Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

09/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


Hello Parking Ticket Geek-

I was parked on Irving Park Road and received a ticket for Rush Hour Parking (I guess its no parking between 4PM-7PM). Well contested by mail stating that there is no sign that says this and there is actually two signs that state there is no parking from 730-8AM and 215-3PM...absolutely nothing that says No Parking from 4-7PM.

Well of course they are still staying that I am liable so I contacted them again and they said that I could appeal it but there was a fee (absolutely ridiculous).

Anyway, I went outside where I parked and there is a sign about 150feet away from where I parked that says No Parking 4-7PM. How far does a sign need to be in proximity to where you are parked. I mean I think that is absolutely ridiculous that they ticketed me and then also found me I need to know how far a sign needs to be so if you could let me know, I am definitely goin to appeal it


Geez Steph!

All the signs on your street are making me dizzy! 7:30-8, 2:15-3, 4-7!!!! Whoa!!! I need to sit down.

The sad truth is that technically, all the city has to do is post one sign, a single, solitary sign, to signify the particular parking restriction for the entire block, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation's (the city department responsible for putting up street signs) Brian Steele. Although, according to Steele, the single sign example, while it does occur, is not the norm, and the CDOT tries to make sure there is adequate signage on city streets.

So, let's say you parked on the near end of a block and can't see any signs that restrict parking, because the only sign restricting parking is at the very far end of the block, you can still be held liable in a hearing for the violation.

I realize this is a pain in the ass, but I highly recommend, walking the length of the block to check out all the signs on the block you are parked to make sure you are not unknowingly in violation of any parking restrictions..

That being said, the proper way to contest this would be to photograph the entire block and either demonstrate there was no sign, or show the sign was obscured somehow (tree leaves, turned to the side, etc.) or, and this is a reach, that you could not possibly see this sign as it was so far down the street from where you parked and thus the city failed to adequately post the proper signs along that block. The last defense would probably fail, but I believe I saw it work once. Most times, if a sign exists, even if it's at the end of the block, you will be found liable.

Very truly yours,

The Parking Ticket Geek

P.S. As far as the appeal, I'm not sure in your case if you should pursue that as, as much as I would agree that it always helps to have better posted signs, it sounds like the hearing officer did follow the law.

Dear Senor Geek,

I can not find information on when a parking ticket expire in Chicago, can you help here?

Thank you.


Dear Ismael-

Chicago parking tickets NEVER "expire."

There is no statute of limitations on parking tickets.

You can still fight them if the ticket is not in final determination, but
after final determination, you have almost no options.

This lack of time limitation on tickets really needs to be addressed and changed in the municipal code.

For whatever reasons or inefficiencies, the city has sent me Notice of Violation letters alerting me for the first time of tickets that allegedly occurred 3, 4 even 5 years ago. I've heard from many others who have face similar situations.

How does a person fight a parking ticket from many years ago, or even as few as six months ago? Memories fade, the street environment (signs, construction, etc.) may have changed and the ability to gather the proper documentation and evidence to properly fight a violation is difficult if not impossible.

This policy, under these circumstances put the motorist at an extreme disadvantage and I believe the law needs to be changed.

Sorry for the rant, but I hope that answers your question.

The Parking Ticket Geek

Dear Parking Geek

I had an old car with lots of tickets - but the car was junked and I surrendered the tags - which were out of state anyway, and got a pretty new car which I registered to my current Illinois address.

Today I got a seizure notice on my old car - forwarded by the postal service - for tickets from three years ago - and the notice says they can take any car I own. Reading your blog, it seems like they are unlikely to actually boot a different car.

But I want to pay, though it is a lot of money to pay up front - so I called the repayment plan number. It turns out that I don't really qualify for any of the actually helpful repayment plans - just one where they'd want $500 upfront and the seizure notice is for $600.

They asked for my current address, and drivers license number and as I was telling them this I realized - uh-oh - now they know about my beautiful new car, the one that is registered in Illinois. But I told them anyway.

Now I am worried - if the strange lawyer's office knows that my old junked car belongs to the same person who lives at my current address and has a nice new car - does that mean the city knows too? Did I just completely screw myself?

And why don't they just have set street cleaning days in my neighborhood, instead of making up days every few weeks? Giving 24 hours notice to move your car to someone who doesn't drive that much and travels a lot means I am getting way to many tickets.



Dear M.C.

Whew! You have a lot to ponder here.

Let's start with your old car vs. new car situation. Being that your old car was from three years ago and registered out of state and all the correspondence is currently going there, at least for the short term, you are OK.

Normally, it has been mine and others' experiences, that it is hard to link vehicles registered out of state to vehicles registered in Illinois--even if the owners were/are the same. Not that it can't be done, but I think it's much more difficult than linking the vehicles of one owner all registered within Illinois.

As far as the collection agency's database being linked to the state and city's database, I am skeptical that a private firm could be able to update city and state databases without some trouble. I am going to research this some more, but I gotta think the collection agency can, at least not directly, update these two government databases.

I don't think you screwed yourself, but, as a rule of thumb M.C., the less information you give to the government, the better. Especially when it comes to the city of Chicago and/or the state. The less they know, the better.

I would suggest start making payments on your terms. $50 bucks every two weeks until you are all paid up. So even if they do connect the two vehicles, and you get a seizure notice on your new vehicle, you would have already made a dent in your debt.

Because, when you get the seizure notice, you have 21 days to either pay up or have a hearing before you actually reach Seizure Status which is a technical way of saying you are eligible to be booted.

So keep checking the Chicago Parking Ticket Search Website, to make sure your new vehicle doesn't go boot eligible.

So, worst, most unlikely case is that they'll connect the two plates, but it may take months to do so, giving you time to make smaller payments on the old vehicle.

Best and more likely case is they never connect two different vehicles registered in two different states.

As far as street cleaning, I would suggest checking the street cleaning schedule with your alderman's office and/or your ward's street and sanitation office or click here for your Ward Street Cleaning Schedule.

Mark your calendar and move your car.

Very truly yours,

The Parking Ticket Geek

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