No more saving shoveled spots

Residents asked to take items inside
January 22, 2009 3:27:45 PM PST
Drivers who have staked a claim on the city's snow-packed streets are going to have to give up that parking spot.The city of Chicago is asking residents to start removing items left on the street to save a parking space.

"We have ice that's still on the ground and snow and cars that are blocked in. Time to get rid of the stuff," said Tammy Marshall, driver. "I think it's a good idea," said Christina Charria.

"I see that before the snow even falls people have got the chairs out. Before it even comes out," said Ald. Dick Mell, 33rd Ward.

The city does not advocate residents saving spaces, but does understand why some people do it. The department of streets and sanitation says they are tolerant of these items because their main focus during a storm is plowing and salting to maintain public safety.

"The people who put their markers out there, you're obstructing the public way. You can't do that at this point of the year," said Matt Smith, streets and sanitation spokesperson.

Side streets in the 33rd Ward are covered with space savers, which led Ald. Richard Mell to ask residents to stop this practice.

"People have actually gotten in fights over these things. A couple of years ago, there was a shooting. That's the last thing I want in my community," said Ald. Mell.

The city is asking residents to work together during this the break in the weather-- before freezing temperatures over the weekend -- to remove remaining snow around their cars and place that snow on the parkway.

"We will get a little melt over the next couple of days. People should start clearing out around the catch basins in their street. If you don't drain out it's going to stay above the surface and we'll get a refreeze," said Smith.

Mell encourages people to organize shoveling parties to clear the block's curbside parking. He has been doing it for years and has received letter from neighbors thanking him for being a good neighbor.

"Every time the snow comes I take the snow blower out and I do this whole block. It's not anything I want a pat on the back for; It's just things we do as neighbors," said Mell.