Mayor Lightfoot Proposes Changes To City's Parking Ticket Fees, Fines

Craig Dellimore
July 23, 2019 - 1:29 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Lightfoot Administration has outlined a sweeping plan to try to ease the burden of city parking ticket fines and the like on lower-income people.

You can have your driver’s license suspended if you fail to pay too many Chicago parking tickets and the fines double. The proposals from Mayor Lightfoot and City Clerk Anna Valencia would change that and more. That’s good news to Ulysses Ortega who almost lost his license that way.

"Thanks to Revolution Workshop, financially I was able to keep my license," he said. "I do construction for a living and in this field you need a car, it's essential in this field; and without a car you would not be able to pay the bills."

The Mayor also wants to create realistic payment plans, limits on when a car’s booted, and an end to suspending someone’s driver’s licenses for not paying tickets.

“The bold reforms we’re announcing are designed to be the first step in ending the practices of balancing the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “By adopting these reforms Chicago can provide people real pathways and not obstacles to pay their debt while also receiving revenue that may otherwise remain unpaid.”

Lightfoot also hopes the city won’t lose money. 

"Ultimately, it will be net-neutral, meaning that we will not lose revenue," Lightfoot said. "What we've seen is, and I think the clerk talked about this, is lengthy payment plans typically after about three months, people just stop and they don't pay and we have mountains of uncollected debt. We hope that this will spur people to actually get on board and pay their tickets. We are already looking at ways we can incentivize the people that already have the current debt."

Right now, she says, many people just stop paying, overwhelmed by the amounts owed.

The plan’s being introduced to the City Council this week.


Below are the proposed changes the Mayor will introduce to the City Council:

  • Ending the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for non-moving violations.
  • Reinstating the 15-day grace period to renew a city vehicle sticker before issuing a ticket.
  • No longer doubling the $200 fine for not renewing a city vehicle sticker; the city currently doubles fines after 83 days.
  • Halting the practice of issuing multiple tickets on the same day or consecutive days for vehicle sticker violations.
  • Creating a six-month ticket payment plan open to every driver with unpaid fines, and granting more time to motorists facing financial hardship.
  • Allowing drivers whose cars have been booted for unpaid fines a 24-hour extension to either pay their fines in full or enter into a payment plan before their car is towed to the pound.