Investigating the Issues That Affect You Most

Parking Ticket Issued Despite Missing Sign

Women protests parking ticket

By Lisa Parker
|  Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011  |  Updated 5:01 PM CDT
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Target 5's ongoing investigation into an onslaught of orange parking tickets that has left Chicago drivers seeing red.

Target 5's ongoing investigation into an onslaught of orange parking tickets that has left Chicago drivers seeing red.

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A Chicago woman is expressing frustation that it's safe to say a lot of other motorists are feeling these days.

Jamie Goldstein parked her car in what looked like a legal spot on a busy block of Diversey in Lincoln Park, only to find the dreaded orange ticket on her dash 90 minutes later. She says she remembered checking the signs in the area beforehan to make sure she was safe.

"I was pretty surprised because I couldn't figure out what I got a ticket for," Goldstein told NBC Chicago.

It was a $60 violation for parking during rush hour, even though there was no sign stating so.

"I was pretty irritated because it's not the first time I've gotten a ticket from the city and I can't figure out why I've gotten a ticket. Then I know immediately I'm going to have to waste half my day trying to call people or take pictures," Goldstein said.

She did take pictures -- showing the stump where there clearly used to be a sign of some sort on that block. Since the sign was missing on the day she got her ticket, Goldstein figured her appeal would be an easy one. It wasn't.

"They didn't give a reason. They just denied my request," she said.

Not long afterward, Goldstein says she walked out of the gym and right into a parking enforcement aide who was writing tickets for the same violation, in the same spot in front of the gym.

"I said, 'What are you giving these tickets for?' And he says, 'Well you can't park here during morning rush hour.' I said, 'Well, there's no sign.' And he looks at me and says, 'Well, there used to be a sign and he points down,'" Goldstein said.

The aide told Goldstein he had reported the missing sign to the city, but kept on writing tickets.

Goldstein reported the problem to her alderman, but felt unsure what else she could do, until she saw a Target 5 report about Kelly Martin and the parking ticket she was fighting.

"I was like, 'What is going on?' I think that the city needs money, I think they they are writing tickets for whatever they can," Goldstein said after seeing the report.

The Department of Revenue denies any relationship between tickets and the budget shortfall.

But this case raises questions. On the city's own website, listed under the eight defenses allowed to successfully fight a parking ticket, number 3 says "relevant signs prohibiting parking were missing or obscured."

So armed with proof that the sign on Diversey was not there when she got her ticket, and that the city erected a sign after she reported it missing, Goldstein still cannot understand why she has to pay the fine.

"I think that instead of taking care of the people who live here, they're harassing them," she says.

A spokesman for the Department of Revenue told NBC Chicago that Goldstein's ticket will not be erased, because the city has no proof that her denial was issued in error. He says the city has no proof a sign was missing from the spot in question, and would not comment on Goldstein's photographs, which show the stump of a sign that was previously on the site in question. The city does not deny that a new sign was erected shortly after Goldstein reported it missing.

Target 5: Investigating the Issues That Affect You Most

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