Chicago Meter Maids Stop for No One

Tucked behind the skeletal remains of a melted windshield wiper...


A friend snapped a photo of this van, parked down the street from her Chicago apartment. It's obviously severely burned. "The entire inside was reduced to ashes, the windows shattered from the force of the heat," she writes. And yet, "tucked behind the skeletal remains of a melted windshield wiper," what did she spy?

A city of Chicago parking ticket, obviously.




Chicago's aggressive parking ticketing was recently examined by NBC 5 Chicago. For more parking enforcement madness, see:

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  1. I guess the Lincoln Park Pirates weren’t interested in stealing a vehicle that nobody would bother to ransom.


    1. +1 So it’s way, hey, tow ’em away,
      We plunder the streets of your town,
      Be it Edsel or Chevy, there’s no car too heavy,
      And no one can make us shut down.

  2. I don’t get it.

    When someone abandons a burned out car on the street, they give the owner a chance to take it somewhere (if they want) before they impound it. Or they, at least, need a better excuse to impound it than it looks like junk to you and me.

    Why isn’t this as it should be?

    If someone dumped a shitty couch on the sidewalk next to the van, I’d like to think the city would haul that away, too. But if they give the poor ass people who own it a chance to pick it up first.

    I guess I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    1. Chicago isn’t known for having understanding members of law enforcement, but the aggressive reputation ENB refers to is well documented:…..Q2ZTIifQ==

      1. This isn’t a case of police brutality.

        This is a case of a car that may have been abandoned and is apparently parked illegally.

        So it was ticketed.


        Where’s the outrage?

        I don’t get it.

        They probably should have towed it. I bet, eventually, that’s exactly what they did.

        That’s what should happen to abandoned cars that are parked illegally, right?

        Except in Libertopia, they’ll give you a ticket first, so you’ll have a chance to recover your property before having to pay for the towing and impound fees.

        Looks like that’s what they did here.

        And no one was shot.

        1. Why did the bother to ticket the husk instead of just towing the fucking thing, Ken?

          1. Because other people’s property belongs to them–is why you don’t tow things without warning?

            Because being illegally parked means you get a ticket?

            Because towing things away because they’re illegally parked doesn’t make sense if there’s no ticket for being illegally parked?

        2. It’s not, Ken, it’s a case of chronically unsympathetic-to-the-point-of-being-pitiless members of law enforcement (which was part of my point). I did provide a link to a case of (Chicago) police brutality, to reinforce my understanding that the Chicago police have a bit of a reputation for being “aggressively non-understanding” in their special way.

          I ‘m a meter tender and I see a burned out vehicle.
          Some of my options are
          A) Run the plates and attempt to inform the owner
          B) Ask around for witnesses to determine what happened
          C) Call a detective to investigate if a crime has been committed or if it was some form of insurance scam
          D) Ticket the owner

          1. Only one of those options generates revenue, so I can see why they went with it.

            1. Excellent point.

    2. What’s more likely? That someone drove his burned out (almost certainly inoperable) van to this spot to abandon it, or someone parked his van there and was then the victim of a vandal? I’d say the latter. And instead of trying to do something to help the victim or find the vandal, the city is going to make him a victim a second time by giving him a parking ticket.

      1. You think people should be free to park illegally downtown–if their car is inoperable?

        1. Way to miss the point. The most likely scenario is that this guy legally parked an operable van, it got burned by some criminal, and then he had no way to move it and so it overstayed some parking time limit. The no parking sign in the picture has an arrow pointing the other way, which strongly suggests that parking is allowed at least some of the time on the side of sign on which the van is parked. Are you actually theorizing this van was burned somewhere else, and then someone either drove it or towed it to this parking space?

          1. I regularly drive my urban chameleon car with no windows, melted wipers and a scorched interior to take advantage of the free parking opportunities (because Minneapolis cops are bleeding heart liberals who would never ticket a brother when he is down).

            I’m sure this person is gaming the system in the same way. After all Chicago is a balmy paradise compared to Minneapolis, so it would be way easier to drive around there with no windows than it is here.

            Seriously, was it a real parking ticket? I had a buddy who was in a pretty serious fender bender in Memphis one night and he was able to get to a parking spot and leave it there while he went home. He came back the next day with some tools and he found something that looked like a ticket, but it was basically a note that said “Get it out of here by 5pm or we are towing”. Maybe this was something like that?

    3. I don’t get it.

      Somehow, Ken, I have no doubt that phrase will be carved on your tombstone.

      1. Maybe you should explain it to me.

        What’s so awful about giving an illegally parked car a ticket?

        What is so awful about ticketing a car before it’s towed?

        Why is ticketing an illegally parked, piece of shit care indicative of…anything?

        You just understand this logic intuitively?

        Did you know that there are real problems in this world that libertarians can address?

        And that the problem is piece of shit cars being ticketed for being illegally parked–like they should be–is in no way one of them?

        1. I’m going to ask you again, since you ignored me the first time: Are you actually theorizing this van was burned somewhere else, and then someone drove it to this parking space? In Chicago, in early March, with no windows?

  3. I pity the fool that’d put a parking ticket on B.A.’s van.

    1. He was so mad he burst into flames.

    2. Because someone with a Bachelor of Arts degree is probably not making enough to be able to pay off the fine?

  4. The city of Chicago doesn’t enforce parking meters there, a JP Morgan subsidiary does.

    Given that the Reason Foundation was and apparently still is in love with Mayor Daley’s parking privatization fiasco, you would think that knowledge would pass down to the Reason website too.

    1. You should probably read your links before posting them:
      Under the terms of the parking meter contract, the city retains full responsibility for rate setting, parking regulation enforcement and fine collection. The deal also preserves the city council’s decision-making authority over the number of meters and hours of operation, as well as the city director of revenue’s authority over the length of time a customer can park.

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  7. City of Chicago does not enforce peers in that area.
    If someone dumped a shitty couch on the sidewalk next to the van, I’d like to think the city would haul that away, too. But if they give the poor ass people who own it a chance to pick it up first.

    This van was burned somewhere else, and then someone either drove it or towed it to this parking space?

  8. Meter Maids in chicago mean business. Last week, one of my house cleaning ladies got a ticket for simply parking a half inch outside the allowable amount from the curb.

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