That's a Lot of Expired Meters
By Timmy Watson in News on May 27, 2007 8:20PM
We recently bought a car from a friend and on the day we decided to clean it out we opened the center console and what we saw was a sea of orange and white. Parking tickets. Lots and lots of parking tickets. Now, sure, we've gotten our share of parking tickets, but this was a little out of hand. Well, according to a Sun-Times report, there are a lot of very very large balances of unpaid parking tickets.
The top 20 offenders owe $713,001 in tickets. The offenders seem to be a really wide range of people, from a self described family-man, to partier Jerry Berliant. Most of Berliant's tickets were written outside of clubs on Rush St. Berliant, who owes $29,627, told the Sun-Times it is a computer foul up.
In recent years cities across the country have been relying on parking ticket revenue to fund many of services. Chicago is pretty average compared to other cities, as far as fines go. New York, Chicago, and Houston are the toughest on those that park in front of fire hydrants, fining violators $100. As a comparison, Detroit charges $30. If you park in a disabled zone in Los Angeles, you will get hit with a $355 ticket. Parking in a handicapped parking space in Chicago will set you back $200.
Chicago does offer a payment plan for those with large outstanding amounts owed, but most of the people the Sun-Times spoke with had no plans to pay the tickets anytime soon. One woman though, who owes $43,230 (!), is paying $100 a month. On the other end, Michael Neu, who owes $20,000, rents a garage to hide his truck. In addition to the likelyhood that his truck will be towed, Neu believes two traffic cops are after him. Normally we'd attribute this belief to paranoia, but we vividly remember that dick detective who gave House so much trouble, so we completely believe Neu.