People who have unpaid parking tickets would have to pay off the tickets to get a city vehicle sticker under an plan endorsed by Evanston’s parking committee Wednesday night.

The panel learned from city officials of a curious gap in the city code under which people who seek a residential parking permit or a permit to park in a city lot have to pay off their parking tickets to get one, but no such provision now applies to purchasers of city vehicle stickers.

Evanston Parking Manager Rickey Voss said city residents who’ve accumulated five tickets or more — and thus could have their cars booted, assuming parking enforcement officers found them, owe the town a total of $142,571 in unpaid tickets.

That’s 56 percent of the total owned by people with a bootable number of parking tickets — with most of the rest owed by residents of other Illinois communities. Only about 9 percent are from out-of-state.

Voss says the city boots about 70 cars a month and charges a $125 fee on top of the ticket costs to get the boot removed.

Voss said he didn’t know how many of the outstanding tickets may be owed by people who — though their cars were once registered in Evanston — either no longer live here or have switched cars.

The largest number of cars with a high number of parking tickets are registered to addresses in the city’s 2nd, 5th and 8th wards — which include some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in town.

The panel directed city staff to prepare an ordinance to impose the new rules by the time city sticker applications are mailed out in November.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Booting cars of lowest income people?

     "Voss says the city boots about 70 cars a month and charges a $125 fee on top of the ticket costs to get the boot removed… The largest number of cars with a high number of parking tickets are registered to addresses in the city’s 2nd, 5th and 8th wards — which include some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in town."

    This practice makes no sense, since not having access to one’s car is likely to interfere with one’s ability to continue producing income. There should be community service options for traffic and parking violations that currently result in fines. As it is now, people with high(er) incomes are able to break traffic and parking rules/laws with relative impunity, since paying the related fines poses little or no real hardship for them! 

     Let’s stop effectively criminalizing/penalizing poverty!

    1. Towing works the same way

      I am quite sure that disproportionate numbers of low income people get the tows following snow storms as well.  Of the 142 cars towed following the last storm, I know that a large percentage were in the 5th ward because I watched them get towed away.  Of course, many of them belong to students who are new to the area and not familiar with the regulations, but hey– that’s one way to get NU to pay their ‘fair share’, right?

      1. College students new to the area

        Guess actually reading a sign or checking a website to become familiar with regulations in a "new area" would not be logical for college students ….

    2. Let’s stop effectively criminalizing/penalizing poverty!

      How exactly would the police / parking enforcement figure out the financial status of the owner of an illegally parked vehicle???

      One simple solution to not having to worry about being able to pay parking fines would be to not park illegaly …. Oops … sorry for using common sense ….

      1. Poverty should be criminalized

        Stop criminalizing poverty?   What nonsense.

        Poverty is  a crime.

        The problem, unfortunately, is that our government does not prosecute the criminals who have created poverty –  the Republicans, the NIMBYs, the bankers and corporate criminals, the Tower-haters,  the drug dealers (both ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’), the insurance companies and the ‘healthcare’ industry.

        In fact, all too often the government is aiding the criminals  and persecuting their victims.

      2. Penalizing pedestrians

        I don’t usually think this way, but this winter, suddenly I do. Is the City of Evanston penalizing ‘poverty’ by making it extremely difficult to walk here – downtown and in the residential areas – in winter? As a full-time pedestrian living in Evanston, I definitely am feeling like a second-class citizen. Walking my dogs near my downtown condo Monday evening and Tuesday morning, it was a frightening struggle to stay upright. And I am not an old, nor physically challenged person. Subsequent to that ice storm early in the week, I continue to mince around as I attempt my usual rounds of Whole Foods, EAC, Barnes&Noble, McGaw Y, CVS, Gap, Jewel, Bennison’s, Starbucks, Dewey School. The streets are clear, the sidewalks are an abomination.

        1. Icy sidewalks are ridiculous

          I completely agree.

          I also walk everywhere, and the sidewalks are absolutely awful.  This is what happens when clearing snow from sidewalks isn’t enforced.  A nice layer of snow causes rain to freeze, leaving a nice inch-thick slab of ice for us pedestrians to have to navigate.

          I don’t care about excuses about how cold it is and how the ice is unusual.  What??? Go elsewhere in the area and the sidewalks are not like this!!

          Evanston has a high percentage of pedestrians, and yet has the snow-on-sidewalk policies of a suburb with none.

  2. Sticking it to Students

    Sticking it to students is a time honored tradition in college towns across this great land, and I’m all for it.  A college town that doesn’t do this is wasting a huge opportunity to increase revenue.  Towing tax-paying residents is another issue.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense to pull the old "snow route cash grab" on the people that are paying the freight.  I wish they would tow anyone without an Evanston city sticker the second one flake falls over the 2" threshhold, but residents should be given every chance to move their cars before they get towed (just like the city does for the 4th of July parade).  

  3. Eye opening

    I have proposed a sliding scale city sticker tax in Evanston in other discussions on here and I think everyone is overwhelmingly in favor of it (e.g., if you are rich, your city sticker should cost a lot and if you are poor, it should be free) – I would like to add to this a proposal to give all people of lesser means a special colored sticker that gives them immunity from booting. Thanks for the idea. How can I present this at a City Council meeting?

    1. More to be angry about in Evanston

      Didn’t you know the city uses CBG ( community block grant funds ) to hire property standard inspectors to go out in the low income areas and write worthless inspections. on peoples homes, No different than the parking tickets.  

      Ofcourse our Mayor makes up for this when she gives free beach tokens to social service agencies to give to the poor, ( 1,000 ) accept we don’t know how these free tokens are actually given out.

      The Mayor showed her real lack of understanding for regular people when she stated at Council that maybe they should just come early to buy their stickers.Maybe she does not understand many of the people standing in line at the last minute most likely did not have the extra funds to buy a sticker early, like her!

      1. What is a beach token?

        What is a beach token? The beach is community property, man, it should not be segregated based on ability to pay. Everybody should be able to go to the beach for free. Had I known I was going to have to pay to go the beach, I would have not moved to Evanston.

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