Matt Chapman used the Freedom of Information Act to get the City of Chicago's very mess parking ticket data; after enormous and heroic data normalization, Chapman was able to pinpoint one of the city's most confusing parking spots, between 1100-1166 N State St, which cycled between duty as a taxi-stand and a parking spot with a confusingly placed and semi-busted parking meter.
After surveying the site and deducing the problem, Chapman contacted the alderman responsible for that stretch of North State Street, and, eight months later, the signage was cleaned up and made more intuitive.
Followup data analysis showed that Chapman's work had halved the number of parking tickets issued on the spot, with 600-odd fewer tickets in the past 20 months, for a savings of $60,000 to Chicago motorists.
It's a really first-rate example of how open municipal data can be used to identify and remediate everyday annoyances and broken stuff in our cities.
Things going on that make this spot confusing:
1. This is a taxi stand from 7pm to 5am for three cars’ lengths. Parking in a taxi stand is a $100 ticket.
2. When this spot isn’t a taxi stand, it’s metered parking – for a parking meter beyond an alleyway.
3. It’s possible to pay for parking here after 7pm, which makes it look like parking is acceptable – especially with the “ParkChicago” sign floating there.
4. Confusion creates more confusion – if one car parks there, then more cars follow. Cha-ching.
Using FOIA Data and Unix to halve major source of parking tickets [Matt Chapman/Mchap.io]
(via Dan Hon)
In the late 1950s, a truck carrying a cement mixer crashed on E300 Road between Talala and Winganon, Oklahoma. Apparently too heavy for anyone to deal with, the mixer sat for decades where it was occasionally graffitied or whimsically decorated. In 2011, artists Heather and Barry Thomas celebrated their wedding anniversary by transforming the drum […]
In this fun episode of Mark Frauenfelder and Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools podcast, they talk with Lux Sparks-Pescovitz, 14, about his passion for GameBoys, cassettes, DIY sushi, and his new iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. He’s quite an interesting young man; I’d like to meet his parents someday. Listen here: Cool Tools · 234: Lux Sparks-Pescovitz
When you’re ready to take a break from doomscrolling, stop and send your scream to Iceland. It will be blasted from a real speaker that has been placed in one of the country’s regions. “Scream therapy.” You’ve been through a lot this year and it looks like you need the perfect place to let your […]
“The way to have power is to take it.” — Boss Tweed. We think an 18th-century political power broker probably had a different definition of power in mind when he made that statement, yet the sentiment still applies. We’ve all got devices all but falling out of our pockets and the need for power to […]
If the last 50 years of education have taught us nothing else, it’s that it often requires different tactics to best reach different learners. To pick up a foreign language, some students take best to the old-school high school language lab method, using heavy repetition, verb conjugation and grammar emphasis to embed a new language. […]
For those who want a career in video games, there’s no reason to sit around and wait. EA and Rockstar Games probably aren’t going to seek you out and knock on your door with a job opportunity. But if you’re an indie developer with a good idea and some passion, you can create a really […]