Ask The Parking Ticket Geek: Why Can't I Park Near a Crosswalk?

By Mike Brockway on January 20, 2014 7:44am 

 Tedd stands near the Lincoln Park crosswalk on Halsted Street where his car was improperly ticketed.
Tedd stands near the Lincoln Park crosswalk on Halsted Street where his car was improperly ticketed.
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The Expired Meter.com

Dear Parking Ticket Geek,

I received a ticket in a spot in Lincoln Park that I have parked in at least 30 times with no problem. It is on the end of a block, near a crosswalk, without a sign restricting parking.

But the ticket says it’s for "Parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk."

If this is really true, it would eliminate thousands of spots that Chicagoans use every day. Think I can beat it? 

Tedd

Rest assured Tedd, you were parked perfectly legally.

Unless there is a sign posted, drivers can park their cars right up to the crosswalk markings. Of course, the car cannot be within the crosswalk, or even touching the crosswalk markings.

Whoever wrote you the ticket doesn't know the law. The city's municipal code prohibits parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, but only if there's a sign posted. Here’s the law:

9-64-100 (f) Within 20 feet of a crosswalk where official signs are posted;

No sign, no dice, no ticket.

To contest this, take photos of where you parked, showing there are no signs restricting parking near the crosswalk. Mark the photo(s) with a pen to indicate where your car was parked. It will help to get a photo of a street sign and/or perhaps a building with a street address to establish the signs are from where you parked.

Finally, at the hearing or in your letter make sure you cite the municipal code above and point out that since no signs were posted the ticket must be dismissed.

I can't see how you don't beat this ticket. It's one of those low-hanging curve balls that you can easily knock over the center field wall.

The Geek

Hello Geek,

I live in Chicago and my car was ticketed, booted and then impounded. When I tried to make payment arrangements, the City of Chicago had already destroyed it.

I wanted to know if they would take the amount of money they received to scrap my car and use it to pay some my parking tickets/fines?

Alyslesa

Sorry Alyslesa,

Unfortunately, the city won’t apply any of the cash they got from scrapping the vehicle toward your parking ticket debt.

The same would go even if the car was brand new and never recovered. In this case, the city would sell the car at auction. Even if the car generated thousands of dollars at auction, not one dime would go toward the vehicle owner’s parking ticket debt.

It’s a very bad and unfair policy in my opinion.

The Geek

Hey PTG,

I parked in a parking lot and walked into a nearby Dunkin Donuts — just 25 feet away and within perfect view of my vehicle — to grab a coffee.

When I came back, my car was booted by a company called Global Parking Management. I had to pay them $140 right there to release my vehicle.

How the #@$! do we let a company like this exist here?

Marc

I’m guessing that’s probably the most expensive cup of coffee you’ve every had, right, Marc?

A lot of people can’t believe this type of booting in private parking lots is legal — but it is.

Global Parking Management has contracts with business and strip mall owners around the city to make sure their lot is available to customers and not other drivers who park in their lot and then go shopping elsewhere. Many of these lots reside on the North Side in neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Bucktown, Lakeview and Roscoe Village.

Many parking lot owners use towing companies to remove vehicles that aren’t supposed to be there. Global's owners explain booting is just another enforcement option — one that they say costs the offender less money than being towed — which will cost you close to $200 compared to the $140 boot fee. They also say it's more convenient because a motorist doesn't have to get the tow yard to recover the vehicle.

Of course, that's little consolation for frustrated drivers rendered immobile by Global's dreaded boots.

The municipal code requires Global to post signs warning drivers of what can happen if they park there and walk off to patronize another business. It’s really important drivers read these signs. Global employees waiting in the lot don’t warn people heading off the premises; they rush over and slap a boot on their car.

Private property owners obviously have a right to police their property, and they're concerned about keeping parking available for their customers.

The solution is to be a smarter driver by making sure you only shop at stores where Global is employed and never leave the premises unless you move your car first, or simply park on the street. Another strategy is to never patronize businesses that use Global Parking Management to protect their parking lots.

Unfortunately, this is a very expensive lesson, one many a Chicago driver has experienced.

If you have a parking ticket question for The Parking Ticket Geek, email your query to: askthegeek@theexpiredmeter.com.

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