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The Parking Ticket Geek

The Geek is an idiot, who gets a lot of parking tickets, and knows how to fight back.

Another Street Sweeping Alert Service Debuts In Chicago

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By Diana Novak

Believe it or not, now there are two different services to help you evade those pesky street sweeper tickets.

StopTheBroomNow.com is a new subscription street-sweeping alert service (very similar to StopParkingTickets.com a service this site spotlighted just a few days ago) that launched a week ago.

Designed and run by Joel Guy, 28, a Logan Square local working in IT, this messaging reminder site hopes to modernize how we park during street cleaning season.

Like many Chicago drivers who park on the street, Guy was tired of the number of tickets he was getting. "I was frustrated by the number of street sweeping tickets I was receiving every year, along with the city's posters set up at really short notice," he says. "I wished that someone would provide earlier warnings, and thought a lot of other people probably feel the same way, so I decided to do it myself."

More than frustrated, though, Guy was disturbed by the city's way of dealing with the situation. "I think if the city government really cared about cleaning the streets, this is the type of service they would be offering, to ensure that cars are moved in time for sweeping," he says. "Currently, if a car is left on the street, that section of the street goes un-swept and the city collects a $50 ticket. So we [Chicagoans] lose both ways.

While he understands the demand for such services, Chicago Streets and Sanitation spokesperson Matt Smith does not recognize the necessity.

"This information is already available," says Smith. "Between schedules posted on the internet, posted signs and 311 you can learn a lot about this information. I'm not going to tell people how to spend their money but people are paying for the convenience of information we already provide."

Guy recognizes that street cleaning was not designed as a mode of earning money. "However, at this point, it's a huge source of revenue for the city so whether or not the current system is fair or helpful to people parking their cars, the city doesn't really care," he says. "There's no impetus for them to do something like what I'm doing... beyond making their constituents happy. In the meantime, I'm happy to do it for them."

Ultimately, Streets and San wants the streets cleared of vehicles so they can sweep the streets properly.

"The bottom line is people should move their cars when sweeping occurs," reiterates Smith. "We fully encourage people to comply not just for the tickets but so we can do the job properly."

For just $8 a year, (or just over $1 per month of street cleaning season which runs from April 1 to October 31) Guy will monitor your favorite parking street on the sweeping schedules and let you know when to park elsewhere. You can choose how to be alerted (through email or text message) coming both 48 and 24 hours before the sweepers arrive.

Though the service is brand new with this sweeping season, Guy is already prepared to begin taking on subscribers.

For more information on their services, check out Guy's website, StopTheBroomNow.com.

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1 Comment

CCWriter said:

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Easy for Mr. Smith to say, but his assertion that the information has always been adequately provided simply doesn't hold up. Otherwise why would these entrepreneurs have seen a need? The dates posted online last year were WRONG, the posted signs were barely there last year, and as far as 311 goes, when exactly are you supposed to call it and what is your assurance you're getting correct information? This notion of what drivers "should" do just puts it all on us and takes no responsibility for fairness. Why does he seem to think people wouldn't want to move their cars?


I will say that so far this season they seem to be posting more signs per block, an improvement from the apparent policy of "we'll put up the minimum number required by law--at most." If they are truly serious that all they really want is the cars moved, then they'll continue putting up as many signs as it takes to get in people's field of vision, and not slack off. If they revert back to as few as possible, then we'll know what the real priority is, no matter what they claim.

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