There are lots of things to love about living in Chicago apartments, but the parking situation is not one of them. Finding parking can be a pain in the Windy City any time of year, but it reaches ridiculous heights of difficulty during the winter. If you have never before experienced the hassle of winter street parking in Chicago, prepare yourself for the worst. It becomes especially bad when the city’s annual winter overnight parking ban goes into effect. If you want to find parking more easily and avoid getting your car towed this winter, follow this guide to understand winter street parking around Chicago apartments.
Understanding the Winter Overnight Parking Ban
Every year on December 1, the city of Chicago institutes its annual winter overnight parking ban. This ban prevents people from parking on the city’s major arterial streets from 3 am to 7 am every night. The ban lasts until April 1. Cars that are found on these streets during the banned hours will be towed. When they are towed, the owners have to pay a $150 towing fee, a $60 fine and $20 per day in storage fees. You can check this map to see the streets where parking is banned. If you think that your car has been towed, you can check at this site to find out where it is.
In addition to the major arterial streets where parking is banned every winter night from 3 am to 7 am, the city also bans parking on many other secondary arterial streets when the snowfall totals reach two inches or more. Both of these parking bans were put into effect to make it easier for the city’s road crews to plow and salt the streets. They were created after major snowstorms in the 60s and 70s ground the city to a halt when plows were unable to do their jobs due to excessive numbers of parked cars.
Tips for Parking in the Winter
Obviously, you want to avoid winter street parking on the major arterial streets all winter. However, you also want to avoid parking on the secondary arterial streets if there is snow in the forecast. There is nothing more aggravating than waking up to find your car missing when you need to get to work. If you want to prevent this, your best bet is to always park on side streets.
However, when you do park on side streets near Chicago apartments, you need to keep in mind that your car will get blocked in by snow drifts when the plows go through. When this happens, you will need to dig your car out with a snow shovel. Make sure that you always have a shovel in your car to dig yourself out. You should also have a scraper to clear your windows and some de-icer to unfreeze your door lock.
One of the more curious customs in Chicago is the tradition of “dibs.” After people go through the hassle of digging out their cars from a snow-covered parking space, they feel like it gives them the right to claim the space permanently. In order to mark the space as theirs, people will put old lawn furniture or other junk in their spot to show that other cars should not park in this. While this is not a law, many people accept it. If you park in a spot that someone has claimed with dibs, you should prepare for the fact that the spot’s previous occupant could retaliate. This retaliation may include things like shoveling snow onto your car or pouring water on the locks to make them freeze over.