Parking meter enforcement in full force starting Tuesday

February 7, 2011

(Getty/Scott Olson)
Gustavo Prieto clears snow from a parking meter February 3, 2011 in Chicago.

The city says it'll start writing tickets for meter violations in Chicago neighborhoods Tuesday morning. It resumed writing tickets downtown on Monday, after a nearly week-long suspension following the big blizzard that dumped 20 inches of snow on the city, making parking difficult on side-streets, and limited access to snowed-in pay boxes.

In downtown Chicago on Monday afternoon, some drivers said they'd been paying the parking boxes continually since last Tuesday, when the city says it suspended meter enforcement.

"Yes, it's pretty good, if they woulda put [the word] out there a little bit more," said Eric Erving, a delivery driver for a printing company in Chicago.

City officials quietly decided temporarily to suspend writing any parking tickets on the evening of Feb. 1, though they didn't announce the move publicly until Thursday, said Pete Scales, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Budget and Management. But because the news may have taken a while to reach all parking enforcement officers, the city will throw out all parking tickets issued between 6:30 p.m. last Tuesday and the end of the suspension period this week, Scales said.

Starting Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., parking laws will again be in full-force for all of the city's more than 36,000 metered spaces. But Erving said he wishes the city would extend the amnesty.

"I stay on the South Side, and parking ... sucks on my street," he said. "I have to park, like, around the corner and walk home."

Erving isn't alone in making his request.   On Monday afternoon a group of pastors and community leaders from the city's South and West Sides were scheduled to hold a press conference urging the city and Chicago Parking Meters LLC, the private comany that operates Chicago's parking pay boxes, to extend the parking ticket moratorium for another two weeks.