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The Driving Life


If deep-dish pizza is Chicago's greatest claim to fame, then parking tickets are a close second. Chicago uses the Denver boot, and you're subject to getting booted if you have more than five outstanding parking tickets.

Below is a sample of City of Chicago parking violation fines, as of November 1999. The 2000 budget, approved by the Chicago city council on November 17, calls for increases in property taxes over the next four years, increases in parking ticket fines and city sticker fees, and a new 0.5% litter tax on carryout food, among other increases. The new parking ticket fines are also indicated below.

$20.00 fines

  • parking within 20' of a crosswalk
  • meter violation, non-central business district (expired time or meter feeding). Increasing to $30.00 in 2000.

$25.00 fines

  • parallel parking more than 15' from the curb
  • parking within 30' of a stop sign or traffic signal
  • parking in fire lane
  • parking on snow route when there is more than 2" of snow present
  • not using seat belts
  • car burglar alarm sounding for more than four minutes
  • a host of vehicle condition violations such as displaying a "For Sale" sign, broken or inoperable lamp, cracked or broken window, tinted windows, parking to grease or repair, parking to sell merchandise, no headlights, no muffler, no horn, no self-operating windshield wipers, no brakes on a moving vehicle (!), exhaust system emitting excessive smoke

$30.00 fines

  • meter violation central business district (expired time or meter feeding). Increasing to $50.00 in 2000.
  • no standing or parking anytime, where sign is posted. Increasing to $50.00 in 2000.
  • double parking or standing

$50.00 fines

  • abandoned vehicle on the public way
  • hazardous dilapidated vehicle in public view
  • parking in the curb loading zone
  • blocking access to or efficient use of alley, fire lane, or driveway
  • street cleaning

$60.00 fines

  • not properly displaying Chicago city sticker (note: expect this to increase to $75.00 when the price of the sticker increases to $75.00)
  • parking 15"from a fire hydrant. Increasing to $100.00 in 2000.

Fines over $60.00

  • Violation of Wrigley Field bus parking regulations ($100.00)
  • Parking in a disabled space on the street or in public or private lot ($150.00)

Source, City of Chicago Department of Revenue. Some descriptions were shortened or altered for this site.The full listing, including violation numbers (the violation number is what the officer writes on the ticket), is available on the Department of Revenue's Web site.

Parking Nazis Must Die. This page was the Cruel Site of the Day for October 1, 1999. It's a sarcastic guide to handling parking tickets in Chicago.

If you have a parking-related link to share, please send it to

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