Hundreds of cars towed overnight

December 1, 2009 3:18:49 PM PST
It happens every year- but still many Chicago motorists are caught off guard when winter parking restrictions go in effect.Snow or no snow, overnight parking is banned on certain city streets after December 1so it was a busy morning for tow trucks around the city. More than 200 cars were ticketed and taken to city lots Tuesday morning.

Between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. from December 1 to April 1, the city enforces parking restrictions on several main streets, regardless of snow. Ignoring the signs, which are posted year-round, can add up:

  • $50 parking ticket
  • $150 for towing
  • and a $10 daily storage fee

    "Help us. We need somebody to help us against bullies like this right here," said Lora Roberson, car owner.

    "It was either stolen or towed. Called 311 and got it taken care of," said Christian Walker, car owner.

    According to a release from Department of Streets and Sanitation, 234 cars were towed.

    "We saw a lot more vehicles that we could have towed but we ran out at 7a.m. of time because we don't tow past 7 and we have to come back the next day at 3 a.m. And the irony is a lot of signs for violations of the overnight parking and a lot of the cars were right under the signs," said Matt Smith, streets & sanitation spokesman.

    The restriction is meant to speed the plowing of the streets in the event of an overnight storm. Enforcement of the routes will continue until April 1, 2010.

    "People should know this is the one ban we're very serious about enforcing, more than any others because it protects 107 miles of the most critical, arterial streets of the city and without those, the city could shut down," said Smith.

    One man, who asked not to be indentified, ran outside half-dressed to plead with the tow truck driver early Tuesday morning.

    "They're heartless," said the man, "They're paid from the city, and I even told him, I'm like, 'Listen, I'm not doing very good in this economy, please have the decency, you know, as a citizen.' "

    Car owners should also get ready to observe parking restrictions when there is more than 2 inches of snow.

    "Last winter when the streets were icy and snowy, they couldn't clean the streets but yet the first chance they get, they'll tow our cars at $160 a pop," said Rob Stein, car owner.

    "Just to make more money. Thank you, Mayor Daley," said Georgia Leonette, car owner.

    "Makes you want to move out of the city. It doesn't make it easier for us to live in Chicago at all," said Melissa Alvarez, car owner.

    Tow trucks will be out again Wednesday morning.

    "You might see the overnight parking ban and a 2-inch ban sign in the same general area. The best thing to do is observe both of them because we'll be enforcing both of them," said Smith.

    "I just spent $1,100 to get my car fixed and it wasn't like that last night. Look at that big dent they put on my car," said Michael Chapman, car owner.

    If a car is damaged during the towing process, Smith said the owner should put in a claim immediately with the towing company. Last year the city had more than 140,000 cars towed and 1,100 claims were filed.


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