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It's Time To Really Clean Up The Streets

By Jocelyn Geboy in News on Dec 19, 2005 7:40PM

Chicagoist has always said we should be on the payroll at City Hall to do PR for this fine city. We can go on and on about what a fine city this is, and will often do so with passion. World Championship sports teams, an incredible lakefront, a world-class skyline, and a public transportation system that has its faults, but really gets us where we need to go. We have a plethora of drooltastic restaurants, a wealth of art and culture, tons of live music, and the majesty that is the grid. We have a Midwestern friendliness and a down-to-earth way about us you won’t find in New York or Paris.

the great escape -- pantagrapher

But there’s two things we’ve never been able to get on board with: the incessant honking that passes for vehicular conversation on the streets of Chicago, and the streetwise concept of “dibs.” This is the winterly practice whereby a resident on a side street will dig out one's car to go somewhere after a large snowstorm/blizzard. After the feats of strength, they will note that the work involved shall not go to waste by having some Johnny-come-lately just happen by after their trip to the Jewels. The resident will call “dibs” by putting any and all manner of items in recently cleaned spot to save it.

Items Chicagoist has seen in the 8 years we have lived here? Most prevalent: lawn chairs, brooms, saw horses, milk crates, garbage cans. We’ve also seen: orange cones, playpens, ladders, old tables, and other various and sundry items from the garage (you name it, we’ve seen it). The gist seems to be something shitty enough that people don’t want to steal, big enough so you can’t park on it, and also large enough to be seen. Oh, and for those of you not at all familiar with this practice and are thinking, “What’s the big deal, just throw the crap to the curb and park there!?” We’d like to suggest otherwise. We’ve heard horror stories about people who have gotten their whole cars iced, their tires slashed, or their mirrors broken in acts of retaliation for going against the code of “dibs.”

dibs -- wselman

We get it. It takes a lot of work to get out of the spot and it sucks to have done it only to have some jackass take your spot and all the credit a mere five minutes later. But it makes everything look trashy and gross, and at some point it seems like you just have to roll the dice and go with the luck of the draw. Chicagoist has driven around for a good twenty minutes at 2 am in the middle of summer looking for a spot sometimes, and it’s not like we get to mark our kickass spot in front of our house with a nasty piece of furniture when we leave at 9 pm. That’s the way the cookie crumbles in the city. If you don’t like it, buy a parking spot, no?

However, the last time we heard, the city doesn't care what we think -- even the mayor backed the practice up. So, in the spirit of public service, we want to let you know that the city has finally said for this time out, enough is enough. The snow’s been gone long enough, and if you don’t take your stuff off the street, they’re throwing it out starting tomorrow.

Images via flickr -- pantagrapher; wselman