As a young man, I lived on the far west side of Chicago while working off the magnificent mile near downtown. Sometimes, when I was running late, or had to go to my part-time radio job right after work, I'd drive instead of taking the L. That meant feeding the parking meter or paying an arm and a leg to park in a garage, I always tried to do the meter, it was cheaper. Of course, if you forget to feed the meter, you get a parking ticket. Well, I irresponsibly became a Chicago parking scofflaw and wound up with my car getting booted until I paid my tickets. Now, the Chicago area has something worse than the boot, the Barnacle.

Parking Ticket Scofflaws in Chicago
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You know the boot, right? It's this yellow piece of metal municipalities and other entities with parking enforcement that can attach to your wheel that immobilizes your car. It makes your vehicle undrivable, and if you drive, it messes up your car. So when your vehicle gets booted, you have to go to the City, pay all the fines, and then they send a crew out to take the boot off.

I've been away from the Chicago area for a while, and it seems ins some towns around Chicago the boot has been replaced by the Barnacle. What's the Barnacle? It's this big device that sticks to your window with suction cups and is impossible to remove. The idea is, that you can't see out the windshield with the Barnacle, so your car is immobile.

Rob Swarczewski
Rob Swarczewski


If you try to drive with it, there's a piercing alarm that goes off and each Barnacle device has a GPS on it so police can find you. Not to mention, that you'd be completely obvious driving down the street with this municipal device impeding your view and making a racket with its alarms going off.

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According to Barnacle Parking, which is the company that offers this parking enforcement device, selling points include that it's easier and quicker to deploy for parking enforcement officers, there's no bending down and dealing with a dirty tire and wheel, and since it's quick to deploy and can be removed by the vehicle owner when fines are paid, parking enforcement officers have much less direct contact with angry parking scofflaws.

Barnacle Parking also makes the argument that between its ease of use, the technology put into its system, and the fact the vehicle owner can remove and return the device after dealing with their violation or parking tickets, it's more versatile than the boot and can be used in several different ways beyond going after serial parking violators who don't pay their bills.

So there you have it, there is a fate worse than the boot when you're a parking scofflaw, it's the Barnacle. I guess it still beats getting towed though.

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