If you lived in Chicago, and you may, your quality of life may have been significantly diminished if you must plug parking meters to get where you want to go. Chicagoans have been vandalizing parking meters in some parts of the city.
As parking meters were being updated throughout Chicago to handle exorbitantly high fees, vandalized meters were found – everywhere. Chicagoans are mad, and creative. How are the meters being vandalized? Here are a few comments from TheExpiredMeter.com:
An entire block of parking meters, numbering nearly 20, were spotted along west Irving Park in the Albany Park neighborhood, that had both the front and back of their heads spray painted black. Once spray painted, these meters are unreadable by Parking Enforcement Aides and therefore, vehicles can’t be ticketed as it’s impossible to see if the meters were fed or not.
One individual calling his or her self “Illinois Patriot,” is calling for direct vandalism attacks to disable parking meters.
“WE, the people, need to start fighting back! Here are some ideas to fight back:,” states Illinois Patriot in a communique to The Expired Meter. “A good shot of expanding foam should feed the meter’s coin slot nicely. Don’t get caught… Epoxy putties and VHB sided foam tapes show additional promise for field expedient mayhem and merriment.”
One local blogger has championed feeding meters with pennies and nickels instead of quarters. While the other change does not register, once the meter’s coin reservoirs are filled, the meter will read FAIL and is inoperable, cannot be fed and is essentially a free parking spot.
LAZ is a Chicago company which collects the money for the New York owner which paid the city $1.2 billion to lease the city’s 36,000 meters for 75 years. They’ve pasted new stickers on them, doubled the rates to as much as a quarter for five minutes in the Loop. That’s $3 an hour to $2 an hour in many other neighborhoods. People are angry.
All over the city, we saw stretches of meters empty in places where people had been fighting for spots. Having to put in 12 quarters an hour was either too inconvenient or too expensive.
A parking meter revolt is underway. The people’s revolt – their own new stimulus – is a way to put quarters back into their own pocket.