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Return of the Barnacles – Evanston RoundTable

After a vehicle has three or more permanent unpaid parking tickets, a letter will be sent to notify the registered owner that the vehicle will be decommissioned. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Like it or not, the Barnacle is about to return to Evanston after almost a two-year absence.

City officials announced the return of boating from this month.

A vehicle with three or more parking tickets can be immobilized, either through a metal trunk placed on a wheel of a car or through a flat plastic device called a barnacle that is placed over the windshield.

The practice had been suspended in March 2020 as one of several measures the city had taken to curtail enforcement to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on residents.

“And currently we have compiled a very large list of debtors – there are over 5,000 debtors on it” [the city’s boot] List, “City Parking Manager Michael Rivera told council members at their council meeting on January 10th.

Officials made their first announcement of the return of the practice in an issue of E-News, an online compendium of news the city posts to subscribers.

A link was included with the article so that individuals could see how many unpaid quotes they have and whether they qualify to boot.

During the brief council discussion, Devon Reid, a member of the 8th ward council, asked Rivera how to remove a person from the list.

The barnacle is a flat plastic device that is placed over the windshield and blocks a car with more than 3 city parking tickets (photo by Heidi Randhava)

“And I think I’m particularly curious about people’s equality, too,” he said.

He added, “When we have 5,000 people on this list, I would like to know where these households are.

“Are there a large number in the fifth church? [located in west Evanston], in the eighth district? I know our two districts have the highest rates of poverty, and I could imagine the tickets chasing this too.

“And if there is an emergency,” he continued, “I would like to know if we can apply” [federal COVID recovery] ARPA funds to help people pay city fees, especially when we have money we owe, and we can use our funds to meet that revenue and save people. I think this is a win-win situation for the city. “

Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski emphasized: “We have payment plans for individuals and the city works with people who are in debt.

“The goal is not to boot,” she said. “The goal is to try to get everyone back into compliance.”

After a vehicle has three or more permanent unpaid parking tickets, a letter is currently being mailed to alert the registered owner that the vehicle will be decommissioned, officials said.

If the fine is not paid within 21 days from the date of notification, the vehicle will be placed on the immobilization list, it said. The owner can challenge the validity of the notice by requesting a hearing within 21 days of the date of the notice and appearing in the city’s administrative court for evidence.

Discharge provisions

Rivera said the program was similar to a program set up for people struggling to pay water and electricity bills.

In this program, administered by the City Collector’s office, people in need can apply for a payment plan, “and we would also be willing to work with them to reduce the escalation fees that may have been added to the quotes” , he said.

Councilor Clare Kelly, 1st Ward, asked about the form of notification – how individuals are alerted when their vehicle is eligible to boot.

“Would you just email them … or would they just find out, ‘Oh my god, I just got a trunk on my car.'”

She argued: “We should get out as much as possible” [about the appeals process] on the city’s website, “because getting a trunk in your car is so terrible”.

Rivera said he would speak to the city’s community engagement team to see if the city could continue posting news about the boat program during the month of March.

Those who want to check the status of citations online can visit https://evanston.rmcpay.com/.

For more information on the city’s boat program, visit https://www.cityofevanston.org/residents/parking/boot-program.

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