Keeping up with parking tickets: open discussion


The Department of Finance continues to issue citations to people who park their cars in the bike lane, violating Municipal Code of Chicago 9-40-060. The rates have been as follows:

  • January to April, 5.07 citations per day
  • May, 6.65 citations per day
  • June, 5.87 citations per day
  • July, 6.58 citations per day
  • August, 4.55 citations per day

A few questions for readers:

Has this near-steady rate made a difference in your experience bicycling in Chicago, or should the City increase the ticketing rate?

When the Elston Avenue protected bike lane was being constructed between Milwaukee Avenue and North Avenue in June and July (see construction photos) cars that were parked in the bike lane (during construction) received tickets. The bike lane was incomplete, but only to those who know what a completed protected bike lane on this street would look like (it would have bollards and green pavement markings in some places). Disregarding the ban on parking during construction (when marked by temporary paper signs on nearby poles), when should parking enforcement aides begin ticketing? Should there be some kind of grace period? What about a kind of notification system that informs drivers who want to park here to avoid parking in this bikeway facility?

On the Elston Avenue bike lane, the most “violated” section was near the new restaurant and night club at the southeast corner of Elston Avenue and Division Street (Estate Ultra Bar). Do you think the City of Chicago (either the revenue or transportation department), or Alderman Burnett’s office, should contact the business to advise them of the city’s parking rules, with the expectation that the managers would pass along this information to their clients?

See past open threads.

Updated August 31 to change Department of Revenue to Department of Finance. Updated September 5 to add August’s citation information. 

14 thoughts on “Keeping up with parking tickets: open discussion”

  1. So long as there weren’t cars parked there when the signs when up (which in the case of these construction zones, there wouldn’t be), no grace period whatsoever. If you drive in the city (and I do), you know damned well that you better check the signs twice before you park somewhere

    1. I think the city could do a lot to making it easier for people who want to park understand whether or not they can at that moment. For one, stop with the handwritten signs tied with string to poles. Another could be consolidating loading zones, which commissioner Klein has talked about doing (and is in the Chicago Forward Action Agenda). This would also reduce sign clutter.

      Lastly, the city needs to remove obsolete signs. For example, when I was interviewing dSpace architect Kevin and Heritage Bicycles owner Michael about the parklet in front of the Heritage Bicycles store on Lakeview, I asked how many parking spaces would be removed. They said fewer than the signs indicated because at least one of the signs was made obsolete by another sign on the same block.

      (I don’t think people deserve to be needlessly gouged with parking fines, but I offer no exceptions or mercy to people who park in the bike lane.)

    2. I agree. Zero grace period. I really doubt that anyone nowadays doesn’t know what a bike lane looks like.

  2. Tickets were given out for the 55th St. protected bike lane shortly after the bollards were put up. By that time, most cars had figured out how to park off the curb. Generally, if the first person parking that day parked properly, everyone else followed suit. Parkers in front of Bank Financial, where no one parks all day, received tickets when enforcement began.

    Before the tickets went out, I stopped and explained the new layout to anyone I encountered on my morning commute who had parked incorrectly. It came as a surprise to every one of them that they needed to park off the curb. There definitely needs to be a round of driver education before enforcing these tickets, and CDOT should consider a full set of bollards between the bike lane and parked cars in front of high-turnover parking spots.

    1. I wonder if the construction process could be modified so that bollards, or at least some temporary version of them, go in first, as a visible measure that parking is “off curb”, as you call it.

    2. In the Elston lane, workers painted “Park here” or something similar where the off-curb spots were in temporary paint.

  3. I did not realize the city was giving out tickets for parking in the bike lane. There are multiple cars parked in the lanes on almost all of my commutes. I really dislike it when cars illegally park in the striped areas near the bike lanes, such as when you turn south from Kinzie onto Clinton. This spot is in a curve, and it is impossible to see whether someone parked there is going to clobber you with a door.

    1. Issuing citations for bus lane and bus stop violations would go far in reducing travel times, especially on routes that traverse Madison Street and Jackson Boulevard downtown.
      The north part of Lake Shore Drive is being resurfaced this year. It would be excellent to have bus lanes there (with enforcement).

  4. I think fbfree is spot on.

    If a driver has never seen a protected bike lane before, they may simply be just confused. I think the city via CDOT could do a LOT better on educating drivers, bikers, and pedestrians on all aspects of driving, parking, rules of the road, the law, etc.

    More education and out reach before immediately resorting to enforcement.

    1. In the CDOT office where I used to work, there was a flyer that said, “You won the door prize”. It was given to drivers who had doored a cyclist. Instead of a parking ticket, for the first violation, a flyer could be given (that looks like a ticket) that explains the differences in the street.
      Boston did this, and mailed it to all drivers with their registration forms. I blogged about it awhile ago.

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