Revenue versus Safety?

A few months ago, I received a parking ticket in downtown Libertyville. Actually, I had received the $20 ticket on the 2nd level of the parking structure just west of downtown Libertyville. My infraction, I had exceeded the parking limit of 4 hours by about 35 minutes.

A parking ticket is a parking ticket except there was only one other car on the 2nd level with a capacity of over 100 cars. Because it was my first parking infraction anywhere in Libertyville, it would have been nice to receive a warning. Thinking about things logically, I was not a threat to public safety.

Accepting responsibility, I proceeded to pay my fine and struck up a conversation with a Libertyville Police Officer about parking restrictions in the village. Thinking from a security perspective and less from a legal one, I asked him about illegal or overnight parking in the village and he said motorists would have to get approval for overnight parking. He also suggested I call the village if someone repeatedly parks overnight on a village street.

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My frustration, a law enforcement official gives me a ticket for exceeding the time limit when only one other car was on that level (safety concern?). On the other hand, a Libertyville law enforcement official tells me I have to call the police about overnight parking even though it could be argued this is a safety concern – especially with regular traffic on a narrow street where some folks exceed the speed limit. 

This frustration applies to other areas too, let’s consider shoveling snow. All year, I walk outdoors in many Libertyville neighborhoods and there are more than a few homeowners who don’t shovel their sidewalk. I typically have two options:  One, walk in the street or two, walk through the snow. We know the issues with option one and with option two, this becomes slippery and dangerous as the snow is compacted and becomes icy. Should not law enforcement hold homeowners accountable for not shoveling their snow without a complaint from a neighbor? Again, let’s think more about safety.

One more side note, in terms of walking in warmer weather, another potential hazard is trees on the parkway and front yards near the sidewalk. There are dozens of trees with low hanging branches in many neighborhoods throughout Libertyville. Could this be a public safety issue? Should not law enforcement hold homeowners accountable for their low hanging tree branches without a complaint from a neighbor? Again, let’s think more about safety.

My suggestion, focus less around minor parking infractions and focus more on public safety. Indeed, there are many opportunities here in Libertyville where this could apply – roads as well as the sidewalks. If someone is illegally parked downtown and it’s a public safety issue, issue the violator a ticket. If someone doesn’t shovel their sidewalk on a village street within a day or two of significant snow, issue a ticket. The priority should first be on safety before law enforcement officials begin enforcing minor infractions that has little or nothing to do with safety.