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I hate the Chicago police...parking meter edition [Update]TV - Entourage

Update: As I hoped, the ticket I contested (mentioned in the second half of this story) was dismissed! I guess there is some justice after all.

My last story about hating the Chicago police was posted a little over 3 years ago and was starting to get a little stale. So how about a refresh? This one's about parking meters - how I got a ticket that makes no sense, and also how everyone in Chicago that ever uses a parking meter is about to get screwed.

Let's start with the one that affects everyone...parking meter rate increases! Apparently the parking meter rate in Chicago hasn't gone up in 20 years! So how about making up for that by double or quadrupling the rate at all meters?!? It's true:
Here's how the hourly rates will breakdown according to the city:

2008 = $3.00/hour
2009 = $3.50
2010 = $4.25
2011 = $5.00
2012 = $5.75
2013 = $6.50

Non-Loop/Central Business District
2008 = $1.00/hour
2009 = $2.00
2010 = $2.50
2011 = $3.00
2012 = $3.50
2013 = $4.00

2008 = $0.25 to $0.75/hour
2009 = $1.00
2010 = $1.25
2011 = $1.50
2012 = $1.75
2013 = $2.00

Happy New Year's! January 1 is when the new meter pricing will go into effect. However, it will take a long time to change over 36,000 parking meters. Think about it. Weeks if not a month or so to get all meters changed over.
$6.50 an hour to park downtown? What the crap?!? It costs me $0.25 for an hour right now where I live. I can't wait for that to go to $2.00! Oh, and what about those Sundays where you don't have to feed the meter? Or the holidays? :
Seven Days A Week
As of January 1, all meters will have to be fed seven days a week. This means saying goodbye to not having to feed your meter on Sunday. It also means no parking meter holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas).

So with that fantastic bit of news, on to my meter story. Basically I got ticketed as if I was in a metered spot even though there was another car in the only metered spot on the block. Here's what the block looks like:

Click to expand
There was another car in space 1 (at the meter) and I was in space 2, not overlapping the yellow curb marking for the hydrant, marked 3 in the pic. I got a ticket that said "Park Outside Metered Space". So based on that stupid description, should I have plowed into the car in front of me so I'd be in a metered space, or erected a meter in the open space I parked at?

Of course I contested this nonsense and probably won't hear anything for months again. On the plus side though, it did lead me to find this amusing website: The Expired Meter. It's some Chicagoan that's had numerous run-ins with tickets and has a lot of experience contesting them. He also knows some contacts on the inside, so he gives people advice on how best to contest tickets in different situations, or tells them if it isn't worth their time to do so.

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  • [Untitled]
    Posted by: Anonymous on Jan 8th, 2009 | 11:10pm


    are there meters all around that area, or not? if so, i can see their explanation that it wasn't really a valid spot. if not, then it seems super bogus.

    • [Untitled]
      Posted by: niraj on Jan 9th, 2009 | 08:27am

      There are meters all around (it was on Milwaukee), but there was no sign or anything indicating parking was not allowed, and part of the sidewalk was missing, replaced by some gravel, so I think a section had been dug up. So it's possible a meter had been removed, but that makes the spot perfectly valid. If a meter was removed, even temporarily, there should have been a sign if they didn't want people parking there.

      And I've seen many more cars parked there over a few weeks now, and I haven't seen any others ticketed.

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