Tag Archives: parking meters

Musician Tours All 50 States One Parking Meter At A Time

Pablo Picker plays in the back of his pickup.

Pablo Picker plays in the back of his pickup.

The first thing Pablo Picker does after parking his pickup truck is to feed the meter.

Picker is a Boston based musician who’s taking his music to the streets–literally–playing music from the back of his truck sitting at parking meters in all 50 states.

This day he sits barefoot in the back of a pickup truck parked on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, playing guitar and singing to a constantly changing audience of hipsters, commuters, parents and children walking by.

Picker had been playing in public for years, mainly in Boston’s Harvard Square where he saw many street musicians getting hassled by police for not having a permit. While Picker was smart enough to get his own busker license, he’s always been uncomfortable with the idea that musicians couldn’t just entertain people in public without the formality of a license.

So after recording a new album, he got the urge to get back on the street to share his music, and decided do a tour playing in public in all 50 states. But he was concerned about the possibility of getting on the wrong side of local law enforcement.

So he came up with a brilliant solution–parking meters.

Parking Meter Vigilante Case Goes To NH Supreme Court


Those kooky kids from Keene, NH–they call themselves Robin Hooders–are in the news again.

And this time it involves a legal case which takes the issue of their parking meter vigilantism to the New Hampshire Supreme Court according to Fox News.

The Robin Hooders is a band of do-gooders who follow the town’s three parking attends around and plunk coins into expired meters to save drivers from being hit with outrageously expensive $5 parking tickets.

The enforcement staff doesn’t like the group’s antics and have claimed they’re being harassed while doing their jobs. In some cases, lawyers for the city claim, group members verbally attack the ticket writers saying things like “you should be ashamed of yourself” and the like.

Edison Park Chamber Of Commerce Buys Parking Lot To Help Shoppers Avoid Meters

Shoppers in Edison Park now have another way to avoid paying the meters with the purchase of a new parking lot by the area's chamber of commerce. Photo credit: Heather Cherone/DNA Info.

Shoppers in Edison Park now have another way to avoid paying the meters with the purchase of a new parking lot by the area’s chamber of commerce. Photo credit: Heather Cherone/DNA Info.

Here’s a unique way to avoid having to feed the parking meter–buy your very own parking lot.

That’s what the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce did recently when the group spent $174,000 to buy a 26-space parking lot according to DNA Info.

In recent months Edison Park business owners were enraged when ticket writers for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC wrote parking tickets to drivers who did not feed their meter.

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.

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.

NBC 5 Reports On Parking Meter Vandalism Outbreak

NBC 5 reported on the recent outbreak of parking meter vandalism which erupted on the North Side last week and interviewed a few people to get their thoughts.

Not that surprisingly, most people were not very sympathetic. In fact, one gentleman was supportive of the vandals destructive efforts.

Parking Meter Pay Boxes Damaged In North Side Vandalism Spree

An enraged gentleman attacks a parking meter in Lakeview In March, 2009,

An enraged gentleman attacks a parking meter with a chunk of concrete in Lakeview in March, 2009,

A parking meter vandalism spree has erupted on the city’s North Side five years after Chicago’s parking meter system officially transferred into the private control of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC which spurred a similar rash of meter vandalism back in 2009.

The Chicago Police Department reported Thursday at least 13 pay boxes were damaged using a heavy blunt object or tool in the Lakeview, Wicker Park, West Town and Andersonville neighborhoods. The damage has been severe enough to disable the units from working properly.

Back in March of 2009, in what seemed to be an angry reaction to a highly unpopular parking meter lease deal, which caused parking meter rates to quadruple, parking meters across the city were smashed, spray painted and lit on fire.

In the subsequent five years traditional single head parking meters were replaced by multi-space parking meter pay boxes and the mood of drivers cooled. But apparently some motorists may still be harboring frustration with the hated deal and parking meter rates which rank as the highest in the nation.

Lincoln Park Businesses, Aldermen Frustrated by Delay in Restoring Paid Sunday Meters

Business owners in Lincoln Park want paid metered parking reinstated on Sundays in their neighborhood.

Business owners in Lincoln Park want paid metered parking reinstated on Sundays in their neighborhood.

When will free Sunday parking end along busy retail streets in Chicago?

That’s what the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce wants to know after it sent an email to its members this week, entitled “Call to Action: End Free Sunday Parking at Meters.”

Lincoln Park business owners and the chamber — as well as stores and aldermen in other areas — have been trying to reverse the change to free Sunday parking in their neighborhood for the past several months. They believe the policy — which Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed for when the city renegotiated the 75-year parking-meter lease deal last Spring — is hurting the bottom lines of area businesses, because there isn’t enough turnover in the parking spaces outside their shops.

“Frustrated sounds right,” chamber spokesman Padraic Swanton said Friday. “The general tone is, ‘Where are we and what happened’? We thought we were moving ahead on this.”

Nearly a year ago, during hearings on the renegotiated contract with the private company that runs the meters, Chicago Parking Meters LLC, aldermen with busy retail businesses corridors in neighborhoods like Lakeview, Wicker Park, Bucktown and Lincoln Park were told their wards could eventually retain paid Sunday parking to keep customer turnover high.

Read more at DNA Info.

New Driving Laws For 2014: What Illinois Motorists Need To Know

Cellphone drivingWith the start of every new year, new laws go into effect that will have an impact on Illinois and Chicago drivers.

Of course, 2014 is no exception. In fact, there are many significant legal changes for drivers this year. Here’s a short rundown.

Statewide Cellphone Driving Ban

While drivers in Chicago and a handful of other towns cannot use a handheld cellphone while operating a vehicle, a law passed by the Illinois General Assmebly makes this behavior illegal on all roadways statewide starting January 1st.

So, no matter where you drive in the state of Illinois, you must use a hands free headset, speaker phone or other hands free device when using a cell phone while driving.

No More Free Metered Parking For Most Disabled Drivers

Even Tall Ships Need To Feed Chicago’s Parking Meters

New print ad for Tall Ships Chicago

The Tall Ships return to Chicagothis weekend.

A contingent of the historical old sailing ships will be here through Sunday at Navy Pier.

While sailing is not one of the topics usually covered at The Expired Meter, we felt the print advertising for event to be quite humorous and timely.

The ad was created by local ad agency Two By Four Chicago, which takes the now iconic Chicago parking meter and uses the frustration and headaches they’ve caused local drivers to create a pretty hilarious image of a sea captain from the 1700′s paying for street parking.

Biz Journal’s Lewis Lazare, who writes about advertising and marketing explains it this way: