I have been asked by an uncle if I would like to his 91 Mercedes 300E (he has supplied all of his children and is now moving to the extended family). It has 230K km (140K miles) and looks to be in pretty good condition. He’s mentioned that it has been very reliable. The purchase price would be negligible and the insurance is reasonable. One of my concerns is that I would be using the car as my daily driver (it would be replacing my current 99 Grand Am (170K miles) and I wanted to get another take on that – is it reasonable, or is it not a good idea.
I’ve read a bit up on that vehicle and it seems to have a decent reputation for longevity (with the required maintenance). I was hoping if you could provide some insight as to whether this seems like a feasible idea, or would I just be better off sticking with the Grand Am.
Every morning, children who walk to school are familiar with the smiling, friendly faces and the outstretched arms of their local crossing guard who ensures they get safely to class each day during the school year.
But what do crossing guards do when school’s out for summer?
At least some of the friendly faced school crossing guards are spending their summer vacation writing parking tickets to Chicago drivers on behalf of the city.
It began as a pilot program last summer, and as a way to give crossing guards a way to continue to bring in a paycheck when school was finished in June, according to Crossing Guard Coordinator John Maciezjewski, a retired police officer. This year it has been rolled out city wide to give summer employment opportunities to the over 1100 crossing guards working for the city.
The Village of Palatine, Illinois prints the personal information of vehicle owners — including their address, driver’s license number, date-of-birth and weight — on parking tickets left under the windshield wipers of their automobiles. In a ruling handed down last month, the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals found no problem with this procedure.
Motorist Jason Senne had filed suit against what he saw as an outrageous violation of privacy after he received a $20 parking ticket in August 2010. The information printed on the citation, and left open to anyone walking past his vehicle, could be used by an identity thief. Senne argued this was a violation of the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act which prohibits disclosure or otherwise making available the information found in motor vehicle records.
The highest court in Massachusetts believes there is no due process problem with charging motorists $300 to challenge a $5 or $15 parking ticket. On Thursday, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the appeal procedures in the city of Northampton satisfied constitutional requirements even though motorists were denied an in-person hearing to contest the legitimacy of a citation. The city only allowed people either to pay the fine in full or send “a signed statement explaining his objections.”
Colliers International has come out with its 2011 parking survey results for North America [PDF] and the world [PDF], and you might be surprised by what people pay on average to let their car sit somewhere. The global expensive parking crown (on a monthly basis) goes to London’s West End, which runs a cool $1,014 per month… by comparison, the US average is $155.22 per month. On a daily basis, Copenhagen takes the cake with $73.11, with the highest daily rate in the US coming to $41 per day in Midtown Manhattan. Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
I saw some great right-hand-drive machinery on the streets of St. Ann’s Parish, Jamaica, during my visit last week, but sometimes it’s the little details that really let you know you’re rolling in a strange foreign land. (Read More…)
Indianapolis, Indiana followed in the footsteps on Chicago, Illinois by deciding on Monday to sell its parking meters to a private company — a decision that has proved highly controversial in the Windy City. The vote was a close one.
The Indianapolis parking meter deal squeaked through the city council 15 to 14. Under the arrangement council members approved, the city will lease out 3700 metered spaces for fifty years for only $20 million up front. The city will get to share in the revenues which, according to city estimates, will bring in $620 million over the life of the lease. The Indianapolis contract, unlike the terms of Chicago’s relatively inflexible deal, does provide the option of opting out of the deal every ten years.
A motorist filed a federal lawsuit against Chicago, Illinois police officers who issued twenty-four bogus parking tickets against him over the course of fourteen months. The tickets arrived in groups of three and four and were for violations that frequently contradicted one another, requiring the vehicle to be in more than one place at a time. Mark Geinosky suspects they conspired against him to extract revenge on behalf of his ex-wife.
“Plaintiff alleges that he received tickets for violations which never occurred, and which the defendant officers knew had not occurred, as part of a deliberate campaign by officers in Unit 253 to harass him,” Geinosky’s lawyer wrote in a brief to the court. “Plaintiff was forced, over and over again, to respond to bogus parking tickets which the defendant officers gave him for malicious reasons.”
The California state Senate last week gave preliminary approval to legislation giving local governments the green light to install automated ticketing machines on street sweepers to generate parking tickets. The measure, introduced by state Assemblyman Steven C. Bradford (D-Gardena), passed in the lower chamber in April by a 49 to 24 vote. It would go to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) upon a final vote by the Senate and an Assembly vote to approving the upper chamber’s amendments. On Friday, the full legislature sent a related measure cracking down on municipalities that have been using an unauthorized civil fine system to bypass state traffic laws for speeding and red light camera tickets.
In December 2008, the city of Chicago, Illinois leased for 75 years its 36,000-space parking meter system to Chicago Parking Meters LLC. This firm, which is owned primarily by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, made a one-time, $1.16 billion up-front payment for the right to collect meter revenue for the life of the deal. By next year, Mayor Richard M. Daley will have spent the entire payment shoring up the budgets for 2010 and 2011.
Our Korea-based contributor Walter Foreman already suspected that the new Hyundai Avante might be one of the world’s first mass-market compact car with a self-parking feature (similar systems are offered on the Toyota Prius and Euro-market VW Golf), and this video proves that he was dead right. What’s still not clear is whether self-parking is standard on the new Avante (launching August 2 in Korea), or whether it will be offered when it comes stateside as either the 2011 or 2012 Elantra. This would be the ultimate challenge for such technology, as legal concerns allegedly kept Volkswagen’s pioneering system out of the US. Still, Hyundai had the cojones to equip its mass-market C-segment car with technology that just a few years ago was available only on the Lexus LS. That’s exactly the kind of decision that has Hyundai raising eyebrows across the industry.
No, this has nothing to do with a Hollywood blockbuster… we think the new Avante/Elantra could be the first self-parking mass-market compact car. Take a closer look at the now infamous video clip of men in suits trying to park the next-generation Hyundai Avante. The first 20 seconds clearly show the driver’s hands on the steering wheel. After that however, the audience never gets a clear view of the cockpit. Someone is either obstructing the camera or the scene cuts away. When we do happen to catch a glimpse of the steering wheel (at 00:25 for example), it appears to move on its own. Granted, the driver could be grasping the wheel at the six o’clock position, out of view of the camera, but I think there’s something more to the situation than that.
British officials are making plans to impose a tax on speeding and parking citations this year in an effort to raise money to cover a growing budget deficit. Secretary of State for Justice Claire Ward announced the plan in a written answer to a question posed by Member of Parliament Greg Knight. The new revenue would be labeled as a “victims’ surcharge.” (Read More…)