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Overnight Parking Ban = 200 tickets/mo.

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Overnight Parking Ban = 200 tickets/mo.

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 28, 2007

This week’s Woodstock Independent carried an article about the July Coffee with the Chief and the remarks by one Woodstock PD officer who wrote 24 tickets in one night for prohibited overnight parking on a Woodstock street. This officer writes about 200 tickets/month and these are at just one (1) apartment community, the Mapletree Apartments on Sheila Street.

For those of you not familiar with Mapletree Apartments, this is subsidized housing located east of Route 47 and just south and east of Kentucky Fried Chicken, up near the courthouse.

I don’t doubt for a minute that the tickets written by the officer were valid; i.e., a vehicle was parked on the street for more than 30 minutes between 2:00-6:00AM.

The issue is now why were there 24 vehicles so parked, and why would there be 200 vehicles so parked in one month.

On July 25 I emailed the City Manager, Mayor, all City Councilpersons and the police chief to ask this question. In three business days, not a peep out of any one of them. Not one reply!

I assert that the City is failing to serve a significant part of its population – the low income, underprivileged, less-educated and definitely politically powerless residents of Mapletree.

I even telephoned (July 24, I think) and left a message for the manager at Mapletree, suggesting that I might have a solution to the parking problem. Did s/he call me back? I’m still waiting.

So, what is the real problem?

Do residents just thumb their noses at the City ordinance and dare the officer to issue a ticket? Not hardly.

Does the Mapletree apartment community provide adequate off-street parking for its residents? How does Mapletree allocate parking spaces? How many spaces does each apartment get?

Mapletree requires a parking permit on any car parked in its parking lots. What happens if you don’t have a permit? Your car gets towed.

Is the towing by a local towing service? No way! Mapletree contracts with an out-of-area towing service. Does that towing service charge fairly for towing a car? The jury is out on this one; I’m going to talk to residents and find out how much towing costs.

Do residents have to “qualify” for a parking permit? Is the apartment complex office open at hours to accommodate working people?

There are no signs installed to warn drivers about the overnight parking ban. Adequate signs should be installed by the City, even if only on a temporary basis. Perhaps some of the signs should be in Spanish.

The apartment complex and the City of Woodstock should hold meetings to educate Mapletree residents about the City parking ban. The meetings should be held at hours convenient for residents. And the City should force Mapletree Apartments to provide adequate off-street parking for its residents.

Mapletree should get rid of its contract for the towing company to prowl its parking lots in the wee hours of the morning and tow cars that don’t have permits. The City Police could issue tickets at the request of the apartment manager and handle parking violations in this manner.

If you think the City should be pro-active in assisting Mapletree residents with the parking problems, email me at Gus@WoodstockAdvocate.com and contact the City. Let the Mayor and your City Council representative know how you feel. Do it now…

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