Evanston officials plan to roll out a new tool for immobilizing the cars of parking ticket scofflaws, after aldermen Monday approved cutting the number of tickets required to trigger booting from five to three.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the city recently purchased three of the new devices, called The Barnacle. They attach to windshields with giant suction cups, and the manufacturer, a company called Ideas That Stick, says they can only be released when car owners enter a special pin code they get when they pay off their overdue tickets.

Bobkiewicz says the new system should eliminate the cost to the city of having a tow truck driver place a traditional Denver Boot on one of the car’s wheels.

A stack of Barnacles, ready to be deployed. (Images from

The Barnacle also includes a motion sensor alarm in case somebody tries to drive off with stuck to the windshield and GPS tracking capability in case the driver fails to return the device to the city once it’s unlocked.

Aldermen approved the cut in the number of tickets required to trigger booting on an 8-1 vote after a motion by Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, to phase the change in over a two year period — cutting the limit to four tickets in 2018 and three in 2019 — failed.

YouTube video

A video from Tech Insider showing how The Barnacle works.

Braithwaite said he throught the change should be more gradual but Bobkiewicz said he’d prefer to not have to run two different promotional campaigns announcing the changes.

Other aldermen said the change to a three-ticket limit would actually benefit drivers — encouraging them to pay up before the total cost of the overdue fines and penalties rose to an unmanageable amount.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


      1. Crunching the numbers

        The city purchased 3.  If they do cost $600/each, that’s $1,800.  Many Evanston tickets run $35, I can say from sad experience.  So a lot of 3-ticket scofflaws owe $100, even if they don’t require you to pay the extra late fee.  18 uses, 6 per Barnacle, would seem to pay off the equipment.  That doesn’t seem extraordinary.

        Pay your tickets, folks.

      2. Barnacle cost versus Denver Boot

        Here’s an update from Evanston’s parking manager, Jill Velan, and the deputy city manager, Erika Storlie.

        Velan says a Barnacle costs $675, including the GPS tracker. The Denver Boot product the city uses costs $650.

        Storlie says parking enforcement officers now have to call North Shore Towing to put on the Denver Boot, while the PEOs will be able to install the Barnacle themselves.

        She says the process that now typically takes 45 minutes to an hour should take only a few minutes with the new device.

        — Bill

    1. Winter

      Will the parking enforcement folks scrape the ice off your windshield during the winter months to apply this thing?

    2. Costs associated with using the boot

      Seriously, how much do you think that booting a car costs? Whatever the “boots” cost when purchased, sure, but there are also the costs associated with using the boot – the installation by the tow trucks, the removal once the fines are paid; sounds like the labor-intensiveness will be removed with the new device. As someone who has waited 30 – 45 minutes for the Parking Enforcement person to arrive in order to ticket a vehicle in my on-street reserved handicap spot, anything that speeds up the response time is welcome by me! I am presuming that these Barnicles are faster to deal with then the Boots, but it seems like a reasonable presumption.

    3. shopping

      Ah…yet another reason to shop at Old Orchard, Northbrook,  Wilmette,   Village Crossing, downtown Glenview.etc…… are the overpaid city people looking for more ways to drive people away?  

  1. The Barnacled
    Will the city pay compensation to drivers who have been issued tickets for “violations” they can prove are completely bogus? I have a friend whose car has been repeatedly booted for tickets for times and places he can prove incorrect, he can prove he was elsewhere at the time.

  2. Will they remove the snow?

    Is the city planning on deploying these in the summer only or do they intend to remove all of the snow from one’s windshield before applying?

    1. Barnacle/debacle

      I don’t own a smart phone.  I would have to take a bus or cab to go home…go on my computer…..then take a bus or cab to get back to my car.  and, I also have been ticketed wrongly.  what about un fixed broken meters?  this device is ridiculous  Another bright idea by city management.  I guarantee that someone will figure out a way to “undo” this contraption.   

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *