Eyes on the Street: The Perks of Being a Federal Employee

Vehicles parked on the sidewalk by the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Photo: J. Patrick Lynch

Our colleagues at Streetsblog NYC frequently report on the problem of public employees, especially police officers, abusing their authority by blocking sidewalks and bike lanes with their vehicle. While Chicago police cars and other city vehicles are occasionally spotted in bike lanes and crosswalks in our city, sidewalk parking doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue here. However, it does happen from time to time.

Streetsblog Chicago reader J. Patrick Lynch passed along these photos of this phenomenon at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the triangular federal prison located on Clark Street between Van Buren and LaSalle Street. Even though the jail has an attached seven-story parking garage, Lynhc spotted several employee cars parked on the sidewalk, as well as a box truck.

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Photo: J. Patrick Lynch

While the sidewalk is wide enough that people on foot can pass the illegally parked vehicles, still represents a basic lack of respect for pedestrian space. The Jeep is the most egregious example, as it obscures the view of people leaving the driveway,” Lynch noted.

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Same as it ever was. Vehicles parked on the sidewalk by the prison in 2007 and 2013. Images: Google Street View.

Judging from numerous Google Street View images of the site shot over the last decade, this situation is the rule rather than an exception. Just about all of the six archived Street Views show employee vehicles and delivery trucks on the sidewalk.


Eyes on the Street: Police Blocking Bike Lanes, Sidewalks

Over the past few months, I have witnessed several instances of the Chicago Police Department violating the laws they are entrusted to enforce — namely, those laws that keep bike lanes and sidewalks clear from obstructions like automobiles. In none of these instances were public safety emergencies apparent within the immediate area, nor were any […]