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Ask Chicagoist: What's With the Two Inches?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Feb 15, 2008 8:34PM

2008_02_asksnowroute.jpgWhat's up with the do not park here if snow is over 2"?

Does that mean if they predict it is going to be 2 inches, if they measure with a ruler that it is 2 inches? When can I park there again? After it stops snowing? After I shovel it? In spring? What the crap?

Dear Two Inches,

See, this is exactly what we're talking about. February is such a dismal month, and we aren't sure why we all shouldn't just hibernate for the duration (oh, right). For the last two weeks all we can seem to talk about here on Ask Chicagoist is winter, snow removal, and other cold-oriented topics. Everything's gray, it's stupidly cold, more snow is in our future, and everyone's just got a good layer of grouchiness. But today there is sun, so we won't ask too many questions. We've about had it with being cold though.

It's pretty simple -- when there's snow, they've got to clear the streets. And they're not going to be super nice about it, either, meaning the city isn't sitting with a ruler staring with baited breath at the accumulation of snow. If it's predicted to snow, or if the snow is falling fast, you better move your car because if there's one thing Chicago's serious about, it's snow removal. Cars still on the road when the streets are plowed will wind up being trapped in by the snow that's plowed away from the main street and pushes up against the cars. So you'd have to dig it out, and that's nothing but annoying for you, so we think you might as well take the city at their word on this one.

There's snow much more where that came from...

Chicago's snow route was created initially "as a response to massive snow storms, such as the Great Blizzard of '67, which literally brought traffic to a halt citywide." Main streets in the city have the winter overnight parking ban, and the rest of the major streets (500 miles worth, apparently) have the two-inch regulation. If you're caught violating, your car will likely be ticketed and towed or moved elsewhere. And that sounds like fun, doesn't it? Trying to figure out where the city moved your car?

As for when can you park there again, use common sense. If it's still snowing, then, no, don't park there again: They're just going to have to plow all over. If the street's obviously not been plowed, also avoid parking there, even if it's not snowing anymore. But you don't have to wait until April, either. Specifically, our old friend the Chicago Municipal Code says to not park when the snow's over two inches "until the snow stops falling and for the necessary period of time until all snow removal operations have been completed." In other words, just think about it.

Word on the street is that you could get moved when snow is imminent or before the falling snow has actually officially made it to two inches, so pay attention to those signs! And check out these maps of the streets with the parking restrictions, to help you plan your parking strategy.

Image via smussyolay

Sick of winter? Need some advice? Email ask(at)chicagoist(dot)com.