Heavy snowfall brings 'dibs' back to Chicago streets

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Friday's heavy snowfall brought Chicago's 'dibs' tradition back onto the streets. (WLS)

Friday's snow totals means that a time-honored Chicago tradition is in effect - claiming "dibs" on street parking.

Whether it's a shovel, broom, or snow brush, digging out a car on a Chicago side street is a lot of work. So when the job's done, residents mark their territory to ensure the spot will be waiting when they return.

"Growing up it's the unspoken rule," said Chicago resident Asad Desai. "You need to add some object to your territory."

Chicago parking 'dibs' takes ugly turn on North Center street


Those object can be anything from cones, folding chairs, plastic chairs, buckets and crates - and those are conservative options.

"I don't think it's a right or wrong thing to do, it's just the thing that happens," said Chicago resident Chuck Rowe. "Everybody does it."

The universal nature of the tradition is why city leaders often condone the practice.

"If someone spends all that time digging out a spot, do not drive into that spot," said former mayor Richard M. Daley in 2001.



One of Daley's quotes on the subject and "dibs" chairs are part of a "dibs" display in the lobby of Chicago advertising agency, Havas.

"We asked a lot of great Chicago artists to make their dibs chairs that we'll auction off for charity, raise money for the Lincoln Park Community Shelter," said Paul Hirsch of Havas Chicago.

The "dibs" chair is such a deep-rooted Chicago tradition that Siobhan Lesniak had one tattooed on her leg.

"I always get a kick out of dibs every winter, and what kind of ridiculous stuff people pull out of garages and basements to save spots," Lesniak said. "To me, the chair is classic."
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