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City Still Towing And Ticketing Cars After West Loop Parking Ban Lifted

(CBS) -- Parking in the city can be expensive and frustrating.

CBS 2 found a West Loop parking ban that ended months ago is still being enforced.

As you can imagine, it is generating complaints from some neighbors and costing one resident more than $700.

CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker reports flyers were passed out and posted throughout the West Loop last July, announcing a two-hour parking ban aimed at preventing people who work or visit downtown from taking up the free spots all day long.

The ban ended in December, after neither local business owners nor West Loop residents supported it, but signs enforcing the parking restrictions did not come down.

"Nobody knows what's going on. It's just incredibly frustrating and costly," said Andrew Ripani, who parked two cars in the 400 block of South Morgan Street, only to find two days later that both had been ticketed and towed. "We're looking at close to $1,000 after all is said and done."

Ripani knew he parked under a sign prohibiting parking from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays, and clearly marked as a tow zone. However, he also knew it was for a parking ban that ended months ago. He'd called Ald. Robert Fioretti's office to confirm.

"They restated several times the ban has been lifted," he said.

Martha Goldstein, executive director of the West Loop Community Organization, said the signs should have been removed.

She tried to get the city to take them down, but since it didn't happen, she said "ban or no ban, we've got to be reasonable about this. Don't park there, because you're going to get a ticket, or you could get towed."

The city has not responded to requests for an explanation about why the signs weren't removed after the ban ended.

"What irks me the most is that they sure are quick to get these signs up, but when the program's over nobody cares. And why would they care? It's just another way for the city to get some revenue," Ripani said.

A representative for Fioretti's office said someone in the office did give Ripani the wrong information, and they will work with the city to try to get his fines and towing fees rescinded.

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