The Lowdown On Snow Routes
With the Overnight Winter Parking Ban just kicking in Monday, December 1st, we thought it would be appropriate to have a discussion about that other type of winter parking ban–the 2″ snow route.
During the middle of the summer, we received a question regarding snow routes from a reader named Jim.
I have no idea why Jim had such profound thoughts about snow in the middle of the summer, but it was a very good set of questions. Basically, he wanted to know under what exact circumstances does the 2″ ban kick in and when it does, how are drivers alerted.
First, let’s explain what the hell a snow route is, and why you may be asked to move your car if there is at least 2″ of snow on the ground.
While you cannot park from 3 AM – 7 AM every night/early morning on streets defined under the Overnight Winter Parking Ban, there are other major thoroughfares, (another 500 miles of roadway within Chicago) otherwise known as Snow Routes.
Technically, when 2″ of snow or more hits the ground, you need to move your vehicle elsewhere. Sometimes the 2″ snow ban and the overnight parking bans apply to the same streets.
If the ban is enacted, and your car remains unmoved along one of these main thorough fares, you risk a ticket and having your vehicle relocated via tow truck.
If your car is relocated, you won’t have to go down to the auto-pound , but you still have to find your car and you can be ticketed as well.
Map Of Snow Routes (2″ Snow Ban)
But, determining whether the 2″ ban is a confusing one for drivers. For example, there are parts of the city that may get more snow than others. Where is that 2″ measured and whom measures the 2″ of snow? Who determines if the 2″ ban is in effect or not.
Luckily, we have Matt Smith, an official spokesperson for the Chicago Dept. of Streets and Sanitation, to explain things to us.
“We do not enact the 2″ ban unless (Streets & Sanitiation) Commissioner Picardi determines that we need to do so because the vehicles present are a hindrance to our snow clearing operations,” explained Smith. “Two inches is a measurement on the low end and nothing more than a starting point. We would generally be in the midst of a major storm with several inches on the ground or
coming our way and we would announce that we are enacting the ban through the media.”
According to Smith, the 2″ snow route ban does not happen very often. “We have only done this a couple of times over the past several years,” Smith says. “People who are parked in violation of the 2″ ban once it is enacted are subject to being ticketed and having their vehicles relocated nearby.”
So, just because there is 2″ of snow on the ground, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move your car off a designated snow route street. However, every time there is a decent sized snowstorm, you should be vigilant monitoring the news and checking in here at The Expired Meter.
We will update this website anytime a 2″ snow ban is announced.
SPECIAL GEEK NOTE: While the Overnight Winter Parking Ban is only in effect between the dates of December 1 and April 1, a 2″ Snow Route Ban can be enacted no matter what the date. In general, most major snow storms don’t usually occur before Dec. 1 or after Apr. 1. However, theoretically, if a 6″ snow storm hit Chicago in June, the 2″ Snow Route Ban could be called for.