Snow And Ice Force Chicago To Suspend Street-Sweeping This Week

Street sweeping sign
Dan X. O’Neil / Flickr
Street sweeping sign
Dan X. O’Neil / Flickr

Snow And Ice Force Chicago To Suspend Street-Sweeping This Week

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Updated 3:04 PM.

Winter weather came before fall is even over, and this week’s early dusting of snow means a bit of parking relief for Chicago drivers – no dibs needed.

The snow and ice that covered the city on Monday forced the city to focus more on plows and less on street-sweeping.

As a result, drivers can ignore any orange street-sweeping signs in place for this week.

According to an analysis of street-sweeping data, nearly every ward would be affected by the cancellation.

“Street Sweeping operations have been cancelled for the remainder of this week. [The Department of Streets and Sanitation] will resume sweeping on Monday according to the regular schedule and make up the missed days after the schedule season ends, weather permitting,” according to Marjani Williams, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Street and Sanitation.

Williams said it’s not uncommon for street sweeping to be cancelled during periods of extreme weather.

“[The Department of Streets and Sanitation] monitors weather and ground conditions to determine if operations will need to be cancelled,” she said in a statement. “Once cancelled, DSS provides notice to the Chicago Police Department so that parking restrictions are not enforced this week.”

In April of last year, 1,000 residents received $60 tickets during a spring-time snow storm.

The city eventually voided all those tickets.

The Chicago Police Department has not responded to inquiries on whether ticketing has stopped.

The city’s Finance Department said that if violations were issued when street cleaning was not performed, the department will dismiss the tickets and issue refunds for any payments.

Ticketing Can’t Keep Pace With Weather

Chicago’s winter parking rules were created in 1980 by the late Mayor Jane Byrne, and haven’t been updated since. (Some tried under the previous administration.)

The city’s winter parking ban is expected to take effect next month, and separate WBEZ investigations have shown the city likely loses money on enforcing the ban, and residents are actually more likely to be towed on days when it doesn’t snow.

Another investigation found that 142 car-owners lost their cars to the winter parking ban, and were sold at scrap prices under $200 to a politically connected private towing firm.

Chicago’s weather-related ticketing and towing has led to logistical headaches with enforcement – and has had disparate impacts on low-income and minority communities.

A WBEZ investigation last year found that police on the South Side issued more tickets for unshoveled sidewalks and violating the city’s parking ban when there are 2 inches of snow.

Revising the winter parking rules was one of recommendations made by the fines and fees task force report issued last December by City Clerk Anna Valencia.

So far, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration has yet to call dibs on revising the city’s winter parking rules.

Elliott Ramos is WBEZ’s data editor. Follow him @ChicagoEl