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Denver Boot - It Works

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Denver Boot - It Works

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 20, 2008

No Parking Boot Sign

Having lived in Denver three times for a total of 18 years, I'm acquainted with the Denver Boot. Not personally, I hasten to add. But I knew they were used, and used effectively, with street parking violations, usually in no-parking zones on streets during rush-hour periods and for parking meter violations after a driver had accumulated 3-5 unpaid tickets.

What is the "boot"? It's a metal clamp that is placed around a front wheel and locked, immobilizing the vehicle. When the boot is in place, the car cannot be driven.

This morning's Northwest Herald carried a leading article on Page 1C about use of the Denver boot in a privately-owned Crystal Lake parking lot next to Buena Vista Taqueria in the 400 block of (West) Virginia Street, right on the main drag of U.S. 14 between McHenry and Dole Avenues. Because I am curious and nosy (and from Denver), I drove by while running an errand today in Crystal Lake.

I initially had assumed that the large photo in the Northwest Herald was of Mr. Figueroa standing behind two of his own two signs (one in English; the other in Spanish). You can easily estimate the size of these signs by Mr. Figueroa's height and size. They definitely are not small; nor are they inadequate.

What is not shown in the photograph or mentioned in the story is another sign of the same size, mounted on a post in the center of the driveway about three feet from the sidewalk. So there are three signs there. And one of the three is printed in Spanish, giving fair warning to any non-English-speaking customers of the Taqueria. So, where's the beef?

Mr. Allen Meyer, a Taqueria customer from Fox River Grove, drove right past the center sign to park in the hotel's parking lot and walked right past the other two signs to enter the Taqueria. He trespassed on the hotel's parking lot, and he got nailed. Granted, a $115 cost added to a $1.79 taco sort of spoils lunch, but he could have parked on the street and walked a few feet to the entrance of the Tacqueria.

According to the article, the hotel offered to rent parking to the Taqueria for $200/month. That's less than $7.00/day. Okay, you've got to sell a few extra tacos to recover the parking lot cost. Would it be worth it? Will Mr. Meyer and his buddy return to the Taqueria? You'll have to ask them. Maybe they will read this and let us know. Will they forget the extra $230 cost to last week's lunch? I doubt that!

The signs give fair warning to anyone entering the lot. If you pull into a parking lot and see signs with WARNING and YOUR VEHICLE WILL BE BOOTED IMMEDIATELY, wouldn't you read the rest of the sign?

If I were Mr. Figueroa, I'd be renting that lot. He might be able to negotiate it down to $150, or $5.00/day. Even at $7.00, in view of the bad publicity he has gotten over this, it would be worth it.

It's the hotel's property. It is signed adequately. It's called Respect for the property of another!

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