Does Daley Hate Drivers?

He lowered the Boot - and more - on those behind the wheel this year

Richard M. Daley is a well-known bicycling enthusiast who has made Chicago one of the nation's most bike-friendly cities. But does he have to hate cars - and their drivers - in the process?

"Whatever it is, Mayor Daley has body slammed the Chicago driver this year," the Parking Ticket Geek writes on "The final body blow that left Chicago drivers unconscious, bloody and drooling on the canvas mat of 2008, came Tuesday when the mayor announced the $1.16 billion dollar deal to privatize Chicago’s parking meter system." Consider:

  • The mayor lowered the threshold for getting your car booted from three unpaid tickets to just two. And it used to be five.
  • The mayor installed another 50 red-light cameras this year, and more are on tap for next year - and the year after.
  • The mayor increased parking garage taxes.
  • The mayor converted thousands of free parking spaces into metered spaces.
  • The mayor increased the cost of parking tickets.
  • The mayor began installing cameras on city street sweepers.

And so on.

Are drivers the new smokers? Is driving now a "sin" eligible for sin taxes?

Yes, it's "green" to take away incentives for driving. But driving is still legal. And sometimes necessary.

As the Parking Ticket Geek points out, increased costs of driving and parking tend to affect those most who can afford it least. And it's not as if the CTA is correspondingly getting a boost.

"To be fair, some cuts were made," the Geek writes. "But instead of making a sincere effort to control spending, the mayor decided to balance the 2009 city budget on the backs of drivers. In my humble Parking Geek opinion, the Mayor has unfairly targeted and overburdened the Chicago driver. I truly hope Mayor Daley picks on someone else in 2009."

Is the high cost of driving in Chicago driving you nuts?  Use the form below to tell us what you think.

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