Parking Tickets on the Rise

1,345 tickets written in less than a month

By Susan Rivera and Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Thursday, Aug 12, 2010  |  Updated 8:42 PM CDT
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Chicago police are finding more and more cars around town without the required city vehicle sticker, presenting an income opportunity for the city.

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More people who park downtown have been getting more parking tickets lately because the company which leases Chicago’s meters has stepped up its efforts to catch violators.

Most of the tickets were issued in the Central Business District.

In the first 23 days of stepped-up ticket writing -- between June 23 and July 14 -- Chicago Parking Meters LLC's enforcers issued an additional 1,345 tickets. That’s with just five people on the street.  Eventually they will have 15, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The news isn't welcome for many drivers.

"It has to get done,” said Chicago's Vania Sanchez as fed a meter box on South Wabash.  "Otherwise we will see our car on a tow truck somewhere and we will have to pay for it.  I really don’t like it."

Many motorists are already upset with the $1.15 billion, 75-year deal which has lead to parking rates increasing almost four-fold in some areas.  Another 20 percent increase is scheduled for the beginning of next year.

But Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday defended the deal, saying other cities like Pittsburgh and Los Angeles are trying to strike similar deals.

"We got the best price," he said, comparing it to a real estate deal.  "You try to get a price today, it’s like trying to sell your house.  You try to sell your house, they question your sanity."

The city gets the revenues from parking tickets, but Chicago Parking Meters LLC is hoping that increased ticketing will stop the scofflaws.  

The company expects to take in more than $73 million this year.  And the one parker out of four who doesn’t feed the newfangled meters means money out of that company's pocket.

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