Parking Meter Revolt: Chicagoans Are Vandalizing Parking Meters In Protest!

The Chicago parking meter saga continues today with a post from, a blog about Chicago parking tickets and how to fight them. The post has photos of parking meters being spray painted, destroyed and otherwise defaced. Guess people aren’t too thrilled with paying 28 quarters for 2 hours in the Loop…

An entire block of parking meters, numbering nearly 20, were spotted along west Irving Park in the Albany Park neighborhood, that had both the front and back of their heads spray painted black. Once spray painted, these meters are unreadable by Parking Enforcement Aides and therefore, vehicles can’t be ticketed as it’s impossible to see if the meters were fed or not.

Some angry citizens are going for the simple approach and simply peeling the stickers off the meters so that they don’t have the instructions required by law.

One tipster named Brian says, “In some cases, these decals just peel right off the front of the meter with little or no effort. When these stickers were originally applied, the weather was very cold and it seems the adhesive didn’t adhere correctly. These stickers just come right off. They also appear to be too big to fit into the recessed area they are being placed in. Yet another case of someone in charge not knowing what they are doing.”

Other tactics that have been documented include, gluing quarters into the slots with superglue, ripping the meters out of the ground, stealing the coin box, and filling the meter with pennies so it breaks.

Apparently, the pennies don’t register as money, but they do break the meter.

“We are finding a lot of pennies and nickels in coin slots,” confirmed one LAZ Parking employee we confronted on the street. He wouldn’t give us his name, his job it is to repair parking meters. “We see a lot of that going on.”

And then, there’s this:

Has The Parking Meter Revolt Begun? [The Expired Meter] (Thanks, Lindsay!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. lpranal says:

    Other tactics that have been documented include, gluing quarters into the slots with superglue, ripping the meters out of the ground, stealing the coin box, and filling the meter with pennies so it breaks

    If I were the company using these (or even the cops) I would NOT want to mess with someone capable of ripping them out of the ground.

    Filling these with pennies = epic win

  2. KStrike155 says:

    Fight the man Chicagoans!!! The stickers and paint really are great ideas. Awesome.

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      Yeah, crime is awesome!

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @I_am_Awesome: What crime? These things are private garbage left on public streets. It’s littering and people have the right to screw with garbage.

      • RenRen says:

        @I_am_Awesome: Crime is awesome indeed, but only when the law is an ass.

      • Fresh-Fest-1986 says:

        @I_am_Awesome: Does that make you crime then?

      • oneswellfoop says:

        Crime is awesome, and you’re a blind retard.
        I try not to do illegal things, you know, steal from people, kill people, that sort of thing. So far I’ve managed to neither kill anyone or steal from anyone. I feel pretty good about that because I think it’s WRONG.

        I also think using backroom deals and kickbacks in order to allow a private company to perform highway robbery on anyone that wants to use a public space or roadway is WRONG.

        If you’re the sort of jackass that believes that something is wrong just because someone in charge deemed it illegal, perhaps you ought to hone your wit before you come back.

        ..I did it, I took the troll bait….
        but I feel better

        • I_am_Awesome says:

          I’m a troll because I don’t think vandalism is an appropriate reaction to perceived wrongdoing? I think it’s unfortunate that you feel that way.

          • redkamel says:

            @I_am_Awesome: vandalism is a great way reaction to perceived wrongdoing. I dont think city council would have done much about a petetion. Maybe when they have to buy 100 new meters every month they might see its cheaper to lower the rates.

            Also, it doesnt take a braniac to figure out 7 dollars for 2 hrs parking might piss off the public, especially during a recession.

  3. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    sorry about ripping that meter out of the ground…I need to lay off the gym.

  4. William Gu says:

    Is it just me or does that last image say 25 cents for 15 minutes, $1 for an hour? I was in Chicago over spring break and parked in Roscoe and the meter rate was the same.

    • dmolavi says:

      @William Gu: Yeah, that’s what I’m seeing too. A dollar an hour is a good rate…

      • William Gu says:

        @dmolavi: I just clicked the link provided and apparently a bunch of meters that are in areas I know are $1 a hour are being vandalized too. =/

    • TheRedSeven says:

      @William Gu: Yes, that’s correct. In areas that used to be $.25 for an hour, the rate is now $1.00 for an hour. In areas that used to be $1.00 / hour, the rate is now $3.50 / hour. So, for that meter, it used to cost a quarter to park for an hour; now it costs a dollar.

      I haven’t defaced any meters yet, but I sure haven’t paid them either…

      • William Gu says:

        @TheRedSeven: Oh, OK. I didn’t know that. I’ve never been in the area until last week so I paid the $1 and thought it was reasonable. I guess Chicago residents think otherwise.

        • ARP says:

          @William Gu: It depends on where you are. These rates are for the neighborhods, not for the downtown/near-downtown areas. So to park on a regular residential street shouldn’t be that much.

    • Coopon says:

      @William Gu:

      It says that. What I’ve read is the prices change per where you park in the city from $1 to $3.50 per hour. And they will be increasing the fees each year through 2013 at which time the highest rate area will be $6.50 per hour.

      That same blog has a rundown of changes here. []

      • bunt says:

        @Coopon: i honestly believe that the problem isnt the price increase so much, but the fact some meters are not 24/7 and most (if not the rest of them) have extended hours from 8am to 9pm, with no weekends and holidays exempt. even in the residential areas. now THAT is really pissing off the residents (of which I am one of).

        • welsey says:

          @bunt: Yeah I’m pretty pissed about the 24/7 meters too. I got pretty comfortable with free parking after 9, and I can’t imagine how pissed I’d be if I were a resident in one of the neighborhoods near where this kind of meter change has taken place. Street parking is hard enough!

  5. rubyfrog says:

    begun, this meter revolt has…

  6. DearEditor says:

    In my city it’s a violation to park at a defective meter. A stickerless, painted, or jammed meter would be considered “defective”. Best to reduce the demand and abandon the Loop; the merchants will swing the Panic Hammer.

    • shepd says:


      That still works. If all the meters are defective, then nobody can park there. If nobody can park there, the company receives no money and merchants will close up shop, meaning the city loses tax dollars. That means property tax increases.

      Losses for everyone all ’round and you have citizens that vote in a new mayor with the balls to make downtown parking free. (You don’t need to charge a fee to make people open up spaces, you just need to ticket offenders properly).

      • Ubik2501 says:

        @shepd: Hahahah, “vote in a new mayor.” Like Daley would allow that.

      • ludwigk says:

        @shepd: Do you know how much free downtown parking would cost? That is simply not the answer. Parking spaces, on average, cost more than the cars parked in them, and the hidden ‘subsidy’ of free parking is greater in value than the total operational cost of a car making a typical round-trip commute (calculating from a 2002 US average commute distance of 26 miles).

        The solution is to reduce demand which is usually done by raising prices, and providing alternative transportation means. It sounds like right now, the whole situation is just broken, since you need to carry a roll of quarters just to park.

        • shepd says:


          Do you know how much free downtown parking would cost?

          Clearly too much for a large city, but not too much for a small to medium sized city (my city being the 10th largest in my country has paid parking lots [generally used for long stays], but street parking is free [and is regulated between 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on where you park]). Somehow, taxes in these non-giant cities manage to cover the cost of parking spaces without any complaints.

          I guess I just don’t get giant city economics. For some reason the cost of maintaining something that is traditionally considered a fixed cost (asphalt maintenance and chalking tires once an hour is generally a fixed cost, although I suppose if labour costs more in one area than another it will go up with the cost of labour) magically goes up when your city gets to a certain size.

        • LavenderSoap says:

          @ludwigk: “Parking spaces, on average, cost more than the cars parked in them”

          I know this is true of structured parking, and even more true if it’s underground, but is this really true of on-street parking? I’m calculating that an on-street space would probably run you $2-4K to build, as opposed to $15-30K or more for structures spaces.

          Yes, free parking is terribly expensive in a number of other ways, but from a policy standpoint, arguing that one should pay for parking because it costs money to build the space isn’t very effective– otherwise, why not charge until you’ve recouped the price of construction, and have it be free from there on out?

          • ludwigk says:

            @LavenderSoap: The average parking space is something like $5600, which is about a thousand over the average car value. Your prices are AFAICT pretty accurate, but the punch line is that the average car on the road’s value is surprisingly low.

            Parking costs to build, but it also costs in terms of destroying land value, increasing urban sprawl, opportunity cost of land used, continual maintenance, and increased reliance on automobiles over other means of transportation which leads increased traffic and exhaust. The true cost of parking is staggeringly high, and the expectation that it should be free at any point is problematic at best, as there will always be a cost associated with providing and maintaining parking spaces. There is no such thing as free parking.

            At its heart, parking is an economic problem, as it is a scarce resource subject to the market forces of supply and demand. But what happens when we take a scarce resource, then mandate that the price of it should be free? Everything breaks on a fundamental level, and the market will never behave efficiently. This is in fact the situation we have in many cities where arbitrary zoning policies require off-street parking be provided free of charge.

            Now, in this case, they’re just charging more for it to line the pockets of the parking meter company. To me that’s a partial win because it reduces parking demand, making transportation more efficient, but a loss because that money does not go back into accounting for the cost to the city of offering parking. It’s just going to some private meter company that we can all agree to hate on.

            But to be slightly on topic, the person I had originally suggested that the mayor make more free parking, which doesn’t really solve everything. However bad parking is now, it would only be worse with free parking.

        • Gann says:


          Do you know how much free downtown parking would cost?

          In this case, nothing. The parking spots are already there.

      • Oddfool says:

        @shepd: I don’t know what the monetary deal between the city and the parking company, as in who gets the fees, and who pays for any damages. Kinda makes me wonder what happens to the idiotic 75-year lease program if the company bankrupts. Do the meters go back to being city property?

        Anyhow, parking meters are supposed to be short term parking only. Prices for parking there should be high enough to be an incentive for parking in nearby lots and garages. Otherwise, with low fees or free parking, those spaces would be taken all day, usually by store employees, forcing customers to either circle around for few (if any) spaces left, or simply go elsewhere.

        Fees at the parking meters are able to help pay for someone to monitor the spaces.

    • lpranal says:

      @DearEditor: Given the apparent explosion of vigilantism against these meters, saying that it was rendered defective while you were parked there is probably a valid defense.

    • Roclawzi says:

      @lpranal: They may be super strong, but apparently the city has a crew that fixes 200 meters in an 8 hour shift, so one every 2.4 minutes, assuming no breaks…Hulk Parkers vs. Flash Fixers…an epic battle.

  7. FightOnTrojans says:

    What, “SPAZ Parking” was already taken as a company name so they had to settle for “LAZ Parking”?

    • jpmoney says:

      @FightOnTrojans: The first thing I thought of when I saw the LAZ is how Lazy the parking enforcers were when I was in college. They rode around on mo-peds ticketing like the jerks they were.

      The lazy comes from me seeing them, on multiple occasions, ride their mo-peds between parked vehicles to get a better look at the license plate of the offender. It was like they were glues to those stupid things.

      • James Borders says:

        @jpmoney: They were probably afraid to get off the mo-ped, thinking someone would steal it from them. Besides, if you had a shit job like that, you’d probably find any excuse to create a challenge for yourself.

  8. cynical_bastard says:

    This makes me happy.

  9. ViperBorg says:

    And this is a surprise? Hello, Chicago! Here’s your wake up call. People are not going to be standing for this bullshit!

    Take the clue, Daley.

    • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

      @ViperBorg – SpaceBat hates Facebook: I wonder if Chicago or the private company is liable for the meter damage? The way these scummy “privatization” contracts are usually written, the losses are usually dumped on the public while the profits are privatized.

      • ViperBorg says:

        @PGibbons: Knowing Captain Short-Sighted (Daley); I bet you that’s exactly how it is. Don’t want anything getting in the way of profits.

      • Anonymous says:

        @PGibbons: Actually the private company is liable. I can’t find the story online right now, as I heard it on Chicago Public Radio. Apparently, since the company can’t keep up with the damage, the city is sending people out to fix the meters and then billing the company (Parking Meters, LLC?) for the repairs.

  10. cpt.snerd says:

    28 quarters for 2 hours is REALLY just a bit ridiculous… As in “don’t-know-how-to-reply” ridiculous…
    While it may be illegal and crazy to be defacing the meters, I can’t say I’m too opposed.

    • econobiker says:

      @cpt.snerd: Exactly- just the logistics of collecting th quarters alone are amazing. Why not go to the print a receipt put it on your dash board type deal?

      • Dave J. says:

        @econobiker: Because this was cheapest for the city. They just transfer enforcement of existing meters from the city to the company. To upgrade the meters, they’d either have to come up with $$$, or been willing to accept a lot less $$$ from the company. This was about revenue, pure and simple, something like $1 billion over 20 years. They traded future revenue for short term budget relief. Surprisingly, the plan doesn’t appear to be working very well.

      • Anonymous says:

        @econobiker: Actually, the logistics aren’t working. More often than not, the meters will be out of order, being filled to capacity. Seems nobody took into account the increased frequency at which these meters now need to be emptied.

  11. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    Wow, props to the commenter in early this week who posted in the “Boycott” thread and said ( I’m paraphrasing) “how long until boycott turns to vandalism”.
    Nice call.

  12. wgrune says:

    So instead of being an adult and protesting your dislike of the rates by not parking at the expensive meters you destroy what is now private property.

    I agree that $3.50 per hour is kind of steep but there are better ways to get your point across than acting like a teenager.

    • Trae says:

      @wgrune: Yeah… but those ways aren’t as fun.

    • cynical_bastard says:

      @wgrune: What if this is the work of teenagers?

    • MaxSmart32 says:

      @wgrune: Sure, just like the King of England listened to reason in 1775…and just like George Wallace listened to reason in 1963…if people hadn’t taken up the fight, no one would have listened.

      • floraposte says:

        @MaxSmart32: The National Guard didn’t exactly write “Fuck you” on the doorway of the University of Alabama.

        • Velifer says:

          @floraposte: Yes. Though rather more metaphorically.

          • floraposte says:

            @Velifer: No, not even metaphorically. What they metaphorically said was “People get to attend this university no matter what color they are.” And I really don’t see that as comparable to “I get to park my car for fewer quarters than you’re currently charging.”

            Writing “Fuck you” has not, historically, proven to be an agent of social change. It’s a self-indulgence. I’m not opposed to community action, but that’s not it.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @MaxSmart32: Yes! Sensationalist stances! I can clearly see the correlation between high street parking and the American effing Revolution.

        • Red_Flag says:

          @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: No taxation without representation! Oh, wait. Because it’s a private corporation that was merely sold a monopoly on a government resource, it can’t be “taxation” can it? Yep, no correlation to refusing to pay taxes without a direct voice in their legislation. None whatsoever.

          • Gokuhouse says:

            @Red_Flag: You are very correct here. This was a tax when the city owned the meters and it’s still the same “tax” when a private company owns them!

          • Tmoney02 says:

            @Red_Flag: No taxation without representation! Oh, wait. Because it’s a private corporation that was merely sold a monopoly on a government resource, it can’t be “taxation” can it? Yep, no correlation to refusing to pay taxes without a direct voice in their legislation. None whatsoever.

            If your going to get worked about taxation without representation, How about first getting worked up about the situation of DC residents. Not only do they get taxed without any representation, they get no representation in congress at all. Seems like a more worthwhile pursuit than fighting over parking meters.

      • redskull says:

        @MaxSmart32: Exactly! Because, you know, protesting and petitioning have always worked so well in the past.

        I’m glad to see people are finally getting fed up enough to pry themselves up from their Cheeto-covered couches and miss a few minutes of Dancing With The Stars long enough to actually take some action, even if it is only about parking meters.

        Next stop, Washington D.C.!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @wgrune: I get that it’s a huge source of frustration for a lot of people, but I haven’t seen a lot of evidence to suggest that talking to local authorities hasn’t worked. I mean, things take time. You can’t walk in, expect not to stand in line, and get your ticket repealed in 10 seconds. And the fact is, as exorbitant as these fees are, they are the fees.

      • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: @tjrchicago: Do you know if the risks for damage and other liabilities were dumped by Daley and his (private benefactor) onto the public dole as they usually do? I’m sure the profits will all go to the private company except for a token amount to the public.

      • dwasifar says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: “but I haven’t seen a lot of evidence to suggest that talking to local authorities hasn’t worked.”

        Clearly you’ve never lived in Chicago. :) It would never occur to a Chicagoan to protest to local authorities over something like this, because you’d never get what you asked for; instead, you’d get the cops hovering near your car waiting for the meter to tick over so they can put a ticket on it 30 seconds later.

        • floraposte says:

          @dwasifar: Depends what you mean by “authorities.” If you’ve got pull with your local alderman, that’s the place to go. But I doubt there’s going to be a lowering of the rate now, just a changing of the technology so that the quarters issue isn’t so pressing.

    • Mario Romero says:

      I guess there were better ways to get a point across than throwing tea into a river? While this may not be as important or as historic, it’s still the same idea. These aren’t violent acts, they’re acts of rebellion and sometimes rebellion is needed.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Mario Romero: But it destroys government property that taxpayers have paid for, so everyone loses out.

        • INTPLibrarian says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: They’re not government property. They were sold to a private cooperation.

          • Sidecutter says:

            @INTPLibrarian: Yes, they were sold to a private corporation for next to nothing in exchange for a cut of the income. After being originally paid for out of the taxes paid by the people who use them – public property originally.

            Now the people who paid for them in the first place have to pay a massive increase in fees to use them in order to pay not just the government behind them, but a private company’s cut too?

            I’d be pretty pissed myself.

        • tjrchicago says:

          @pecan 3.14159265:
          Actually, this is all now private property. Daley sold the rights to the meters to a private contractor for the next 75 years. They are owned (installed and maintaineed) by a third party – NOT the City of Chicago.

        • Anonymous says:

          @pecan 3.14159265:

          dude, stop being logical! you are killing the rebellion!

          srsly, people are simply not smart enough to stop and actually think about what they are doing. In the end, this vandalism will not work. They will simply increase taxes on EVERYONE to pay for super-new meters that are vandal-proof.

      • HiPwr says:

        @Mario Romero: By your reasoning, I should be able to throw a brick through a window at the DMV because I’m upset about car tag fees.

        • barty says:

          @HiPwr: Maybe we need to start to. Nothing else has seemed to work lately.

        • Coyote says:

          @HiPwr: If you were to do it you would be arrested, if 1000 people did it things would be changed (i.e. security cameras and plexy glass but that’s not my point). Fast changes take drastic action, and that is what’s needed here.

          There are really only 2 ways for this to work out,
          Either no one takes any action other than lodging complaints through the proper channels, at which point it’ll sit in some bureaucrats inbox for a year or 2. Meanwhile the businesses will lose customers, possibly shut down, losing the city taxes, which they will recoup by raising them even more elsewhere.
          The other is for actions like these to get the public/media attention, and by the looks of it Chicago is now a laughing stock all around the world. So I’d say this will be cleared up by summer.

        • DjDynasty says:

          @HiPwr: If you live in Illinois, You can, rates just went up 25 effective July 1st.

        • redkamel says:

          @HiPwr: if car tag fees were extremely exorbitant and most everyone in the state thought they were grossly unfair, then yeah, you probably could.

      • Lokys says:

        It’s not taxation because it’s entirely voluntary. Nobody *needs* to park at those meters. It’s a convenience, and conveniences are paid for. If people aren’t willing to pay the current price for their conveniences, they should just live without them instead of destroying them. This shouldn’t be compared to colonists rebelling against unfair taxation in the Boston Tea Party; it should be compared to somebody getting upset over 7-11 overcharging for TV dinners, and rebelling by leaving the freezer door open to spoil everything inside. It’s petty, it’s pointless, and it’s not an effective form of protest.

        • Red_Flag says:

          @Lokys: And the colonists *needed* to drink tea?


          • HIV 2 Elway says:

            @Red_Flag: If colonists wanted to drink tea, it came through the British. There was no other option. Commuters do have other parking options.

          • Lokys says:

            @Red_Flag: Of course not. The tea, however, was representative of Great Britain’s right to apply *any* tax to the colonies.

            I can quote Wikipedia too:

            “The protest movement that culminated with the Boston Tea Party was not a dispute about high taxes. The price of legally imported tea was actually reduced by the Tea Act of 1773. Protestors were instead concerned with a variety of other issues. The familiar “no taxation without representation” argument, along with the question of the extent of Parliament’s authority in the colonies, remained prominent.”

            • Red_Flag says:

              Colonists didn’t *need* tea. Commuters (and let’s not forget this is not just commuters but moreso the people shopping and paying sales tax at the many commercial establishments in this city) don’t *need* street parking. I’m merely establishing that they are more comparable than not.

              Also, considering you opined, “This shouldn’t be compared to colonists rebelling against unfair taxation in the Boston Tea Party”, you might not want to directly contradict yourself with quotes like, “The protest movement that culminated with the Boston Tea Party was not a dispute about high taxes.”

              Just sayin’.

              • Lokys says:

                There’s no contradiction there, if you actually read what I wrote. The quote from Wikipedia stated that “The protest movement that culminated with the Boston Tea Party was not a dispute about high taxes. The price of legal tea was actually reduced by the Tea Act of 1773.”

                It was, however, a rebellion against *unfair* taxes: the colonists believed that Great Britain had no right to levy taxes on them for *any* reason, because the colonists had no valid representation in the British Parliament.

                It’s not that the taxes were high; it’s that the taxes shouldn’t have existed in the first place. It’s not that colonists needed (or didn’t need) to drink tea; it’s that the taxation on tea was symbolic of Great Britain’s right to tax the colonies at all.

                The parking situation is not remotely analogous to the American Revolution, and trying to repeatedly draw tenuous links between the two unreasonably glorifies the former at the expense of demeaning the latter.

                • Red_Flag says:

                  @Lokys: I humbly stand corrected, then.

                  I will venture that I believe the parking meter changes are ultimately a form of unfair taxation as they are a natural monopoly that the taxpayers corporately paid to have installed, maintained, and enforced, and they have been sold to a private corporation over our objections, a private corporation which is, by definition, not answerable or accountable to the citizens.

                  But beyond both issues being ones of tax-related civil disobedience and destruction of property, you are right they are not as similar as I believed.

                • Jeremy82465 says:


                  I suppose a small correlation could be present in that they feel they should not be feed for the roads they already paid for through their taxes. Granted they didnt have a problem with it when they were lower, but now they feel cheated. (I hate toll roads but I just choose not to use them)

                  And to all those who keep saying “we support vandalism now?” no, no I dont in theory. A random person vandalising for destructions sake is different than the people of chicago rising up against something they think is unfair. As much as I hate to draw a comparison to France after it is still seen in such a negative light here in the states but their they fear the peoples protest because they know they will do things like this, and it gets results. If their government doesnt listen to them they “protest” until their elected leaders listen to them, perhaps they are just taking a message out of Frances book, and I know that they are privatized now, but the roads and presumably the meters were build by taxpayer money.

                  Viva la Chicago!

        • oneswellfoop says:

          @Lokys: Let me guess…you make well over 100K a year? It’s pretty easy to be snotty about things that cost a lot of money when you make a lot of it.

          • Lokys says:

            @oneswellfoop: Hey, my first ad hominem attack on The Consumerist!

            Actually, I’m a grad student scraping by on whatever I make from TA work and editing in a given month (which usually ends up being just enough to cover rent, groceries, and laundry if I’m lucky). I don’t go out much, my main indulgence is a new book every couple of months, and I don’t even have cable TV.

            I also don’t pay more than I can comfortably afford for parking. In my current town of residence, there are very few meters in the downtown area, and the private lots are expensive. So, rather than go around smashing in the glass of the parking attendant booths in some juvenile fit of pointless misdirected protest, I plan ahead and only go downtown on weekends, when I can get 2 hours of free parking in one underground garage by just validating my ticket at the awesome fresh produce market. And y’know what? If that free parking ever got cancelled for some reason, I would just take the bus.

            Even if I *did* make 100K per year, I wouldn’t park at a meter that cost 28 quarters for two hours. But nor would I scream and wail and smash things like a 2 year old to get out of paying. I would just find an alternative place to park.

        • redkamel says:

          @Lokys: the people that conduct business and shop downtown need to park at those meters. I doubt there are alternatives to the meter.

          This isnt a boycott of a store, its an entire area that is popular.

    • lannister80 says:

      @wgrune: I think this gets the point across pretty damn well…

    • Randy Treibel says:

      @wgrune: As i said before in another reply sabotage is a for of submersion or rebellion. There is nothing being ‘adult’ about not being rebellion. If anything you should submit ‘coward’ for ‘adult’.

      • ludwigk says:

        @Randy Treibel: Did you mean “sabotage is a form of subversion”?

        Did you mean “there is nothing ‘adult’ about not rebelling”?

        Did you mean “substitute ‘coward’ for ‘adult’?

        If so, then I disagree. Disruption and anarchy are not the only way to get things done. If you were even vaguely familiar with modern theories of justice, you would understand why vandalism is not an acceptable means of protest. Also, your posts are unreadable.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          @ludwigk: But they’re often the best way. I wouldn’t go so far as to consider this anarchy, but good ol’ civil disobedience does have a long and storied history in this country. Technically the participants in lunch counter sit-ins were breaking the law as well. An unjust law, but a law nonetheless.

      • stre says:

        @Randy Treibel: what? get off facebook and pay attention in your english class, randy.

    • bunt says:

      @wgrune: riiight… have you ever been to chicago?

    • wgrune says:


      Wow, I had no idea that there were this many people on this site who think that because they don’t agree with something or the price of something that it is a legitimate reason to vandalize it.

      Oh, and don’t compare this to the Bostom Tea Party. They two are in no way similar.

  13. HIV 2 Elway says:

    So we’re applauding vandalism now?

  14. Paul Pulkownik says:

    i’m going to start keeping rolls of pennies in my car now.

    • Coyote says:

      @Paul Pulkownik: That is by far the best solution. Technically it is in no way vandalism, pennies are legal tender and must be accepted as such. All they can do is install new machines that have a coin return. But I’ve never seen a meter with a return slot.

    • logicalnoise says:

      @Paul Pulkownik: the question is how many rolls doe it take? one roll of pennies is 50 cents so if it takes 7 rolls of bennies that 3.50 right there.

  15. Urgleglurk says:

    The Boston Tea Party was undoubtedly called vandalism by the owners of the tea.

    • cynical_bastard says:

      @Urgleglurk: Terrorism!

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @Urgleglurk: And it was.

      I don’t condone vandalism. It *appears* to be a good way to effect change, but it’s less so than peaceable methods (and illegal).

      When we’re not happy with customer service, the best way to be heard is an EECB, right? At least, that’s what I learned here… be reasonable and polite, and perhaps the company will listen. You don’t vandalize the company headquarters because your bill is wrong.

      I agree that 28 quarters is too much, but isn’t there a better way to protest the policy? With your vote, with your respectful letters, with your protests?

      Vandalism costs YOU money, because the government pays for the repair out of YOUR pocket. It costs ME money for the same reason.

    • albear says:


      GuinevereRucker, the whole business was leased out to LAZ, from collecting fees to keeping them up so government does not pay to fix them.

    • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

      @Urgleglurk: @exploded: Daley II has been king of Chicago for many, many years since a healthy Mayor Harold Washington mysteriously dropped dead at a politically convenient time for Daley.

  16. HiPwr says:

    I hope they catch one of these vandals and throw the book at him. Destruction of private property isn’t a reasonable response to anything. Daley sold the profits from these meters to a company (probably a politically-connected company if it follows the normal Chicago pattern) that now has a monopoly on parking on the street. Gee, I wonder why no one saw price increase coming? If Chicagoans are upset about this, they should not park at the meters and (better yet) not vote for this asshole Daley the next time around.

    • Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

      Daley may soon be exposed as dirty just like a lot of Illinois politicians*. It will work itself out.

      * – Obama is not dirty.

    • ARP says:

      @HiPwr: I think the sales tax increase (10+%) and all the increases in fees may actually put Emperor Daley as risk.

    • TEW says:

      Our governor sold some of our roads to a private company that gave him illegal campaign contributions and I refuse to drive on those toll roads. I also tell everyone who complains about the toll fee that our wonderful governor sold them and we won’t see them as a non toll for 100 more years. That is the way I boycott since I would never destroy property.

    • elaineous says:

      @HiPwr: Obviously this guy is not from Chicago.

      Yeah, right… vote Daley out of office… ha ha ha

    • Tysto says:

      @HiPwr: Politics isn’t all town hall meetings and referendums. Sometimes politics is played for keeps.

      Destruction of property is hardball, but it’s a legitimate means of public protest of government failure and sometimes the only way to get the attention of bureaucrats. The Founding Fathers dumped privately-owned tea into Boston Harbor as a means of showing they meant business and that the next step would be rioting.

  17. exploded says:

    If there is a serious mayoral contender in Chicago, that person should POUND the parking meter situation for the next election.

    I doubt that will help though. Daley could declare himself King of Chicago, secede from the nation, and attack Milwaukee, and no one would be surprised.

    • HarcourtArmstrong says:

      @exploded: Chicago has already sued Milwaukee over it’s alleged pollution of Lake Michigan.

      • exploded says:


        I’m talking about a full on assault by land, sea, and air. The Glorious Chicago People’s Army (formerly known as the Chicago Police) would be a force to be reckoned with.

        • 716 says:

          @YourTechSupport: So did anyone ever figure out what that website was about? I don’t really have the patience for ARGs.

          @exploded: “The Glorious Chicago People’s Army (formerly known as the Chicago Police) would be a force to be reckoned with.”

          Against the ravenous pack animals that are the Milwaukee Police? Frank Jude would like a word with you.

          • smackswell says:

            @716: Watch the video. It’s friggin hilarious.

            • 716 says:

              @smackswell: I watched the video before, and all I learned is that the Godseed is buried under the Canning District(?) or something. Aren’t ARGs supposed to promote something once you dig deep enough? Am I supposed to buy more Pabst Blue Ribbon now? I don’t get it.

              • smackswell says:

                @716: Never buy PBR. It’s not a Milwaukee beer anymore. Even Miller is owned by SAB. I try to stick to local microbreweries just to keep money in town.

                But regarding the video, none of it was filmed in Milwaukee. None of the references, (the canning district, substituting vermouth for tequila, the art and culture portion,) even resemble the city. It’s the absurdity of how messed up and backwards it makes Milwaukee seem that gives the clip a charming feel. Cuz in it’s own way, Milwaukee is that absurd place. Part of the reason I love the place.

                While the whole ARG aspect is off putting, the video as a standalone device is hilarious to me. It’s so inacurate, but it feels so right.

        • smackswell says:

          @exploded: Unless The Flatlanders Army of Chi Town is bringing quality music acts and upscale shopping districts with them, I shall fight to the death.

      • Trae says:

        @HarcourtArmstrong: The pollution was/is very real. Chicago was in the right to sue.

        (I say this as a person who was born in Chicago, Grew up in Milwaukee, and has large amounts of family in both places)

    • ARP says:

      @exploded: I’ve never liked Milwaukee and they’d never see it coming. I’ll support that invasion.

    • Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

      I, for one, welcome our new Chicago overlords.

    • bunt says:

      @exploded: oh, you mean like how the cubs have ‘wrigley north’ up in milwaukee?

    • Illusio26 says:

      @exploded: I’d be all for an invasion of Milwaukee. That city sucks. We could swipe their beer factory and call it a day.

  18. IphtashuFitz says:

    The Boston Tea Party was vandalism.

  19. says:

    Somewhere Obama weeps for his city…

  20. Nathan Yost says:

    Man, Chicagoans are a bunch of wusses…when I lived in Berkeley, people beheaded about half the meters in town.

  21. Sunflower1970 says:

    Can’t say I feel too bad for the company that is taking care of these meters. More power to the citizens of Chicago for taking a stand against these prices.

    • ARP says:

      @Sunflower1970: I think its a bit unfortunate that the parking meter company is experiencing the brunt of frustration from Chicago residents who are fed up with all the fees and tax increases. We should be turning our attention against Daley who’s been fleecing us just to get the Olympics where’s we won’t make back a fraction of the money we’d spend on the event.

      • Coyote says:

        @ARP: From what I can tell (and that’s just from the articles on consumerist so I could come off as a complete idiot) but the company raised the prices independently of the city. The city of Chicago no longer has any say in the pricing. This sounds like the case of the predatory tow trucks where the city just sold a municipal function to the scummiest bidder.

      • Dethzilla says:

        @ARP: You know Blago is kicking himself for not getting his cut of this either.

  22. TheRedSeven says:

    Boston has its Tea Party.

    Can Chicago have a Parking Meter Party–toss ’em all into the river! I can has!?

  23. JGKojak says:

    “I hope they catch one of these vandals and throw the book at him. Destruction of private property isn’t a reasonable response to anything”

    Actually it does solve something- it makes it cost ineffective to gouge the public in their little monopoly arrangement with the city.

    • HiPwr says:

      @JGKojak: You got a point. Perhaps I’ll start torching county buildings until they realize that it’s more cost-effective to lower my property taxes than rebuild their buildings.

    • RevRagnarok says:

      @JGKojak: “it makes it cost ineffective to gouge the public in their little monopoly arrangement with the city”

      Wait, I didn’t know we were talking about Comcast again???

  24. Red_Flag says:

    I wouldn’t personally deface the meters myself, but I sure as hell won’t shed any tears for LAZ.

  25. Jabberkaty says:

    Sometimes, living in Maine looks really good. Especially the free 2 hour parking.

    Now, if I could only have high speed internet at home…

  26. Yankees368 says:

    25 cents for 15 minutes? Quiet down, Chicago. That is what I have to pay here in Lansing, MI. I hate it, but I am not spray painting the meters (no matter how much I would like to)

    • ARP says:

      @Yankees368: Downtown Lansing or residential Lansing. Are they the same? What if you had to pay $1.00/hr to park in the street in front of the house? That fee is for residential. Downtown is much more expensive.

      • mzs says:

        @ARP: I don’t think there are meters in any residential areas intended for the residents. Would you like to go out every two hours to feed the meter where you lived? No the meters are in front of businesses. Yes there are tenants often above the businesses but depending on where you are there is either unmetered street parking a block or so away, street permit parking a block or so away, or none so you need to lease a space in a garage. There are areas, the gold coast for example, where every street corner has a business and condos and apartments are the rest. The meters are intended for the businesses on the corner.

    • stre says:

      @Yankees368: that’s $1/hr in areas where it was once 25 cents per hour. the downtown area is now $3.50/hr, scheduled to be $6.50/hr in a few years with the planned increases.

  27. vmspionage says:

    It has to start somewhere
    It has to start sometime
    What better place than here
    What better time than now

    All hell cant stop us now

  28. rpm773 says:

    While I can’t fully condone the destruction, it’s nice to see Chicagoans finally standing up and giving their government (and its subcontractors) the what-for.

    The city government has been screwing its residents for years, favoring the support of various irrelevant social causes to keep up with the NYC and West Coast Joneses.

  29. dialing_wand says:

    I sure hope the meters aren’t insured by AIG.

  30. Baccus83 says:

    All of this could be solved if they just got rid of the meters and installed boxes that accept dollar bills and credit cards.

    • stre says:

      @Gene Gemperline: and what exactly would be solved? the rates would still be high at $3.50/hr downtown and scheduled to hit $6+/hr in a few years.

    • parkavery says:

      @Gene Gemperline: Wouldn’t people deface the newfangled boxes too, or am I missing the point?

      • Baccus83 says:

        @parkavery: @stre: You’re right – the rates would still be higher, but people wouldn’t have to carry around so many quarters. I know many people (myself included) that are more irritated that they have to shell out a ridiculous amount of quarters to park anywhere. Higher fares have always (at least in my opinion) been an inevitability. And it’s probably the best way to fix our city’s budget deficit. I just don’t agree with the abrupt way they’ve carried out the transition.

  31. perfectoon_0901 says:

    or just do that

  32. ChChChacos says:

    Intense. I love Chicago.

  33. jake7294 says:

    If you don’t destroy those meters the terrorists win.

  34. suburbancowboy says:

    Asking for quarters only at these prices is absolutely ridiculous.

    I park in a municipal lot for the LIRR. It costs a quarter per hour. Most people who park there, park for 12 hours. So every day, you have to make sure you have 12 quarters. It is a pain in the ass. You have to get rolls of quarters, since you can’t pay with bills. It used to be a quarter for two hours, which is reasonable considering the distance the lot actually is from the train.

    Also, there are only two meters for the whole lot. SO you have to remember your spot number, and then, since most people are following the train schedule, you have to wait on line. If you are in a rush to make the train, you can easily forget your spot number by the time you get to the front of the line.

    It is just very inconvenient, amd the price hike really pissed people off. As a result, the meters were vandalized several times. I would never vandalize anything, but I can’t say that I don’t understand why someone would.

  35. DeeJayQueue says:

    Sometimes you have to break the rules to make a statement that you don’t like something and you won’t simply tolerate it.

    In this case, the only thing getting harmed are the parking meters, which are the direct source of the frustration, so I’m all about it.

    If vandals were keying cars for parking at the meters and supporting the system, that’d be a different story.

    As it is, it’s a prime act of civil disobedience.

  36. mbd says:

    Isn’t this how “Cool Hand Luke” got started…

  37. zibby says:

    I don’t use the word “heroic” very often, but if vandalizing public property because one feels entitled to cheap parking doesn’t qualify, well, I’ll eat my shoe with a side of dog squeeze.

    • INTPLibrarian says:

      @zibby: It’s not public property, it’s private property.

      Which doesn’t invalidate your point; just pointing it out.

  38. From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

    Yet another perfect example of how “Privatization” of public resources and need (parking enforcement) works out. Government doesn’t need to make a profit – but companies like “LAZ” sure do. Instead of the City just upping the price themselves (if that was the intent), they give away the store to a private, unaccountable company that is free to screw the citizens and steal our commonwealth.

    Yet another warning we need to kill off the private insurance cabal and finally institute single-payer health coverage ASAP. It’s a falsehood that private industry is “less expensive” than just having the general public (via government) do it – UNLESS that government has been allowed to become corrupt from private industry.

    Daley’s from the “New Democrat” school, and is willing to sell off Chicago’s assets to the highest contributor.

  39. Frank Murphy says:

    How did anything like this get approved?

  40. fluf says:

    Want to take a stand against parking meters? Here’s a completely legal way to do it. There was one guy in Montreal who went around the streets that had parking meters and checked if any cars were in infraction or meters about to expire and fed the machines quarters preventing the city from collecting any parking tickets. Parking tickets are as valuable to collect funds as the meters themselves, if not more so. People who caught the guy saving their butts from getting a ticket gave the man at least the money he spent others gave more.

    • psm321 says:

      @fluf: Believe it or not, that’s actually illegal (!) many places. Hmm, I wonder why? []

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @fluf: Spray painting them is easier and faster. And doesn’t involve giving them money.

    • Gokuhouse says:

      @fluf: It’s quite amazing how it’s illegal to feed a parking meter for other people. It prevents by threat people from being nice to other people in that manner. It’s quite sickening. I didn’t know it was legal anywhere to do that. Where are you referring?

      • kbarrett says:

        @Gokuhouse: Most cities have such an ordinance. If they don’t, they pass one as soon as someone starts feeding meters in protest.

        Portland, OR has such an ordinance, if you want an example.

  41. redskull says:

    I’m surprised to read that not being able to see the meter or read a missing sticker is a legal defense. Years ago I parked in my home town, and when I got out to put money in the meter, I saw that it was broken & wouldn’t accept any coins. I went about my business, and I came back just as the meter maid was about to place a ticket on my car. I asked her what she was doing, and she said my time expired. I pointed out to her that the meter was broken and that there was no time TO expire. She proceeded to tell me that as soon as I saw the meter was broken, I should have driven on and found another spot!

    She finally tore up the ticket, but she wasn’t very happy about it.

    • friendlynerd says:

      Thankfully Philadelphia states right on the meter that if it’s defective to refer to the posted time.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @redskull: It boggles my mind how they can make it illegal to use a spot because a meter is broken. People shouldn’t have to lose available parking because the meters suck or aren’t fixed quickly.

    • INTPLibrarian says:

      @redskull: It probably varies by location.

      I always thought that in Chicago a broken meter meant you didn’t have to pay it, but only because I never got a ticket when I was at a broken one, which only happened a few times.

    • INTPLibrarian says:

      @redskull: FYI. Just found this quote

      “Motorists should be able to park without being ticketed at a meter that says “FAIL,” according to city officials.”

      on a Chicago Tribune story about the new meters at

  42. Hadoken3 says:

    The pennies I have been collecting in a 5 gallon water jug finally have a purpose now.

  43. Josue Ramirez says:

    This is the greatest thing I’ve read all day! GO GO GO!

  44. JosephFinn says:

    I really hope these vandals get caught, and the fine far outweighs what they could have simply paid for a CTA pass.

    • MMD says:

      @JosephFinn: As if the CTA is a real solution to the city’s transportation problems.

      Mark my words: the mismanagement, inefficiency, unreliability and general awfulness of the CTA in all of its forms will be among the top reasons that Chicago doesn’t get the Olympics for 2016.

      • JosephFinn says:

        @MMD: @MMD: @MMD: @DillonSketch: There are no rush hour fares in Chicago. Train fares are always 2.25. Nice try, though.

      • JosephFinn says:


        “General awfulness?” Listen, I’m not saying the CTA is perfect, but for a relatively cheap flat rate you can get to within half a mile of anywhere in the city. You try doing that with 100% efficiency.

        This is beginning to sound like people who complain about that 1 package in a million that gets mis-delivered by the USPS.

        • MMD says:

          @JosephFinn: Oh, and I can also tell you that the USPS lost about 1 in 3 of my packages before I wised up and started having stuff shipped to work to keep it from going through my local post office. So there goes that logic, too.

    • DillonSketch says:

      @JosephFinn: They just raised the fare to get on a train by over 25% during rush hour this year. They are next…

    • MMD says:

      @JosephFinn: You must not live on the south side. Move to the south side, then tell me how much you like the CTA.

      • Red_Flag says:

        @MMD: I already live on the south side and take the CTA every day and have no desire to own a car. You had a point, didn’t you?

        • MMD says:

          @Red_Flag: Good for you. Talk to me when you get a new job that would require 5 buses and 3 hours each way to commute to and then tell me you don’t need a car. My point, which you would have understood if you would deign to look past the six inches in front of your face, is that your experience is not everyone’s experience. I’ll concede that the CTA serves select segments of the population. The rest of us need cars.

          • Red_Flag says:

            @MMD: No, you said, “Move to the south side, then tell me how much you like the CTA.” I fit the requirement and don’t need a car. I may be a part of a “select segment” or I may be the norm. In any case, your assertion that merely living on the south side makes daily travel via CTA impossible is wrong. It may not work for you, and if you need or want a car, knock yourself out. I’ll stick with my monthly pass, thank you very much.

    • Peter Nincompoop says:

      @MMD: He’s a jobber for the CTA. I wouldn’t doubt if he works for them.

      His presumption is that everyone lives withing a few short blocks of an L station, has a bus stop right outside their front door, and/or goes to work in a place that is conveniently located within a short walk to the various forms of CTA. What he fails to understand is that some people work hours other than 9-5 and sometimes waiting 20-30 minutes for a bus or train to show up isn’t the safest thing to do.

      In his experience, it’s an anomaly if trains and buses run late and you’ll hardly ever have to put up with panhandlers and belligerent drunks while on the trains. I presume he lives somewhere off the brown line.

      In my case (and that of many others), I take the CTA to work and transit time is roughly 35-40 minutes – 15 of which is spent on the Belmont platform waithing to transfer trains. If I drove to work, which I don’t because of the ridiculously expensive parking rates, I could make the drive in 12 minutes.

      • JosephFinn says:

        @Clevelander: So your transit time is still well below the Chicago average, and you pollute less, and your commute is cheaper. I’m sorry, what was the complaint again?

        And no, I don’t work for the CTA. Unlike most of the Internet, I’m not afraid to use my real name when stating my opinions, and you can feel free to check with the CTA to confirm that.

  45. Anonymous says:

    When the parking rates got too high in Toronto, I just started taking the subway instead. Faster and cheaper, once you take into account the traffic congestion and the parking rates.

    That being said, it seems like the complaint in Chicago is both the price of parking, and the bag of quarters you have to haul around.

    Yeah, plastic is an option, but I hate to use plastic unless absolutely necessary. The real robbery would be the service fees for paying for an hour of parking with your bank card.

    Maybe this is one of the reasons why your government floats the idea of dollar coins every now and then. Trust, me, they’re not so bad; and they sure make meter money easier to carry.

  46. DillonSketch says:

    This town is slowly being run into the ground…like Detroit. We need a new mayor…

  47. XTC46 says:

    I cant agree with breaking the law and destroying property. If you dont agree with the price, dont use the service, it is that simple. If a store is too expensive, you dont destroy it, you just dont shop there. I cant believe the consumerist is condoning this type of behavior.

    Oh, and where I live, $1/hr is pretty common… and in many places, you arent even allow to park for more than an hour so its a non issue.

    • wallspray says:

      @xtc46: They (consumerist) are reporting a story, not condoning behavior.

    • Randy Treibel says:

      @xtc46: Sabotage is a form of rebellion.

      1. Destruction of property or obstruction of normal operations, as by civilians or enemy agents in time of war.
      2. Treacherous action to defeat or hinder a cause or an endeavor; deliberate subversion.

      “subversion”. Sabotage is an effective and rational response.

  48. Brazell says:

    Filling the meters with pennies is such a great idea. Cities and towns near Boston bumped up their meters but not by much, if this happened around me, I’d fill up nearly every meter on the block with pennies… spend $10, 1,000 pennies and just pack them in on Saturdays and Sundays. What cop will stop you, you look like you’re just paying the meter… and it’s legal tender, so by what right can they decide what American coinage they take?

  49. metaled says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if a side loading Garbage truck came down the street (The kind that pick up and empty garbage CANS automatically) and yank each of the signs out of the ground for the entire block. City owned would be WONDERFUL if you guys have them! I doubt anyone would notice a thing! (substitute back-hoe, forklift, etc…
    Not that I want to give anyone any ideas or anything.

  50. vliam says:


    Why weren’t they tossing molotov cocktails at the local Shell stations when gas was four bucks a gallon?

    • redkamel says:

      @vliam: because it makes sense that gas would go up if the supply goes down, but not that parking meter rates are aribtrarily raised when all they need is enforced limits or wait for people to realize how bad the parking is?

    • MMD says:

      @vliam: Because gas went up everywhere and this caused by actual economic forces. It didn’t go up because of a backroom deal which has resulted in a monopolistic power working to actively screwing people over.

  51. Randy Treibel says:

    As much as $7 for 2 hours is ridiculous do you know how often we pay similar rates at sporting events from private corporations without complaining?

    • wallspray says:

      @Randy Treibel: If you do not see the difference between paying to park at a parking meter and parking at a sporting event, you have a problem.

      Also, It’s $7 for 1 hour, not for 2

  52. TrueBlue63 says:

    3.50 an hour to park on the Loop. Doesn’t sound that expensive.

    • Swearengen says:


      That is just phase one of the expansion of the prices. They are going to phase in more increases over the next couple of years until prices reach something like $12.

      What’s stupid is the city just could have raised prices themselves and made all the extra money. They sold the meters for 99 years based on the lower rates the city was charging at the meters. If they factored in the higher prices they could have charged like the pricate company is charging, the meter sale should have been more like $10 billion instead of the $1.2 billion they got.

      Another thing that is stupid is they raised the prices before they had the meter infrastructure in place to accomodate the new prices. Their plan was to put in the new kiosk type meters where you use a credit card and it prints a ticket you put in your window. No one would be bitching if they raised the prices after they put those in, but to use a meter now you have to carry 40 pounds of change in your pocket, and if the old style meters don’t work you are going to get hit with $75 parking tickets.

  53. druidicawen says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Does anyone think that doing these things is going to make things better? All this is going to do is raise the price even higher at the least. Have any of these “saboteurs” not realized the amount of camera’s that are in and around the city these days? We have no less than three within a two block radius of where I live. I hope they wise up and stop acting like children.

    Also, is there any way we can stop pushing the damn panic button all the time, $3.50 an hour isn’t that expensive, especially if you can afford to drive a car to the Loop. Grow up.

    • orlo says:

      @druidicawen: Good point. They should paint/destroy the cameras first.

    • MMD says:

      @druidicawen: Yes, $3.50 is not that expensive. That’s not the point. The point is that the $3.50 must be in quarters. How often to you just happen to have that $7 quarters lying around to pay for your 2 hours of parking? This setup not only requires you to suddenly have several pounds worth of quarters at your disposal at all times, it more than likely requires you to have to patronize skeezy currency exchanges (and pay for the privilege – the one I went to recently charges 50 cents a roll!) to get them.

      Is vandalism the answer? No. But your solution to “grow up” and just accept this asinine system isn’t a solution either.

  54. Saboth says:

    It’s just not right to allow a private company the ability to harm the business of so many business owners. This is like sticking a $10 toll at the start of a busy one way main street after businesses have been there 20-30 years. Why should some upstart be able to effectively close them down? What’s next? “Ok shopkeeps, if you want these meters to “go away”, we will need “protection money” each month….how’sabout 5 G’s a month from each’o youse”?

  55. diasdiem says:

    I bet the sales of whiskey and pipe cutters have skyrocketed in Chicago.

  56. Brian Parisi says:

    I don’t condone vandalism in any form but we have every right to be pissed off.

    We in Chicago pay high sales tax, high property tax, gas tax, and soon our state income tax will be higher. Now we pay higher costs for parking. Let’s not forget that public transportation fares were recently raised too.

    In other words it’s PAY PAY PAY to live in this city and for what? Our schools suck, roads are in terrible shape, there are fewer police on the street, more trash on same streets, more graffiti on buildings (thanks to that program getting cut.) We’re paying to bail the city, county, and state out of 20+ years of mismanagement.

  57. ben gardners boat says:

    Why is vandalism in the face of injustice so frowned upon? Sure it’s a crime, but these people are basically being robbed, extorted, shit upon by the people who are supposed to serve them. I agree with a previous commenter who referenced the Boston Tea Party. I love to see this kind of rebellion.

    In the old days, this sort of thing was expected to happen when the government does something shitty. (I realize that a private company jacked up the prices, but the Chicago government let them). And this is only a minor case of vandalism, in my opinion.

    I don’t want city-wide riots or violence, but the government needs to realize that the people won’t stand for being shit on. Way to go Chi-town.

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      @ben gardners boat: Some people seem to think that it’s expected for big corporations and government to screw the individual, but when the individual does the same in reverse, it’s “bad.” If the schoolyard bully punches you, these people seem to think that a calm talk will prevent another punch (unlikely, they’ll just mess with you again at a later date). But if you dare to hit the bully back, then *you* get expelled.

  58. Michael Monaco says:

    I’m usually against stuff like this, but I give my full support to these people.

  59. Brandon Holley says:

    Ok people read the story…its 28 quarters for 2 hours, which works out to $3.50 an hour not a buck an hour.

    For the folks who are saying not to use the service…are you serious? Some people rely on metered spots very heavily. Thats like telling the little old lady who walks to the grocery store right next to her house to stop walking there because they charge $7.00 for a quart of milk. For some people, like the little old lady, walking to a different store isn’t a possibility. Same deal with parking, for some people, parking on the street is the only way.

    Kudos to the people who aren’t taking this lying down, which tends to happen far too often when a RIDICULOUS situation arises.

  60. parkavery says:

    Out of curiosity (I grew up in the middle of nowhere so I don’t know how you city folk handle this situation): What happens when you want to park at a broken/full/whatever metre? Are you still allowed to park there for “free” or do you have to park at one that works?

  61. vastrightwing says:

    Criminal: you mean the state, right?

  62. Dethzilla says:

    It’s funny…. People want to vandalize the meters when they charge too much but not one Starbucks has been destroyed for overpriced Latte’s and Pastries.

    Funny thing is… unless you have a bus pass in chicago, it costs nearly the same amount to get to and from your home on Public transportation.

    • diasdiem says:


      The difference is that Starbucks isn’t the only game in town if you want coffee. You can go to a Dunkin’ Donuts or a 7-11 or make your own coffee. It’s not like there’s another company offering cheaper rates on metered parking in the same location.

    • exploded says:

      @Dethzilla: It’s cheaper for me to drive than it is to take the bus. I live in edgewater and work downtown. Luckily there’s free parking by my work (I work by the remains of Cabrini Green, free street parking, and not as scary as it used to be).

      I spend about $60/month on gas or $85/month on an unlimited CTA Pass. If I sold my car, I wouldn’t have insurance payments or upkeep, but that’s not going to happen.

    • MMD says:

      @Dethzilla: Lattes are a choice. Getting around the city shouldn’t have to be.

  63. Thaddeus says:

    Take the Metra? Anyone? No? Ok….

  64. econobiker says:

    Similar actions are covering car tags in response to automated ticket red light cameras -which are typically owned by private contractors.

    The same contractors who usually get the yellow light hold time reduced after the red light cameras are installed. Hmmmm see any connection in this case?

  65. Randy Treibel says:

    Sorry about the previous post. I had about 8 windows open and didn’t proofread it whatsoever. Often i type without even looking at the box or screen i’m typing on in the name of efficiency.

    Anyhow vandalism is a form of sabotage. It is considered a legitimate tactic in any guerrilla type campaign. It is the future of warfare as well as rebellion.

    Freedom and democracy do not depend on ‘being adult’ and going the high road. If that worked people would do it. All forms of sabotage emerge out of a failure of legitimate means of problem solving.

  66. fatcop says:

    Good. I hope the pushback extends to using paint and sledgehammers on politicians.

  67. ophmarketing says:

    As a lifelong Chicagoan, I can’t tell you how happy this post makes me.

    Don’t make us angry. You won’t like us when we’re angry…

  68. P_Smith says:

    I see Chicago-style corruption hasn’t changed in 80 years.

    “Toll early and toll often”, to paraphrase Al Capone.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Having lived in Chicago my entire life, I feel this is more about the frustration of our city getting away with nickle and diming us to death, ane lining their pockets. All of this built up anger is finally getting to everyone here.

  70. Anonymous says:

    I confirm that in Berkeley, CA they simply couldn’t keep meters functional and gave up and went to a kiosk instead. I didn’t personally ever see anyone removing the heads but I recall seeing whole blocks with headless meters. I bought an unlocked meter head from a salvage place on San Pablo……

  71. Anonymous says:

    This is idiotic if the parking goes up to 6.50 how are they going to fill minimum wage jobs in those areas when half your pay-check goes to parking. Is there alternate ways to park, like do companies in that area provide employee parking? What about people who live there do you have to feed the meter every few hours even if you are just at home?

  72. KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

    COOL HAND LUKE! i think? right?

  73. u1itn0w2day says:

    I hope these vandals remember that if they CSI their butts they might find finger prints on the coins or their might be surveillance cameras from a business in the area . It does send a message though .

    I hate the privitazion of public property and jobs but vandalism is no better than the unarmed robbery these companies are perpetrating . And some where down the line there is a politician associated with this .

  74. MrFrankenstein says:

    I’m all in favor of this so-called public vandalism.

    Sorry kids, but ‘capitalism’ is about amassing wealth for a minority while the majority get educated/conditioned into whining about good behavior and not actually smashing tangible signs of how little the State cares about the people.

    Hiding behind bourgeois ideas of ‘good behavior’ or ‘certain actions being in the province of teenagers,’ is to be playing at speaking on behalf of your own jailers. Get some larger perspectives.

    So, well done to the people trashing the meters. You have to be someone’s aged granny to want people to play nice in this economic/political context.

    Its about time some Americans showed a tiny glimmer of a spark in the overwhelming passivity everything gets greeted by.

  75. Julia Anne Klecyngier says:

    Finding parking in the loop was already next to impossible even if you try a parking lot. The increase just adds another reason to the list of why you should try to brave the el.

    also, vandalism is usually not good, but it can be nice to see how creative people can get sometimes

  76. RogueWarrior says:

    There’s an urban legend about some smartass MIT students who found a parking meter in a junk yard, bought it, got a written receipt for it and then proceeded to cut off every parking meter in Cambridge. Whenever some cop saw them walking down the street with one, they’d just show the guy the receipt.

  77. karlsl says:

    I think the most damaging thing the citizen of Chicago can do is not to re-elect the mayor who approved of this. I don’t know if mayor made the decision to outsource the parking meter because he did not think everything thru, or he was “convinced” by LAZ to let them monopolize the meter business in that area. 28 quarters for 2 hours is simply ridiculous. Although I understand the principle of supply and demand, this approach to create more parking space is appalling. It is going to ruin the businesses around those parking meters. current Econ is bad enough, we don’t need more greedy people to ruin more businesses.

  78. nacoran says:

    Parking meters serve a purpose. Cities maintain the streets, including the parking lane. That is land that could be used for something else (buildings, sidewalk cafes, more lanes for traffic, etc.) Any place where parking demand exceeds availability they also serve an important role in traffic control. If there are no empty spaces, cars will circle looking for spots, staying in traffic longer. You want to keep about 1 in 7 spots open so people can actually find a space. (Don’t take my word for it, read Donald Shoup’s “The High Cost of Free Parking”.)

    If you want better parking, tell your city to build some more parking spaces, or you could take the bus. Free parking encourages people to drive instead of taking mass transit. Big parking lots push buildings farther apart, which makes it harder to walk to where you want to go, which means more people drive, which means you need more parking, which means you need bigger parking lots… see where I’m going with this?

    Parking spaces are a public resource that only one person can use at a time. They should be metered.

    Vandalizing parking meters just leads cities to ban parking at broken meters, which makes parking harder. It’s a better tactic for people who want to see more funding for mass transit than angry parkers. Or, the city will require you to shell out for in car GPS parking meters. Those work like electronic toll tags. (Actually, they are pretty cool, and as long as you have money in the account you don’t have to fish around for change.)

  79. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see, city revenues are in the crapper. State can’t help, they’re broke too. Somehow, the trash needs to be collected, streets repaired, etc. So they crank up the rate on parking to help bring in a little extra cash – ride a bike or take the bus if you don’t like it. Hell, in LA where EVERYONE drives, it can be as high as 25 cents for 5 min. in some areas, and the old 6pm cut off got recently bumped to 8pm without much notice to many surprised drivers. Chicago used to be a city dominated by public trans. Now every yahoo has to have an SUV to get from Lincoln Park to Streeterville. Maybe they should be stuck with higher meter rates. Complaining to the alderman/councliman/mayor etc – that makes some sense. Complaining by ripping meters out of the ground or breaking them is stupid, detrimental and further damaging to the already weakened infrastructure.

  80. MooseOfReason says:

    President Obama should take some time off from spending trillions of tax dollars and go back to Chicago to do some more community organizing.

    Maybe he could get citizens to ‘change’ the system, instead of being criminals?

  81. AstraBabble says:

    civil disobedience has historically been a standard form or protest in America and it is sad that we have people who are so happy with their restricted, “safe”, freedomless lives that they cry foul over the vandalism and claim that voting out the corrupt politician will correct the problem. Newsflash: all the politicians are corrupt. good luck with that strategy

  82. ageshin says:

    Gee, at 28 quarters for two hours I wonder what; the weight of 156 quarters is, for that is how many one would need for 8 hours. I see brisk sales of super re enforced pants with super sized pockets. Chicagoians will also build up their lower body power by just lugging around all that change. Heart health will improve, and the weakest will die off of heart attacks, thus improving the overall condition of the general public. Thus Mayor Daley has again proved to be a great leader.

    • dwasifar says:

      @ageshin: Maybe it’s just an indirect way of discouraging baggy pants. The weight of a couple rolls of quarters would make it impossible to keep them from falling down.

      It’s racist, I tell you! Racist!

  83. Wilkin Wong says:

    My friend likes to shove bunny poop in the slot then rip the stickers off :D

  84. Shane Elliott says:

    I can’t help but wonder, who hates Chicago more; the people who live there or the people who live in central Illinois? Up until now I’d have said central, but maybe I’m wrong on this.

  85. Swearengen says:

    All of these annoyances don’t matter to the City because they will ticket you regardless of whether the meter is working or not. It is not their job to care, it is their job to write you tickets so the City can make money which it then gives out to the people connected to the politicians. That’s the way it works in Chicago. And the other day they floated the idea of giving private security guards (i.e. fake cops) the right to issue tickets to people. All in the name of money people.

    The only stand that matters is voting out of office the douche-bags who keep fleecing the people out of every cent they make. And then if we somehow get new people in there, make sure they put in terms limits. Part of the problem is that public offices have become hereditary in the city, county, and state, getting passed from one corrupt generation of a family to the next. If people are out of office after at most 8 years, that will ensure that the same corrupt families are not continuing the machines they built. Then we might be able to have some responsible governance for once.

  86. Ana Witaszczyk says:

    So many nonchicago commentors are missing a few points:
    1 the company is suspose to install those credit card accepting machine but they haven’t yet
    2 7.50 an he is cheap downtown compaired to private lots but the machines are breaking because the company isn’t collecting often enough
    3 many meters haven’t had info (hrs, cost) so people are getting screwed thinking they are safe aftere hrs
    4you can only get out of ticket if you call to report broken meter