Thursday, May 28, 2015

All Private parking when out in public?

One of the drawbacks of being a reporter-type person is having to venture into neighborhoods where I’m not familiar with the local quirks.
Are these worth potential $130 penalty in Wilmette?

Which always has me wondering if I’m going to inadvertently park the automobile in a spot considered private by the locals; and wind up having the vehicle either towed away or booted.

NOT EXACTLY SOMETHING I want to have to explain to an editor as to why I’m not going to make a deadline. I still remember a time some several decades ago when I got into a fender-bender collision while on assignment with the now-defunct City News Bureau of Chicago.

My managing editor definitely held it against me for some time thereafter. How long would the grudge have lasted if my car had been impounded?

Because some people seem to think they can view space around their property as somehow sacred. Or if they’re out to get a neighboring business and follow the letter of the law in taking down any cars belonging to that business’ patrons IF they happen to venture into parking on their own property.

That seems to be the case in north suburban Wilmette (a place I must confess I haven’t set foot in for more than two decades).

THE WILMETTE LIFE newspaper reported how there have been several incidents in recent weeks of people who wanted ice cream from a Dairy Queen franchise and parked their cars in a nearby lot.

But the lot was part of the property of a neighboring strip mall, and the property owners have hired a company to keep a vigil on who parks in the lot and where they go.

The newspaper reported that the company admits it can have someone’s car booted within five seconds of noticing that the owner is engaging in business anywhere except the strip mall proper.

There even have been instances where someone who had business within the strip mall then decided to walk over next door to the Dairy Queen to get some ice cream before leaving the area.

THAT WAS ENOUGH to get them a boot that the company will only remove if paid $130 in cash (or $140, if charged on a credit card).

I’d like to think this is some sort of isolated incident – perhaps an example of a North Shore quirk that real people living in the rest of metro Chicago could never engage in.

Sadly enough, it isn’t.

I happen to know of a Mexican restaurant in suburban Lansing whose property is directly adjacent to a strip mall with a large parking lot – compared to the four parking spaces that are within the restaurant’s plot of land.

BUT I ALSO know of a convenience store owner within the strip mall who watches the parking – convinced it is meant exclusively for the people who venture into his store to pick up a pack of cigarettes or whatever other puny purchase they need to make at that moment.

I remember once venturing into that restaurant; only to be warned by the cashier that I had to move my car in order to eat there – or else the neighbor would have my car towed.

It would seem that this Wilmette Dairy Queen franchise is in a similar predicament. For the Wilmette Life reported that the ice cream shop has taken to posting signs warning their customers that their cars will be booted if they venture too far away from the place where they purchase their soft-serve cones.

All of which has me hoping I don’t have to venture into Wilmette for newsgathering purposes anytime soon. Because if my car got booted and I had to explain to an editor why there’d be a delay in copy, I’m pretty sure that a promise of a Blizzard would not be enough to calm him down.


1 comment:

Mimi said...

Parking in Chicago is also a tremendous challenge. Long streets void of automobiles prohibit parking unless your car has a sticker for the Zone. The small (1/2 block) streets leading to the alleys are ruled by parking meters as are the main streets. I do not understand zoned parking. If residents feel other taxpayers are taking "their" spots why not have two hour limits on residential street parking unless one has the Zone sticker. My pet peeve!