Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tow Zone - oh, really?

Recently many No Parking signs were erected on and around the campus of McHenry County College. I'm sympathetic to the parking problems at the College, both on behalf of students, faculty, staff and visitors. These problems have resulted from sharp enrollment increases.

But are the parking restrictions legal? What if they aren't? What if the signs have no legal effect? Worse - if the signs aren't "legal", what if someone's car gets towed or ticketed?

An earlier call today to IDOT to ask whether the signs on U.S. 14 (top photo) are "legal" has not yet been returned. My question to IDOT was, "Are the parking signs on both sides of U.S. 14 legal?"

The signs are not regulation signs that meet the standards of the "Bible" followed by IDOT. The signs are temporary signs, similar to electioneering signs, small and erected in wire frames. IDOT likes signs on metal posts.

Now, what about the signs along perimeter roads, such as College Entrance 1 Road, and the driveways of the parking lots? Are these "No Parking - Tow Zone" signs legal? First, it was important to learn whether the perimeter roads were public roads or private roads.

The Crystal Lake Streets Department says the perimeter roads around the MCC campus are not public streets. So why are there Crystal Lake Police enforcement signs along them?
I called the Administration office of Crystal Lake to ask if there is a City ordinance about parking at MCC. They were going to direct my inquiry to the police department for response. So far, no call back from the Crystal Lake P.D. Keep in mind - these signs warn that the "No Parking - Tow Zone" ban is by order of the Crystal Lake Police.

Now, about the parking lots at MCC. Clearly, MCC can create its parking rules for the parking lots. These are private property. But can they use warning signs announcing the authority of the Crystal Lake Police?
I'm awaiting a return call from MCC with information as to who installed the No Parking signs and who paid for them.

Watch for more information about the legality of the No Parking signs.


Gus said...

I just received a very informative call from the Crystal Lake Police and learned that in 2006 the State legislature enacted a law that allows police to enforce traffic laws on otherwise-private roads of schools and other taxing entities.

So, speeding and other State driving violations can be enforced at MCC, on the perimeter roads and in the parking lots. Except speeding in the 15MPH zone cannot be enforced, because it's not the proper speed limit on the perimeter roads.

Usually the No Parking signs which have sprung up at MCC are used on a temporary basis for special events in Crystal Lake, such as the Gala at Lippold Park on Highway 176.

Does MCC need to use a different No Parking sign that does not bear the name of the Crystal Lake Police?

DownByTheRiver said...

Hoo Boy! Here's a "thicket"!

I guess overall, the CL PD can enforce anything regarding public safety and such, so I guess we're covered here.

Your very posts have made this point regarding police "ooopsies" regarding accidents that occur due to parking on the side of the road where none is usually anticipated.

You know, having been parked, and pulling a "U-ie" into traffic and getting t-boned.

If police personnel can't handle their responsibility for safe conduct in this regard, why believe that the general public can handle this responsibility either?