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Added Jun 18 2012

I live near Richards Auto and have noticed that they frequently park cars on the sidewalk, causing many of us to walk through the street around it- this is especially annoying to those that have strollers. I'm also concerned that oil stains will make their way onto it which is the last thing our sidewalks need. Does anyone know if this is legal? Is it possible for one to acquire a permit to park cars on the sidewalk? I've called 311 on them and they tell me they are getting an officer there to make them move the car but it still happens very frequently.

  • Kevin Albany Park since 2003, transit geek, cyclist.

    Thanks for posting about this, JP! Just last week, I saw two officers pull over to write a ticket for a car that Richards had parked on the north side of Lawrence and was completely blocking the sidewalk. It wasn't the standard orange ticket book, it was green. Maybe they were responding to one of your calls?

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    Yes, thank you for posting! Hate to say it but given the stuff Richard's gets away with, I have long thought he has connections in high places. It's surprising that any tickets were being written.

  • Cynthia Resident Since 1988

    The neighbors should all keep calling 311.

    Plus, can some of the neighbors get together and go together to talk to the owner and tell him to stop doing it?

    Also, have you talked to your alderman's office about this? Call them. My experience with my alderman's office (45th ward) is that the people there are very responsive. I've heard mixed things (some great and some just so-so) about Alderman Laurino, but it is worth a shot.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    @JP: It is illegal, and the cpd will write parking tickets.

  • Jess M Parent and teacher

    I have called 311 on them twice and the second time the 311 operator transferred me to 911. I said, "I guess I didn't realize that this was a 911-type call." The 911 operator said, "Absolutely. We want to get an officer over there right away.". I don't know who I will be calling the next time they do it (I'm sure they will), but I will keep calling until they get the message. They don't own the neighborhood.

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    Thanks for the responses. I'll keep calling on them to get ticketed. I have also contemplated talking to the owner as well although judging by the way they talk to each other in there, I'm pretty sure I'll get a solid F U! I was in there a couple of months ago and one of the male employees kept telling the only female employee in there that she was lucky he wasn't taking off his belt and beating her with it. I really wanted to step in and get involved but knew that I probably shouldn't- I have a tendency to get over involved in situations like that. But you never know until you try, right?

  • Thanks for bringing this up JP. I've posted about Richard's before. This is not a new issue. Apparently they do very good work, but they take on more cars than they have room for. So they end up parking cars in the alley and on the sidewalk. They even park cars on Albany that's already a crowded side street because of the multi-unit buildings. I contacted Alderman Mel's office and he is aware of the situation. The best thing is to keep calling 311 so the owner gets the message that the city sidewalks are intended for use by pedestrians and they alleys are not his personal parking lot.

  • kenji Find us here --> http://reddit.com/r/greatNWside

    It would suck to go for a repair and ten days later get the citation in the mail that you received a ticket. I'm assuming the cops write the ticket to the license plate on the automobile.

  • Ray Lifelong Chicagoan

    you are right Kenji. The autoshop would have no liability whatsoever unless the ticketed person has pictures, receipts with dates work on car was done and then you would have to go to court to contest ticket. Also, JP simply call them and tell them next time a car is parked on sidewalk a call to 911 will be made. You don't need to comfront F2F is you feel threatened.

  • The alley near Richards seems to have a large number of nails quite consistently on the ground.

    I doubt it's malicious, but probably just a lack of attention paid to discarding trash by their employees.

    Has cost me 3 or 4 tires in the last few years, I don't come out of the alley on that side anymore.

  • It is absolutely illegal and I do hope that the officers are writing tickets to the business as opposed to the registered owners of the vehicles. That would be grossly unfair to the owners of the cars and would be letting the business off the hook. I cry foul on Richard's.

  • Is there a chamber of commerce for that area? Maybe his fellow business owners could put some pressure on him.

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    Ha, they did it again today. Sadly, phone was dead when I was going by so no chance to call. It is pretty audacious that they do that.

  • Cynthia Resident Since 1988
  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    The cpd does write down the license plate number of the car parked on the sidewalk, unless neighbors complain, then they cite the garage owner.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    Being continually cited by the cpd for repeated non compliance is all the pressure you need.

  • Corky Albany Park Resident

    I hope you have better luck than I've had. The mechanics next to where I live is constantly parking on the sidewalk. The day I saw a guy in a wheelchair have to go into traffic to get to the corner, I started calling 311. Not a single ticket has been issued. If (not when, if) the police show up, they talk to the guys and then just leave.

    So ... does it make a difference if the car is half on the sidewalk and half in the street (left turn lane)?

  • kenji Find us here --> http://reddit.com/r/greatNWside

    The place has Yelp reviews. One would think they like to keep as many stars as they can. Right now the place has 3.5 out of 5 stars for 14 reviews.

    I wonder what happens when you folks that live nearby and who are posting here in this thread begin to post to Yelp, if their total stars diminish?

    10 people's opinions would have to do something.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/richards-auto-body-chicago

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    @Corky: It doesn't make a difference. They should still be cited. Be persistent with 911, and with the alderman's office. This guy sounds like a jerk.

  • kenji Find us here --> http://reddit.com/r/greatNWside

    Who is the alderman over by there?

    Anyone email them a link to this thread?

  • @ kenji: I love your use of "over by there." It's so utterly Chicago!!! LOL

  • kenji Find us here --> http://reddit.com/r/greatNWside

    Tanks!

    My other favorite is breaking Chicagoans into the two camps of how we pronouce SAUSAGE.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    @Kenji: If you ever heard me pronounce sausage, I would be a member of a third camp.

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    Kenji, the alderman is Mell, and as I posted previously, methinks there's a good possibility that Richard's is buddy-buddy with him and lord only knows who else. Hmmm...does anyone happen to know the last name associated with Richard's? Maybe it's Mell! Just a thought!

    There have been complaints about Richard's for several years that I know of and somehow, nothing ever changes there. Perhaps it's time to call the news people to see if THEY can get some action. Btw, don't forget that Richard's is on BOTH sides of Lawrence and consider both alleys, north and south, their private property.

  • Cynthia Resident Since 1988

    Some say that Dick Mell is in the bag. But then, some said that about my former alderman, Patrick Levar. He retired last year.

    I have to believe (or hope) that if an alderman is unresponsive it takes a group of neighbors to meet with him for a conversation. Then he might understand how important the issue is to the voters.

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    Ok, I followed Kenji's advice and I sent Alderman Mell an email stating the issue, the picture I took and a link to this thread so he can read about the other issues you all have been discussing that I was unaware of. This is the first time I've emailed him so I'm curious as to how responsive his office is. I sent it to both rfmell@33rdward.com and rmell@cityofchicago.com. Seems like the first email was rejected so fortunately I sent it to the latter as well. I will keep you all posted when I receive a response. Thanks for the encouragement and collaboration on this topic!

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    I wish you luck, JP!

  • Cynthia Resident Since 1988

    I don't know that an emailed link to this thread is helpful. Plus, I don't think that is is proper to do that because people posting here didn't give permission. It could have a chilling effect on discussions on Everyblock.

    I believe that a personal meeting is effective when trying to resolve a problem. Emails are just lazy.

    I have friends who met with their alderman or staff and have been happy with the results.

  • @ Corky: Hey, you!!! You are just everywhere!!! Yes, the car that is parked half on and half off is just as illegal as the sidewalk car. Keep calling and if the police are not responsive, call again and ask for a supervisor. Someone needs to ticket these businesses. They need to respect their neighbors!!!

  • @kenji and George F: The two sausage camps here, I believe, are those who say, "SAW-sage" and those who say, "SAH-sage" The same two camps say, "Chi-CAW-go" or "Chi-CAH-go"
    George, what is your other pronunciation?

  • @Cynthia: Every Block is a public forum. Anyone can read it. It is archived and searchable by Google. There's nothing improper about posting a link to a conversation.

  • Cynthia Resident Since 1988

    I'm not from originally from Chicago. I've only lived here for 30 years. So, it still catches me off guard when people talk about the way they pronounce words such as sausage or Chicago.

    That plus the north side/south side Cubs/Sox rivalry.

    Chicago is a fascinating city. So small at the same time so big.

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    @ Cynthia: Email is a good place to start. Plus, it's a great way to keep your communication to your alderman documented. To Jamie's point, this is a public forum. If someone didn't want their comments public, well, then don't make them here! It's good for the alderman to see the complaints and passion our neighbors have on this topic.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    @Katyhunny: The emphasis on SAW in SAW-sage. More like SAAWW-sage.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    @Cynthia: I'm not originally from here also, and I still sometimes misunderstand local traditions. The first thing they did was make me go to speech class to try and eliminate what they thought was that annoying New York accent. Speech class didn't quite take.

  • Cynthia Resident Since 1988

    George, that is too funny. Oh, an I think the New York accent is charming.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    @Cynthia: That makes two of us.

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    They are doing it again today. Been on hold with 311 (im not comfortable calling 911 on something like this). If anyone else can report it also that would help. Thanks.

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    Oh also, I have not heard back from the Alderman since my email I sent the office last week.

  • The police wil probably write the tickets to the cars and the owners will b responsible. Is that what you want? It happened to me at a body shop, my fro t plate was off and guess what 60.00 ticket was mine =/

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    Is that what happens Sophia? That doesn't make any sense to ticket the owner rather than the one that actually parked there. Can other people confirm that this is the case? So obviously thats not what we want to do. I already wrote a letter to the Alderman. How do we as a community resolve this issue?

  • I was told when I protested the ticket im the owner and are liable. They said there is no proof who left the car without plate. Thus your owner rmyour liable. the body shop wouldn't cough up the money either. Needless to say I don't do business there. I'm jus poin ting out that you could b causing headaches for the owners.

  • KM 2nd year Albany Park Resident

    This is not the first time this type of thread about Richard's has come up. I had my car worked on there last february and in the process got 2 parking tickets. The time stamp on my ticket did prompt me to speak with the owner of Richards - the problem being that i didn't know I even got a ticket until I got something in the mail saying I owe $100. Richard's said that they were going to pay it - I faxed it over 3 different times and they never did. Eventually I just paid it - I don't have time to continue chasing around.

  • If you are not in a position to protest the ticket in person, perhaps you can attach letters from neighbors which uphold your side of the story along with your protest of the ticket. If you are able to go in person, perhaps a couple of your neighbors could go there with you to corroborate your story. Any time you protest a ticket you should arm yourself as much as possible with whatever evidence you can gather and with whatever support you can muster.

  • Cynthia Resident Since 1988

    I just posted a link to this thread on Yelp and a review of Richards. I wanted to let people know they take their car their at their own risk. Maybe if people fear they will get a parking ticket they won't take their cars there. Then Richards won't have too many cars and have to park some illegally.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    I''s ok to call 911. The officer's should cite the garage owners and not the car owners. If not, call 911 again and ask for a supervisor.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    Contacting the police district Commander or her secretary is effective if enough people make the same complaint against the same business. He has a business license to worry about, and the district commander knows it.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    Katyhunny is correct, and perhaps a call to the betterbusiness bureau is in order, since he's the one responsible for his customers being unfairly ticketed.

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    They did it again today. I contacted the body shop today and have not heard back from them. I took a picture and emailed Alderman Mell again, who still hasn't responded yet to my initial email 4 weeks ago. This is frustrating.

  • inssane North Sider since 1981

    Nab a couple of city cones and put them where the car normally is with caution tape. Make it small so it doesn't bother people but a big enough space to make them not want to park there. :)

    Sorry, it is very annoying.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    Be persistent in your calls to 911. If no officers arrive, call for a supervisor. Calls to 911 are recorded. It's better then a paper trail.

  • Flew That Chicago born & raised. You can come home again!

    Has anyone sent an email to the 33rd ward regarding this?

  • Is it possible that they are also parking cars on the side streets around the shop? I live around the corner and parking has gotten increasingly worse over the last several months

  • I think you could take it to the bank that they are also parking cars on the surrounding streets. They are not being very good neighbors. The most worrisome, though, are the cars on the sidewalk. Whenever a Mom with a stroller or a person in a wheel chair has to go into the street because the sidewalk is blocked, whip out that cell phone camera and document it. The more community participation in the effort to get them to keep cars off the sidewalks, the better. Maybe they are trying to keep the cars off the sidewalks and that's why they're parking on the streets now.

  • JP Albany Park Resident since 2010

    They definitely are parking their cars on the side streets- I know this for a fact. Thanks katyhunny- need everyone's participation to get this issue resolved for our neighbors.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    As usual KATYHUNNY nailed it.

  • To be fair, George, I worked on stuff like this for many years. I'm just trying to be a good neighbor and share what I know to be true and effective. It's like any situation in which there is disagreement. One has to back up one's argument with documentation of facts. It's far better to go to a CAPS meeting with photos which are dated than just a complaint. Back yourself up with proof then you cant be ignored.

  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    @Katyhunny: True enough, but hitting an irresponsible, insensitive, businessman, like that in the pocketbook doesn't hurt either. It's pretty clear that he's trhumbing his nose at neighbors, customers, and police.

  • That's also true, George, but I think that by parking his customers' cars on the surrounding streets indicates a willingness on his part to try not to park them on the sidewalk. Of course, the ideal thing would be for him to lease a lot where he can put the cars waiting for his attention. I'm just trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt that he's trying to do the right thing.

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff.
  • George F in Ravenswood displaced New Yorker

    @Katyhunny:You're usually right about police related subjects, so you're probably right about this guy, but it frustrates me that it's taken him so long to do the right thing, and the 19th district guys get the blame.

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