Winter reminders, 2014-2015

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As winter approaches, it is always helpful to review the City’s winter parking restrictions and snow removal procedures. Chicago’s annual snow-related parking restrictions will begin on Monday, December 1, at 3 am on a number of critical arterial streets and will end on Wednesday, April 1, regardless of snowfall or accumulation.

Motorists ignoring the posted seasonal tow zone face a minimum $150 towing fee in addition to a $50 ticket and an initial $10 daily storage fee.

A separate ban on parking exists on additional main streets when there are 2 inches of snow on the street, regardless the time of day or the calendar date. These streets include Halsted-Armitage-Clark-North-Division-Lincoln-Clybourn-Fullerton and Diversey.

Both of these seasonal restrictions are marked by signs that are permanently posted on designated routes. They constitute Chicago’s “Snow Route System,” which was created in response to massive snowstorms. These routes must be clear for emergency vehicle access.

In addition to parking issues, there are many safety issues related to snowfalls. In accordance with 10-8-180 Snow and Ice Removal Policy, every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or other person having responsibility of any building or lot of ground in the city abutting upon any public way or public place shall remove the snow from the sidewalk in front of such building or lot.

The City of Chicago’s “Request a Snow Corp Volunteer,” connects volunteers with residents in need of snow removal, such as seniors and residents with disabilities.  To request a volunteer to shovel your block in case of extreme snowfall, call 311.

According to the City of Chicago municipal code, residents and business owners have three hours to clear the snow if it stops falling by 4 pm (except Sundays). If the snow stops falling after 4 pm or on a Sunday, snow must be cleared before 10 am the next day. Individuals who do not comply with the sidewalk snow ordinance can face fines of $50. Businesses that do not comply with the sidewalk snow removal ordinance can face fines from $200 to $500 per day of violation.

A “Snow – Uncleared Sidewalk” report can be submitted to the City of Chicago 311 Service Request line. (Dial 311 or online at of Outside of the city limits, call 312-744-5000.

  • When making this call or report, be sure the problem occurs on the sidewalk.
  • Do not use this category to report snow on streets, parking lots, or alleys.
  • Provide a specific address where the issue occurs.
  • Request a reference number from the operator; this will help track the status and resolution of the request.

In case of severely frozen snow and ice, the person having responsibility of the sidewalk is required to place ashes, sand, sawdust or other suitable materials to eliminate any danger to pedestrians. There is a provision that protects people who remove snow or ice at such locations from being held liable for civil damages.

If you have a neighbor who is elderly or otherwise physically unable to clear his or her own sidewalk, please call your Alderman and he or she will attempt to find volunteers to assist.

The Municipal Code of Chicago requires individuals to clear a 5-foot-wide path along the sidewalk, where conditions allow.

Most Efficient Ways to Remove Snow from the Sidewalk:

  • Remove snow and ice along ALL sidewalks adjacent to your property
  • Move snow to your yard or the parkway adjacent to your property
  • Do not push snow from the sidewalk into the street
  • Do not cover the crosswalks with snow
  • Do not block alley entrances with snow
  • Do not pile snow around fire hydrants

Good Business Neighbor Guidelines:

• As winter approaches, all snow or ice must be removed from the walkway in front of your business.

• Sweep and clean up any trash around your property. Please sweep in front of your neighbors, as well.

• Keep lights on in front and rear of your property. If a light fixture needs to be changed, please call 311.

• If there are any vacant storefronts or door- ways near your business, remove newspapers or exposed mail that is present.

• If there is a vacant property that needs maintenance, notify the owner or real estate agent or contact your local Alderman’s office.

• Do not let trash receptacles near your property overflow with garbage.

• Maintain and keep dumpster storage areas and adjacent alley areas clean and free of debris.

Note: “Sandwich advertising boards” are not eligible for city permits and are city Public Way offenses and will be ticketed by the city.

Patty Hayes chairs SNA’s Neighborhood Relations Committee.