In December of 2008, the Chicago City Council approved Mayor Daley‘s plan to lease the City’s parking meter plan to a private company for 75 years. This was done in an attempt to increase revenue and pay down the City’s budget deficit. As a result of this plan, some areas of the City saw their parking rates increase exponentially, angering many City residents.
In an effort to soothe the frustrations of affected Chicago motorists, Ald. Ginger Rugai recently proposed an ordinance that would require that anyone receiving a parking ticket in Chicago receive photographic proof of the parking violation, as explained in a Chicago Sun-Times blog post:
(Motorists are) reluctant to challenge their violations before administrative hearing judges because they lack proof that a mistake was made…
Rugai’s ordinance would require photographs to be attached to every parking ticket. The lack of a photograph would become one of four reasons for automatic dismissal.
As explained in the blog post, the City already owns 140 hand-held devices that take pictures as well as issue tickets. However, the City only uses those devices in limited situations, such as when tickets are issued for parking illegally in a permit parking zone, missing, expired or improperly displayed plates, and invalid or missing city stickers. In all other cases, tickets are issued by simply writing a ticket in a ticket book.
The proposed parking ordinance is a good idea in light of the increased costs of parking in downtown Chicago, which are the direct result of the 2008 outsourcing of the City’s parking meter plan. In this day and age, the cost of having to prove a case by taking pictures of the parking violation–especially since the City already owns the devices–is marginal, at best. There is simply no reason that the City should not have to prove their case using photographic evidence, since Chicago motorists risk losing their driving rights if parking tickets are unjustly issued without cause.