Chicago Community Bulletin Board

Chicago Complicated Sign Breakdown

Can people really “fight City Hall” if they get a parking ticket or are towed in error?

If you were given a parking ticket and believe you didn't do anything wrong, or were towed when you were parked legally, you absolutely can challenge the ticket. If you need our help, please consult with The Parking Expert. The best strategy, obviously, is to not get a ticket in the first place.

Should I fight a ticket/tow if I was parked illegally?

If you are guilty of a parking infraction, it is naturally much more difficult to fight a parking ticket or a tow. There are, however, some instances where an infraction can be contested—especially if the ticket was filled out incorrectly by the officer who wrote it. If things like the date, time, location, or type of infraction and/or the make and model of your car are improperly filled out on the ticket, the ticket should be dismissed.

Are there other tips or tricks you have for finding the best places to park in Chicago?

It’s difficult to generalize, but there are some good methods to find parking in the busiest sections of big cities—usually their downtown areas or business districts. For instance, instead of trying to park in the Loop in the heart of Downtown Chicago, say, on Madison Street between LaSalle and Clark Streets, it’s easier to find parking if you travel a little farther towards the outskirts of the city. Basically, even in places where there seems to be no street parking, there probably will be something available if you are willing to park a little farther away and walk a little bit more. Exercise is healthy, so kill two birds with one stone! Another tip: I f you call ahead to a parking garage, or go to their website and reserve ahead of time, you'll likely get a better rate.

What does it mean when a sign says “No Standing” ?

Standing actually means sitting! Specifically, it means that you are sitting behind the wheel in your parked vehicle.

What is the difference between No Standing and No Parking?

No Parking means that you can’t park your car and walk away, but you can stand in your car (see above). You can wait as long as you like while standing as long as you’re not asked to move by a police officer or traffic enforcement agent (you must move if asked). No Standing means that you can’t wait in your car for more than a few seconds (i.e., to drop off or pick up passengers).

How is No Stopping different than No Parking and No Standing?

No Stopping means exactly what it says—you can’t stop there at all, not even for one second!

What are commercial vehicles?

Commercial vehicles—generally vans and trucks that make deliveries—have special license plates. If you don’t have commercial license plates, you don’t have a commercial vehicle (no matter how big the vehicle is) and can’t park in spots designated for commercial vehicles.

In Chicago, what is a Multi-Meter or “meter kiosk?"

Meter kiosks, found in many cities including Chicago, are centralized meters that accept payment for designated parking spaces in the immediate area. These centralized meters are replacing the older meters at individual parking spaces. Meter kiosks accept payment for all the nearby parking spaces on the block. You put money in the machine (which usually takes credit cards and special parking cards, as well as cash) and get a receipt, which you put on your dash board facing up, so that the time at which you paid for parking and the amount of time you paid for are clearly visible.

In Chicago, what are the regulations for handicapped parking?

Vehicles properly displaying disability plates, a parking placard or Disabled Veteran plates may park in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities, and are exempt from meter fees or time limitations on parking, except at meters, signs or other markings with time limitations of 30 minutes or less. In non-metered spaces, they are exempt from time limitations. Disability plates and parking placards do not permit vehicles to park in areas where parking is prohibited or restricted. Vehicles also are prohibited from parking in any manner that creates a traffic hazard. These Disability plates and parking placards are non-transferable. The authorized holder must be present and must enter or exit the vehicle at the time the parking privileges are being used.

What are the eligibility requirements to receive a Disabled Persons License Plate or Parking Placard in Chicago?

To qualify as disabled, it used to be considered sufficient to be unable to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest. Now that limitation must be connected to one of the following debilitating conditions:

  • Cannot walk without the assistance of another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device.
  • Be restricted by lung disease to such a degree that forced (respiratory) expiratory volume (FEV) in one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter.
  • Must use portable oxygen.
  • Have a Class III or Class IV cardiac condition according to standards set by the American Heart Association.
  • Be severely limited in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.
How do I apply for a Disabled Persons License Plate or Parking Placard in Chicago?

If your doctor certifies that your disability is permanent, you may be eligible to apply for special Disability license plates when you register your vehicle. These plates are available only for a vehicle owned by either you or an immediate family member in your household who you regularly rely on for transportation.

You and your doctor should fill out the Persons with Disabilities Certification for Plates or Parking Placard. You will pay a $29 fee to replace ordinary plates with disabled ones. This is in addition to any registration or renewal fees that might be due.

Parking Placards that hang from the rear-view mirror of the car in which you are riding are free. The application process for placards is the same for license plates, minus fees. Your doctor will need to certify your disability using the Persons with Disabilities Certification for Plates or Parking Placard, which is also your application form.

There are three types of placards available:

  • Permanent: These placards are blue and must be renewed every four years. You must have a permanent disability for this type of placard.
  • Temporary: Bright red, these placards are valid as long as your physician requests, up to six months.
  • Organizational: These green placards are used by organizations that transport disabled people. They are valid for four years.
What are Residential Disabled Parking Signs in Chicago?

Residential Disabled Parking was established to provide disabled City residents with convenient and accessible parking in front of their residences.

If you qualify, two Disabled Parking signs are erected marking off a space of a minimum of 16 feet in the closest proximity to your residence. These signs mark the space and prohibit the parking of all vehicles, except those displaying a disabled placard or disabled plate along with the permit which has the corresponding permit number displayed on the signs. Vehicles in violation of this ordinance will be ticketed.

Disabled individuals who apply for signs must meet the conditions to qualify for a restricted parking space, including the following:

  • The applicant must reside on a residential street that is zoned R-1 through R-5.
  • The applicant must have either a current disabled Illinois license plate or a disabled placard issued by the Secretary of State when parked in the designated space.
  • Sign installation and maintenance costs must be paid by the applicant. For the first year, the cost for the sign is $70.00. In subsequent years the annual maintenance fee is $25.00. Please note: The fee may be waived if the applicant meets the disabled veteran or Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief requirement.
  • The applicant must observe and obey any other parking restrictions which may apply at the approved location (i.e. Street Cleaning signs, Rush Hour Parking restrictions etc.).

To Apply, qualified applicants must complete an application form. You may obtain an application from your Alderman's Ward Office or call the Department of Revenue at (312) 744-PARK(7275).

Can I obtain a temporary Disabled Persons Parking Placard when I am visiting Chicago?

Disability plates and placards issued in other states are valid in Illinois, so if you're just visiting the state, you are covered.

What do “Alternate side street cleaning rules” mean?

These rules refer to the time of day and days of the week when the streets are cleaned. During these days/times, one side of the street will not be eligible for parking. Often—though not always—parking will be allowed during all other days/times.

I hear about people who wait in their cars and sometimes double-park during the street-cleaning times. What’s the story with that?

Very often people will move their vehicles at the last minute before the prohibited time (when one is not allowed to park), and then wait for the street cleaner to go by, at which time they will drive back to the side where they started and wait for parking to be legal again before they leave their cars. Since the street cleaning sign says “No Parking,” people can legally stand (sit behind the wheel) while waiting for the magic minute when parking is again allowed. Double-parking is never legal and you run the risk of getting an expensive parking ticket anytime you do it.

Sometimes police and traffic enforcement agents will look the other when people double-park while waiting for the street cleaner to go by, but it is not worth the risk.

Do street parking rules apply during holidays in Chicago?

Yes, follow what it says on the parking signs—unless it says “except holidays”, the regulation is in effect.

Do I need to pay the parking meters if parking rules are suspended?

Parking meter fees are no longer suspended on holidays in Chicago, so obey what is written at all parking meters 365 days a year.

What does it mean when a sign says “No Parking School Days”?

This refers to days that school is in session (including summer school). Very often there are hours associated with the rules, e.g., 7am–4pm. In this case you may not park during those hours on days that school is in session.

What does “feeding the meter” mean?

Many people think it is OK to continually go back to a parking meter and put in more money so that they can stay as long as they like. Lots of people get away with this, but it is not legal. If the sign says “2-hour metered parking 8am–7pm,” then during those hours you may only stay for 2 hours at a time. If you come back during a 2-hour maximum period and put in more money so that you can stay longer, this is termed “feeding the meter” and can get you an expensive parking ticket.

How much will it cost me if I get a parking ticket in Chicago?

Most Chicago parking tickets cost between $50-$100, although the range is from $25–$200.

How much will it cost me if my vehicle gets towed or booted in Chicago?

To locate your towed or booted vehicle, visit:

Or call 312.744.PARK (7275) if your vehicle was towed due to outstanding tickets. The hearing impaired can call 312.744.7277.

For twenty-four hour inquiries, seven days per week, you can call 312.744.4444.

Pursuant to the Municipal Code of Chicago boot, tow, and storage charges are as follows:

Boot Fees:

  • $60 for passenger vehicles.
  • $400 for truck tractors, semi-trailers, and trailers.


  • $150 for vehicles under 8,000 pounds.
  • $250 for vehicles with a gross weight of 8,000 pounds or more.


  • $10 per day for the first 5 days then $35 per day every day after the 5th day for vehicles under 8,000 pounds.
  • $60 per day for the first 5 days then $100 per day every day after the 5th day for vehicles with a gross weight of 8,000 pounds or more.
The parking signs indicate that it is legal to park in front of an apartment building, but the doorman told me I couldn’t park there. Was he right?

No, he was just trying to intimidate you. Whatever it says on the official parking signs is correct.

The official parking sign indicates that it is legal to park in front of a hotel, but there was a sign made by the hotel saying that I couldn’t park there. Which was right?

The official parking signs are always correct. Any signs that aren’t official are meaningless and unenforceable.

How close to a crosswalk can I park?

You can park right up to a crosswalk, as long as no signs prohibit it.

Are there best days of the week to find parking on the street?

It is generally easier to find street parking on weekends than weekdays. Specifically, Sundays are the easiest of all, as there are a fair number of parking regulations that cover either Mondays through Fridays or Mondays through Saturdays.


©2012 Tired of Parking TIckets, Inc.