Heavy snow leads to 'dibs' disputes over street parking

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Estella Mendez awoke Thursday morning to find her front passenger tire slashed - an inconvenience that may have been caused by a dispute over dibs.

Mendez, a resident of the city's Avondale neighborhood, says her neighbor was upset she parked in the spot. She said he had claimed dibs on the spot even though she and other neighbors cleared out a number other spots and put no claim on them.

Mendez says she called police, but she has no proof of who cut her tire.

Dibs, of course, is a winter tradition in Chicago. And a drive down many residential streets in the city will reveal any number of creative objects used to hold street parking spots. And even after someone has dug out a spot, many times it is still tough to try to reclaim it on snow-covered streets.

Carlos Salaman is busy digging his car out for the first time this week, but he has no plans to try to call dibs on the spot.

"I know that's illegal and I don't have time to be fighting with nobody," Salaman said.

Jose Gonzalez says he shoveled the sidewalk for most of his Northwest Side block. The sidewalk looks much better than the street, which neighbors say did not see a plow until Thursday, four days after the blizzard. And in the alley, garbage pickup has been spotty. Crews have emptied some cans, but left others untouched.

"I came to clean like six times, all the way down, because I care for people like seniors - they can't walk," Gonzalez said.

Dibs is not legal in the City of Chicago, however the city often looks the other way. In fact, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he supports the concept of dibs.
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