City Triggers 2″ Snow Ban In Advance Of Blizzard

Chicago Prepares For Potentially Record Snowfalls

With a major snowstorm expected to dump one to two feet of snow on Chicago streets over the next few days, the city began taking steps to prepare for the heavy snowfall.

“As you know, we often stand before you to communicate what we are doing as a city to prepare for events like this. However, this time we may potentially be dealing with a storm of historic proportions,” said Ray Orozco, Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor. ” If we get the amount of snow that some are predicting, it will be the largest snow storm to hit Chicago since 1967.”

According to Office of Emergency Management & Communications spokesperson Roderick Drew, the city is deploying Streets & Sanitation’s entire fleet of 274 snow trucks. In addition 120 garbage trucks are being outfitted with quick hitch plows.

These nearly 400 vehicles will be working around the clock to keep main thoroughfares clear as weather forecasters are expecting two to three inches of snow per hour to fall at the height of the storm, which is expected to begin around 9 PM Tuesday evening and run through Wednesday morning.

Perhaps the most notable announcement effecting motorists is the city is invoking the rarely used 2″ snow ban, which restricts parking on main arterial streets designated as snow routes.

When triggered by the city, and there’s more than 2″ or more of snow on these main thoroughfares marked with 2″ parking ban signs, drivers must remove their vehicles or face a $60 ticket and having their cars towed and relocated to a nearby parking spot.

“This is a matter of public safety and allows us to clear streets more quickly,” Drew says via press release. “The 2 inch winter parking ban on marked routes will be in effect once we have 2 inches on the ground.”

Drivers who normally park their cars on these affected streets should find a legal parking spot on a side street or a private parking lot or garage if necessary in advance of the snowfall.

Even if two inches more of snowfall hits the street during a snowstorm, the 2″ ban does not normally go into effect until the city makes an official announcement. According to Matt Smith, spokesperson for Streets & Sanitation the 2″ snow ban has not gone into effect for at least the past four winters because Chicago has not faced a major snowstorm in the past few years.

“We have only done this a couple of times over the past several years,” Smith said previously. “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.”

Here’s a map of streets affected by the two inch snow ban from the city’s Streets & Sanitation website.

Of course, no parking is allowed on streets already under the overnight winter parking ban which runs from December 1st through April 1st.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is also bracing for the snowstorm and had snow trucks at the ready early Monday evening in anticipation of the snow.

“The entire Midwest region of the country is expected to be hit with a serious winter storm over the next
few days, and it is important that we are prepared so that Illinois residents are safe and warm in the days
ahead,” said Governor Quinn via IDOT press release. “We will be increasing efforts to make sure that our roads are clear and that our most vulnerable residents are staying indoors and staying warm.”

24 Responses to City Triggers 2″ Snow Ban In Advance Of Blizzard

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ino Salgado, Steve Sipress, Cathy Kozlarek, Kevin Mack, ChicagoRed and others. ChicagoRed said: Chicagoans, make sure you don't get towed tonight. [...]

  2. [...] City of Chicago Two-Inch Snow Parking Ban (Map included) [...]

  3. DoR Employee says:

    Looks like PEA’s will be enforcing this ban until Thursday/Friday.

    Watch your cars people….its a ticket you will not beat since it was announced AND Ward Offices are Emailing their constituents.

  4. OIFVet says:

    Hey DoR, will some other parking restrictions be relaxed for the next 2-3 days? I seem to recall that being the case in the blizzard of 1999. Just curious.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I managed to get my car to a good legal spot at home. Of course, since this blizzard is going to be a good one, wait for the parking space protectors to come out! I plan on using the ultimate parking space protector: snow itself. :) I conjured up the idea in 1999 after that blizzard when I used a step ladder with a joke sign that said “PARKING FOR AUSTRALIANS ONLY” I got from a mall kiosk. (I have an Aussie drinking accent.)

  6. DoR Employee says:

    If you’re out driving in the next 2 days…more power to you.

    Stay off the Hydrant and stay off the Main Business streets that have the 2in Ban Signs on them and you can probably not worry about seeing a PEA.

  7. CL says:

    My window looks out on an arterial road, and it’s completely packed with cars whose owners either don’t know or don’t care about the ban. Most people are not on their alderman’s mailing list, and I have not seen much coverage in the media. I’ve seen the announcement of the parking ban in the middle of a long article about how the city is preparing, but no banner announcements or anything. Plus it has been four years. So my guess is that a lot of drivers simply don’t know that it’s actually in effect tonight. It will be interesting to see if they ticket and tow all of these people, but I honestly don’t know where they could tow them to. It’s not like there is extra space on the side streets.

  8. David says:

    I live on one of those 2 inch ban routes. At least according to the map. The street has NONE of the signs in any of the blocks near my house. I won’t get a ticket. I’ve put my car in a large garage complex and its going to stay there for the rest of the week. But if you want to have a 2 inch ban, at least put up signs…

  9. Parker says:

    Seems like the uninformed, via press announcements and emails, would also be the people who assume those signs are in effect when there’s simply 2 or more inches so I hope there are few problems. This entire time I thought the ban was always in effect, there’s nothing on those signs to indicate it also requires an official city statement.

  10. Kelli says:

    My job is in the suburbs and I had to stay overnight while my car was in the city and parked on Belmont, where it has a 2″ snow sign. I’m not sure what the city expects me to do. Even if I came home last night would they expect me to get in my car during the worst part of the blizzard and actually try to move it somewhere?

  11. Paul says:

    I never knew an official city decree was required either. I thought the ban was automatic, like the sign implies.

  12. Dan says:

    How long do you have to wait until you can park your cars there again? How do you know when the ban is lifted?

  13. Colleen R says:

    So now that Austin Ave has been plowed (several times), when is it ok to park on it again?

  14. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Probably after tomorrow. But you need to wait until you get the all clear from the city when they announce the 2″ parking ban is over. Until then, find alternative parking.

  15. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Like mentioned above…

    Probably after tomorrow. But you need to wait until you get the all clear from the city when they announce the 2″ parking ban is over. Until then, find alternative parking.

  16. DoR Employee says:

    2in Ban…still in effect until otherwise canceled via Official City Statement from OEMC.

    If you got a ticket today, you are a dumbass cause you got nailed by a cop.

    I took today off………..and the No PEA worked the streets.

  17. Rob says:

    Okay… It is now Thursday, Feb. 3. I live near Fullerton (a snow route) and it has been plowed. However, there’s so much snow piled on the side of the street that the cars parked there are encroaching into the two lanes. My job gets in me in very late tonight and I’m sure I won’t be able to find a spot on the side streets.

    Are they planning on plowing these roads again in the late hours or can I park on them overnight?

  18. Kelly says:

    I’ve looked at OEMCs website and called their office, but can’t find any info. on this ban, including an official statement that it is still in effect. Is there an site with more accurate, up to date info. on this parking ban?? Thank you :)

  19. David says:

    Kelli wrote:

    My job is in the suburbs and I had to stay overnight while my car was in the city and parked on Belmont, where it has a 2″ snow sign. I’m not sure what the city expects me to do. Even if I came home last night would they expect me to get in my car during the worst part of the blizzard and actually try to move it somewhere?

    My Comments:
    1. This was not an unexpected storm. You shouldn’t have left your car on Belmont. I am very careful, if I think that their is ANY chance of a snowfall big enough to trigger major plowing, to make sure my car isn’t where it will get a ticket.

    2. Yes. Not only should the City expect you to move it, we, your fellow citizens, expect that you should move it. These 2 inch bans don’t exist to “annoy” drivers, they exist to enable the plows to properly clean the streets. Even one car makes it much harder for the street to be clean. On my street, which is a two inch snow route, a number of “entitled” people didn’t move their cars and now we have an ice wall limiting the number of lanes, making it hard for pedestrians and generally screwing up traffic. Had these “entitled” people not been parked on the street, the plows could have gotten more than just the center.

    3. The solution isn’t tickets. Its to authorize the plows to plow those streets and if cars are in the way, plow them out of the way.

  20. DoR Employee says:

    And another Point for Kelly to Consider

    The last time the City Invoked the 2 inches or more of Snow Parking Ban…

    1999-2000 Blizzard as I recall.

    This is not a Parking Ban that the city Trots out with every little snow fall event.

    Move your Damn Car and be responsible.

    And then Dial 3-1-1 and ASK for the OEMC City Ops Supervisor for Info on the Parking Ban.

    The Department of Revenue SUSPENDED Enforcement of Parking Violations since 7pm Tuesday Night. You’ve had since then to Find a Darn Garage or other type of parking space that isn’t on a Main Street.

  21. David says:

    I am pretty sure that the ban got trotted out last year for at least one day…. Mind you, its not an unreasonable ban and I make sure that I am not on arterials with any snow.

  22. SS says:

    There is no sense in the ban if they are not going to enforce it. Cars all over my neighborhood have violated it. And I’m on my alderman’s email list, but, no surprise, no email on this, only on the political fundraisers!

  23. Nico says:

    I just phoned 3-1-1 and they said the ban is STILL in effect. I wish they had a website or a phone number I could call (that I wouldn’t have to wait 20 minutes for someone to answer) to tell me if the ban is still in effect or not. Parking on the side streets is far and few between.

  24. Amanda says:

    I just spoke to someone at 311 and they said once the street has been plowed, you can park in a 2″ Snow Zone without getting ticketed or towed.

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