The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

We Are Missing The Point

By Jocelyn Geboy in News on Jun 5, 2007 10:38PM

CBS2 reports that the city is testing a new system where they are going to put red and green lights on street poles to help residents avoid street cleaning tickets. On street cleaning day, the light would be red, and when crews finished the light would go green, indicating the street was once again safe for parking. "Once the sweeper comes by then the light goes green and everybody can park there. Takes 5 minutes to clean it and save an enormous amount of money," said Mayor Richard Daley. CBS2 says, "The pilot program still has a few kinks to work out, but he [Daley] loves the idea."

2007_06boot.jpgThis is exactly the kind of story that Chicagoist loves to sink our teeth into. It was just a blurb on the CBS site, and we wish we were getting paid to investigate this more. For now, we'll offer up this commentary and these questions.

If this program is going to be located on residental streets, we ask you this -- If you have a car and aren't driving it to work, would you be around to see when the light changed from red to green? Wouldn't it be impossible for you to know? Isn't that the reason we all have to keep a close vigil for the orange paper signs that seem to randomly appear -- because we all have to move our cars from one side of the street to the other for a couple of days in the middle of the week once a month?

And that's the other thing that always makes us a little wary of the street cleaning perhaps being little more than a revenue generator for the city via way of parking tickets ... the fact that in some neighborhoods there are permanent signs that state that every first Thursday from Apr. 1 to Nov. 30 there is street cleaning (or third Wednesday or something like that). But in other neighborhoods (seemingly the ones where parking is already congested and hard to find), street cleaning is done on this paper sign system, with notice only being given a day or two in advance via orange signs wrapped around trees and streetlights. It's good to have roommates in those neighborhoods.

Other than straight up tow jobs, we'd hazard a guess that street cleaning tickets make up a large percentage of the parking department revenue. Why isn't street cleaning more standardized? How is this street light system going to help anyone in residential areas? Are we missing something here (we are sure you'll tell us!)??

"Parking Boot Versus My Middle Finger" by Dan Telfer