Sunday, October 22, 2006


What blog about city life would be complete without a rant about parking? It's time for the obligatory post about parking.

Now, I generally consider myself a good little resident of the city of Chicago vis-a-vis parking. I pony up my $75 every June for a new city sticker, and another $78 to renew my state registration every November. My neighborhood does not have permit parking, and I do have a garage, so I generally find parking in my neighborhood to be easy-peasy. Actually, I generally find parking in most areas of the city to be easy. But that may be attributed to the fact that I am not often in Lakeview, Lincoln Park or Bucktown at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night before I go out to party. (I have two little kids; my partying days are over.)

However, in the past month, I've had not one, but two run-ins with the City's Department of Revenue. I find it apt that the business of parking and its regulation is run by a department that openly admits that the whole thing is about making cash for the City. That might explain why every time I get a ticket, it's $50. I can count on one hand the number of tickets I received by the city of Chicago. I usually swear at myself and pay them. But not anymore. I received a ticket at the beginning of the month for parking on a street that was due for street cleaning. There were no visible signs on my side of the street, so I contested the ticket. I just got a notice in the mail saying that my money was due, so I wonder if that means the City disagrees with me over the facts of the ticketing.

And then last Friday, I returned from a lovely little jaunt on the Metra Electric with The Boy and The Girl to visit friends in the old 'hood to find that my car was no longer where I parked it on Stony Island Avenue and 57th Street. It had been towed. I called Mr. C. to ask him to find out where it was, since it was by then nearly 7 p.m. on a Friday and I was on the Southside with two small, tired children and no car/carseats. I could not ask him to pick me up, since we are a small family who lives and works entirely within the boundaries of the city, we've never seen the need for owning more than one car. I was not about to take the Cottage Grove bus down to 103rd and Doty at that hour to get the car out the Chicago Impound Lot, so we went home instead. It only took a 1/2-mile walk, a bus, and two trains (Green line, Blue line) to get home in just under 3 hours. Although quite upset that our car was gone, The Boy was a trooper about the walk, and he and I had fun coming up with synonyms for the rotten luck of having our car towed (terrible! awful! hideous!).

$170 and 16 hours later, I got our car back. Such fun to walk out past the gate on the lot and find the injustice of a $50 ticket stuck to the side window as well. I plan to contest, as there was a huge tree branch obscuring the No Parking Tow Zone sign when I parked the car.

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