expanded Use Of Photos Will Make Parking Tickets Much Harder To Contest

It seems Chicago’s Dept. of Revenue (DOR) has had so much success utilizing photographic evidence when ticketing parking violators, the department has decided to utilize photography for for even more violations.

According to DOR management, the program was expanded the second week of February.

Ultimately, the goal of photo evidence is to discourage motorists from contesting tickets utilizing photos and encourage violators to pay sooner.

“It has been pretty successful,” said Dept. of Revenue spokesman Matt Darst about the program. “But it’s always been our goal to expand it (photo evidence) when we thought they (PEA’s) were familiar with the technology and the (AutoCITE) device.”

When the DOR first had Parking Enforcement Aides (PEA’s) utilizing the new AutoCITE handheld ticket printers with photographic capabilities back in August 2008, the PEA’s were instructed to use them on just four limited violations.

This included city sticker violations, residential parking permit violations, missing front or back license plates and expired registration stickers on vehicle plates.

“These four violations generally had a high contest rate or low payment rate,” said Darst explaining the rationale behind using photo evidence for the initial violation types. “But we look at it as providing two things. It provides additional information with the ticket. It may provide the driver with a defense. And it supports a ticket when a PEA thinks they wrote a proper ticket.”

But now, the expanded list of violations that will have photo evidence provided by Parking Enforcement Aides will include:

  • Parking on a sidewalk
  • Double parking
  • Blocking or parking in an alley
  • Parking less than 30″ from a stop sign
  • Bus stop parking
  • Pay & Display violations and even
  • Expired meter violations

According to our friend and PEA Ticketmaster, PEA’s are not limited to the partial list above and are instructed to use their built in camera whenever they see fit.

Management has now instructed us to basically take photos of all violations,” explains Ticketmaster. “This includes: meters, fire hydrants, bus stops, 30′ from stop signs as well as everything else prior to (now).”

The only upside to this new policy is that taking photos does slow down the ticket writing according to Ticketmaster.

Yes, taking all those photos have seriously slowed some of us down,” says Ticketmaster. “The good news for the owners is that maybe we won’t be able to get to their car as fast, the bad news is that these tickets will be even harder to contest.”

Although Darst doesn’t agree with Ticketmaster’s assessment as far as speed and feels any slow down would be nominal at best.

Only PEA’s and SERCO enforcement employees carry these handhelds ticketing devices and only account for about 35% of all parking tickets. Police still write the vast majority of parking tickets in Chicago.

In most cases, this photographic evidence will make it MUCH harder for motorists to contest their tickets as photos provided by PEA’s will, in most cases, help support the facts alleged on the ticket.

The key will be to view your photos online and see if the photos accurately represent the facts of the violation.

For example, is that your car and/or license plate in the photo? Do the photos prove what the written violation states? Are the photos clear enough and in focus enough to prove the violation occurred? Check the photos to see if they may prove the violation did not occur.

If you are using photo evidence to dispute a ticket, your photographs (and testimony) are going to have to over power the photo evidence provided by the PEA’s. This may be difficult, but not impossible. More and better photos may do the trick.

However, if the photos provided by the city make the ticket irrefutable, then you may just want to pay…unless you’re mentally unbalanced like me.

Street Beat: Ticketmaster Schools Us Again

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GEEK EDITOR’S NOTE: Our friend Ticketmaster is a Parking Enforcement Aide (PEA) for the city of Chicago Dept. of Revenue.

Ticketmaster has been pounding the pavement of the streets of Chicago, and issuing those darn bright orange violations for many years. Ticketmaster very graciously, answers questions from readers and share their knowledge and experience within the parking enforcement system to give our readers insight and information to hopefully avoid tickets altogether.

Dear Ticketmaster,

Okay, more and more parking meters are getting pulled out and replaced by one pay station per block.

Question: say I am older and don’t walk particularly fast. Furthermore say it is either raining or there is snow on the curb that makes it a bit more difficult to walk on the sidewalk.

I park at the end of a block, notice there is no meter, then find the sign that says I have to locate the pay station. Now the interesting part. It could take almost five minutes or more for me to walk down half the block, locate the pay station, figure out how to use the darn thing, get my ticket, walk back to the car and put the ticket on the dashboard. This is five minutes during which an enforcement agent might put a ticket on my car.

What is the legal status of this ticket?

Thanks.

Stuart

Hello Stuart,

That is a very good question, and one of our (PEA’s) concerns, when we enforce on blocks with the the “pay and display” system. When we do come across a vehicle without a valid receipt being displayed, obviously we will issue a ticket, now a good PEA while issuing the citation will take a look at the Pay Box and see if anyone is by it attempting to buy time. If not, obviously a ticket will be issued.

Now in your case (and it does happen in the winter time more often, happened to me three times last month and two times so far this month),  as long the PEA or CPD officer reasonably believed that the vehicle was in violation, the ticket was valid. Now, here is where you have an advantage. Your receipt is time stamped, and if the ticket was generated by an Autocite (the handheld ticketing computer/printers the PEA’s use), then it will be time stamped as well.

Any reasonable hearing officer can look at the two time stamps and should be able to make a correct decision.

What can you do to help save yourself the headache.

1) Look around before you leave your car, and see if you can see a ticket writer. If you do, let us know, that you are going to feed the pay box and bring the receipt right back. That is the best thing to do.

2. If you can afford it, (and it is a great device. Made an excellent birthday gift for the wife) buy the ParkMagic (an in-car meter–it’s like I-Pass for parking) device. Call an 800#, add the time, and enjoy the time away from your car.

3.  If you do get a ticket, contest it, and when you win, take knowledge in the fact that you beat the system, and you made some poor ticket writer look incompetent.

Kind Regards,

Ticketmaster

Dear Ticketmaster,

I would like to know if most parking tickets in Chicago are issued by Police officers or Parking Enforcement Aides?

And finally are most parking tickets issued by PEA’s in commercial areas where as parking tickets issued by Police in residential areas?

Please let me know. Thank you.

Max

Hello Max,

1. Parking Enforcement Aides write more tickets than CPD. Which is the way it should be. While the PEA’s are writing the tickets, CPD can be out there catching criminals and protecting our streets.

2. We are like the CPD. We are city wide. We are everywhere.

Kind Regards,

Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster,

I received a ticket for parking my pickup on the street in the 2000 block of N. Oakley. This location is clearly in the 32nd ward.

Section 9-64-170 (a) states that pickup trucks and vans are excepted in a group of wards, the 32nd included.

What gives? Don’t they train the ticket writers to follow the law? Slow day/night? Below quota, so just write some bogus ones, maybe they will stick?

David

Hello David,

Yes, the DOR does train us. We also follow the law. Sure management wants a high ticket count, however it is not about quantity, but quality.

As an example:  A PEA who only writes 30-40 tickets with 99% tickets sustained is much more valuable than someone who writes over a 100 tickets with only 50% sustained.

Not only does the higher quality provide more revenue, it also provides a better image of a good worker who takes pride in their work.

Now in your case for your truck parked in the 32nd ward, what you have failed to notice, and if you have read on, it does state 9-64-170 (a) states that pickup trucks and vans are excepted in a group of wards, if the appropriate permit is displayed..

Here is the link to the City Clerks website hopefully it will be able to help answer any further questions that you may have.

Kind Regards,

Ticketmaster

Again, more awesome info from Ticketmaster.

If you have a question for Ticketmaster, please send your questions to either:

askthepea@theexpiredmeter.com or ticketmaster@theexpiredmeter.com

Orange Alert!: Ticketmaster Has Some Post Super Bowl Parking Advice

Listen up everybody!

Ticketmaster, our friend and resident Parking Enforcement Aide (PEA) has just e-mailed with a cornucopia of news, advice, tips and info.

If I were you, I would take heed of anything Ticketmaster advises.

Hello Everyone!

Wanted to give everybody a heads up. Yesterday, we all received a txt message from management on our Nextels that told us if we attempted to call off sick on Monday (day after Super Bowl) it would be denied, unless it was “pre-approved”.

This can only mean that management appears to be so thirsty for revenue, that they
are willing to risk someones well-being even if that person is legitimately sick. It is true, Monday is a regular work day, and considering that people may enjoy the Super Bowl a little to much the night before to make it into work, and will take off.

This is nothing new, and it is to be expected in ANY business. I guess management is banking on it being a super Monday. If you should see the Ticketmaster or any of his colleagues looking like they should have stayed at home with an ice compress on the head or under the covers, please take pity on us as we were forced to come into work this way. The best way to protect yourself here:

1. If you are parked in a zone permit area, PUT A BRAND NEW STICKER ON YOUR WINDOW COMPLETELY FILLED OUT WITH THE TIME AND DATE. DO NOT MAKE ANY ERASE MARKS OR SCRATCH OUTS OR WRITE OVERS AS IT MAY APPEAR TO BE REUSED.

2. THIS IS THE 2ND OF FEBRUARY AND THAT MEANS ALL JANUARY 09 STICKERS HAVE EXPIRED.

THERE IS NO 15 OR 30 DAY EXTENSION. WE ARE OFF SUNDAY (02/01/09), TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT FACT AND GET YOUR PLATE STICKER. EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO SPEND THE EXTRA 5 DOLLARS AT THE CURRENCY EXCHANGE..

Sorry about shouting, however as I will be at a Super Bowl Party, any shouting I may
do on Monday may cause me pain.

Kind Regards
Ticketmaster

As usual, thank you Ticketmaster for the big, beginning of the month heads up.

Street Beat: Ticketmaster’s Triumphant Return!

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GEEK EDITOR’S NOTE: Our friend Ticketmaster is a Parking Enforcement Aide (PEA) for the city of Chicago Dept. of Revenue.

Recently, because the Geek has been so busy (with my real life alter ego) and distracted with all the news surrounding the parking meter lease deal, Ticketmaster’s usually regular column has been getting preempted.

My sincere apologies to readers and especially to Ticketmaster, who has been a great contributor to our goofy website.

Ticketmaster has been pounding the pavement of the streets of Chicago, and issuing those darn bright orange violations for many years. Ticketmaster very graciously, answers questions from readers and share their knowledge and experience within the parking enforcement system to give our readers insight and information to hopefully avoid tickets altogether.

Dear Ticketmaster,

Are parking ticket books carbon copy, with more than one copy one for the car and one for office records

Please let me know as soon as you can.

Thank you and stay safe out there.

Max

Hello Max,

The actual ticket book contains the copies per ticket. The Top Sheet “hard sheet” goes to the Department of Revenue, The 2nd sheet “Onion Skin” the PEA holds onto, and the third sheet “hard copy” the citizen gets.

Kind Regards

Ticketmaster

P.S. Why do you need to know right away?

Dear Mr. Ticketmaster,

What happens when a street sign gets covered up with snow like the photo I’m sending? I think it’s for residential parking.

But what happens if someone parks on the street and can’t read the sign or doesn’t see the sign because of all the snow? Do the PEA people ticket or not ticket? Is there any discretion there? What do you think?

Jeff

Hello Jeff,

We see a lot of signs like that this time of year, and that is when discretion will definitely play a role. There are some aggressive PEA’s who will ticket the vehicles anyways and there are some who won’t. If it was me, that would depend on the area I am in and if there are other signs that are clearly visible on the block.

Kind Regards

Ticketmaster

Dear Ticketmaster,

I am a pizza delivery driver on the north side and wanted to know if you had any advice for me to avoid tickets.

The problem is, we often have to park illegally for a few moments just to run a pizza into a house or apartment. Sometimes we have to double-park with our flasher on, or pull into a hydrant space or park close to a stop sign. I have a hand written sign on pizza cardboard in my back window.

I haven’t received a ticket yet. Do cops or the parking ticket aides know to cut guys like me a break? Is there any pizza delivery laws? I’m just trying to do my job and make a few bucks on tips.

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Damien

Damien,

I must be the bearer of bad news. There are no  special laws on the books for pizza delivery drivers, or any other delivery vehicle as well. FIRST OF ALL: REPEAT AFTER ME. “I WILL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE PARK ON A FIRE HYDRANT!!!”. There are no breaks on that violation (flashers or otherwise).

However, you can lower your risk for being ticketed: The sign in your window does help, especially with the flashers. If by some small chance you do see somebody on the block enforcing, let them know that you are making a delivery. Never assume that we see you unloading or delivering a pizza. Be polite, acknowledge that you see us and ask if it is OK to park there for a couple of minutes and 99.9% of the time, you will be extended a courtesy.

There is one BIG caveat to that. We always do not know whether or not someone else is patrolling the area and if they do come up on the scene, they may not know that you were given a break and may issue you a ticket. So when you say a couple of minutes, better keep track of that time because we do move fast.

As far as our training goes, if the vehicle is parked illegally, we can ticket it and sleep with a clear conscience. Now this is where the 2nd part comes in, our discretion and if there is any Special Attentions.

NOTE: A Special Attention is a request that comes from an alderman’s office. Usually is a result of too many complaints on a particular block. That area is made a priority and we have to report back our results

If a Special Attention was put on an area, most likely, no breaks would be given. Now with our discretion, every PEA is different. Some are easy going, and there are others that will issue tickets like they are giving away candy canes. Out in the neighborhoods, PEAs are usually easy going and won’t bother a legitimate delivery driver (we know that they are usually gone in 5 minutes or less).

Downtown, that’s another story. Parking spaces are at a premium and we need to share, there is no such thing as a couple of minutes delivery, but it is also harder to get a ticket downtown (so many people downtown are writing tickets) so there is almost no flexibility given. I know it’s a bummer, but what can we do?

STORY FROM THE FRONT LINE:

Since we are talking about delivery vehicles, thought you would love this. It was just after 911 and the city’s tow division was on a warpath for towing vehicles. This FedEx truck was double parked on a street making a quick delivery, the PEA was issuing a ticket for the double park (the street was narrow and the double park was messing up traffic) but before the ticket was even finished printing, a city tow truck had hooked up the vehicle, took the ticket from the PEA and rode off into the sunset. From what I understand, that PEA hauled their backside out of the area before the FedEx driver came back out. Guess somebody was not going to get their package delivered next day.

This also didn’t just happen to FedEx. In fact, one company’s vehicles were being towed so often, that they hired “security guards” to sit in the vehicle so it would not be towed. They would gladly accept the $50.00 ticket as long as they weren’t going to be towed.

Kind Regards

Ticketmaster

As usual, more great info from Ticketmaster.

If you have a question for Ticketmaster, please send your questions to either:

askthepea@theexpiredmeter.com or ticketmaster@theexpiredmeter.com

Ticket Tidbits: A Melange Of Chicago Parking News

ITEM: I’ve been seeing a lot more Pay & Display units replacing single head parking meters around town. I’ve seen a few along 53rd St. in Hyde Park and along Clark St. in Lakeview.

ITEM: According to a observant reader, a bunch of new meters are being installed down at Canal & Fulton, with possibly more going in around the corner and down the block.

ITEM: Sun-Times transportation reporter Mary Wisniewski writes about the parking meter lease deal closing and meter rates going up. I guess I can overlook fact that this news is nearly two weeks old now,  but it’s hard to overlook the blatant factual errors contained within the story. C’mon now!

ITEM: I’ve never seen more broken meters in my entire time in Chicago. It’s hard to believe how many are out of order. My guess would be that the city, knowing the new lessee would be responsible for fixing the meters as soon as the deal closed, felt it would financially prudent to let them deal with the problem.

ITEM: I spoke with a very nice SERCO employee on perhaps one of his last rounds of collecting quarters from parking meters for the city. He told me that he wasn’t sure he would have his job after the meter lease deal is finalized as collections will be handled by the new lessee. To add salt to wound, he considered applying for doing the same job with the new company, but it would pay a lot less for the same amount of work.

He went on to say that everyone was waiting until Feb. 13th to get the final word on what was going on with he and his colleagues positions.

ITEM: Our pal Ticketmaster passed on some interesting info to us about the parking meter lease deal. He says, according to a letter from head of the Dept. of Revenue, the new lessees LAZ Parking aka Chicago Parking Meter, LLC, has been impressed with the current level of parking enforcement from the DOR and is looking forward to working with them.

But the bigger news is that employees for Chicago Parking Meter, LLC can begin enforcement on February 13. Friday, the 13th…hmmmm.

ITEM: Ticketmaster also reports that the Dept. of Revenue has thrown down the gauntlet to under performing PEAs. “I just wanted to let all you and all your readers know that management has issued an edict that 24 tickets or less (per shift) is unacceptable and that we can be disciplined for it,says Ticketmaster via e-mail. “Guess the few good natured PEAs that still exist may have to get with the program and stop giving breaks…I know I won’t have a problem giving a break here or there. Just please be careful, and remember……It’s not personal.”

ITEM: Anyone seeing a pattern here? If I were a betting man, I would say that come hell or high water, the parking meter lease deal closes on Feb. 13th.

Then, all hell breaks loose. Meters can finally start changing to the higher rates. Enforcement is redoubled. The ticket amnesty program ends on Feb. 14th and the day after that, two unpaid tickets in final determination can get you the boot.

Get ready Chicago!



Cold, New Hires, Sickness, Pizza And Other PEA Tidbits

The Cold Weather

Throughout the spate of bitterly cold weather we’ve been experiencing, I’ve been thinking about our friend, Parking Enforcement Aide (PEA) Ticketmaster and his other PEA colleagues, who spend the bulk of their days braving the elements. It was especially concerning when the wind chills flirted with -20 and -30 degrees. OUCH!

My colleagues and I really hate this time of year,” Ticketmaster e-mailed me a few days ago.  “If it isn’t the slipping and sliding from the snow and ice, it is the frigid temperature.”

Ticketmaster continued, “While the city tells people stay in and only go out when it is necessary, they expect us to go out and do our jobs as though it is nice and sunny out there. Now, I am not saying they are that cold-hearted. I mean they do send text messages to our Nextels reminding us to dress warm in layers and to duck in and out to warm up and to get plenty of rest and to drink the proper fluids. Oh well, at least you know we are really earning our salary.”

Really earning your salary? In this weather, that’s the understatement of the winter!

Be safe and stay warm friend.

DOR Hiring Up

Ticketmaster also reports that the Dept. of Revenue (DOR) has added 11 new PEA’s to their ranks with, even more on the way.

The word on the grapevine is that the Department has already hired 11 new PEA’s with the intention to bring in 40 more by the end of the City’s fiscal year,” reports Ticketmaster. “The only question that we have is where are they going to put these people.”

I think this info confirms what we already knew. The city is going to continue to ramp up enforcement in conjunction with the parking meter lease deal. Be careful out there and feed your meters!!!

A Shoutout To Some Sick/Hurt PEA’s

Ticketmaster also reports that a few of his PEA colleagues are currently out of commission, due to illness or injury. “Please get well soon,” says Ticketmaster. “We miss you.”

While we too hope Ticketmaster’s colleagues feel better soon, we drivers always appreciate less PEA’s on the beat writing  tickets. So PLEASE take your time getting back!!! Another week or two relaxing will do you good! We really don’t mind. Seriously.

AutoCITE Info

We have also heard reports, that the AutoCITE, the handheld ticket computers the PEA’s use to slap those darn tickets on our cars, have not been performing in the cold as well as had been promised by it’s manufacturer, Duncan Industries.

Pizza

New contributor Damien, who delivers pizza for a living, reports a nice experience with a PEA. It seems that a bunch of the drivers were parked out front of the restaurant he delivers for, when a PEA started writing one of the driver’s car a ticket, for being a few feet into the bus stop. A few of the drivers and the restaurant owner ran out to plead their case.

“They asked the PEA nicely if they had to write the ticket and I guess they had barely started writing it up so  were able to not issue the ticket,” explained Damien. “My boss offered up a hot slice of pizza and a soda to the PEA for the hookup, but the ticket person said they couldn’t accept and took off.”

Wow. I’m impressed. I guess that proves you can attract more flies with honey, as my mother used to say. It also proves that there are some truly honest people working for the City of Chicago, and that’s certainly heartening to know. Kudos to you Mr. or Ms. PEA, whomever and wherever you are.

Geek Editor’s Note

Thanks again to Ticketmaster for the, as always, great info.

Stay tuned for later in the week. We have a new Ask The PEA column coming your way from our pal Ticketmaster.