HUMBOLDT PARK — A steady stream of upset drivers flowed into a city auto pound in Humboldt Park Monday morning to shell out $170 to get their cars back.
“I thought someone stole the car,” said Jose Yanqi at City Auto Pound #6, 701 N. Sacramento Ave. “I didn’t see the sign to move the car.”
Yanqi was in a long line of motorists who had their cars towed on the first night of the city's annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban, which went into effect overnight Monday.
According to the Department of Streets and Sanitation, 239 vehicles were towed overnight — the exact number of cars towed last year.
Mike Brockway says many question if the ban is still necessary:
“It’s a big headache,” said Juan Comacho, who lives in Portage Park. “My kids got to school late. Where are people supposed to park on a busy street? I have to drive around for an hour to find parking. This is just going to make it worse.”
Many of the drivers there questioned the necessity of the ban.
“It’s not necessary at all,” said a frustrated Abraham Maharam who had his vehicle towed from Devon Avenue. “Usually you get a warning. Who remembers December 1st? They did a bad job of getting the word out.”
“I think it’s a big scam,” said Comacho.
But the city says the decades-old ban ensures that Chicago doesn’t get caught in the same snow-induced gridlock that shut down roadways after the historic blizzard of ’67.
“The overnight parking ban is enforced along 107 miles of arterial streets to ensure these routes are safe and passable throughout the winter season,” said Streets and Sanitation spokeswoman Molly Poppe. “The ban is a necessary tool to prevent the build-up of snow along main routes, which reduces traffic flow and inhibits snow removal equipment.”
The parking ban is in effect from December through April 1 from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. every day — regardless of whether there's snow in the forecast.
Car owners will have to pay a minimum $150 towing fee, $20 storage fee per day to get their car released from the city auto pound and still have to pay a $60 parking ticket.
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