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CDOT is Fining Businesses $500 for Having Sandwich Board Sidewalk Signs

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The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) under the new leadership of Gabe Klein will, starting today be issuing $500 fines to businesses who have un-permitted sidewalk signage and products that obstruct the public right of way.

Jessica Hammer the Program & Administrative Coordinator of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce said that in an email that worked its way down the chain of command and into business owners' inboxes yesterday, CDOT told the Department of Housing and Economic Development to spread the word through the Neighborhood Chambers of Commerce to tell their members that $500 fines will be issued starting Friday. Ahem, that was a total of one days notice. The signage being targeted is specifically A-frame and sandwich boards. Under the same category is racks of clothing, furniture, tables of merchandise - anything a business wants to creatively display in front of its' storefront.

Adam Burck from the Wicker Park/ Bucktown Chamber of Commerce wrote in a mass email yesterday, “We only heard of this today and the enforcement begins tomorrow, so it is essential to spread the word fast!” Adam wrote, adding, “There is a $500 fine. We do not want our local business owners taking a $500 hit during these tough economic times, so please help spread the word ASAP to your business neighbors, particularly those with this type of signage. They should take it down by tomorrow, Friday September 30th.”

Reason being for this crack down is that this type of signage is not fixed and can blow over in the wind or can be tripped upon and situations similar to this. Anything in the public right of way requires a permit from the Department of Consumer Affairs and Consumer Protection ie signage. The problem here is that there is no actual permit available for this type of signage. And there never will be a permit available for something that isn't fixed or placement can be controlled.

On a similar note, The Chicago Pipeline points out, Chicago’s Commissioner of Transportation, Gabe Klein has stickered fines onto Reader, Tribune, and other daily boxes at Armitage and California, noting that if the boxes aren’t removed within 10 days, they will be removed and destroyed “at your expense.”
· Chicago Department of Transportation [Official Site]
· The City of Chicago [Official Site]
· Foresight Design Initiative via Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber Facebook [Official Blog]