Today’s Headlines

  • Suburban Cop Caught on Video Playing Video Poker While Driving in Snow (Tribune)
  • Days After Last Snowfall, Many Streets Haven’t Been Plowed (RedEye)
  • IDOT Says State Highways Are Recovering From the Deep-Freeze (Expired Meter)
  • Metra Still Experiencing Switching, Mechanical Problems (Tribune, Sun-Times)
  • After Chiberia Hiatus, Divvy Is Back Online (NBC, RedEye)
  • With Many Pay Boxes Surrounded by Snowdrifts, Some Parkers Risk Tickets (CBS)
  • Erie Closed for Construction of Tunnel Between NWM Hospital Buildings (Tribune)
  • Shared-Cost Sidewalk Program Closed After Receiving 1,800 Applications (DNA)
  • Longtime Bike Booster Al Sturges Retiring From Advocacy (Active Trans)
  • Woman Live Tweets Crusade to Dismantle the “Dibs” System (RedEye)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anne A

    In some business districts, I’ve actually seen shoveled snow piled against parking meter boxes. Great way to attract customers, eh?

  • Pat

    Anyone see the huge dumpster full of snow blocking the Dearborn bike lane in both directions at Wacker? Best bike lane in the nation right?

  • Steven’s looking into that issue.

  • Christopher Murphy

    How about instead of crusading against dibs we shoveled walkways?

  • ThisManIsRight

    that’s sort of exactly what she did if you read the link

  • Christopher Murphy

    No she is shoveling parking spots and from what I can make out from her twitter pics it looks like the sidewalk needs work.

  • bedhead1

    I don’t understand the constant accusations that people who don’t shovel their car out to be lazy or bad neighbors or whatever. Can someone explain this logic to me?

    Like with this woman, what exactly is the point of shoveling out other peoples’ cars if those people don’t need them? Little old lady, okay I get it, different story entirely. Otherwise this just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • ThisManIsRight

    ah, gotcha. at least the sidewalks are someone’s specific responsibility, where the street spots are a land of chaos and lawlessness.

  • ThisManIsRight

    the point is that if every parking spot on the street is clear after shoveling them out then it’s just like non-snow periods when every parking spot on the street is clear and dibs aren’t practiced. hence, there’s no need for anyone to throw their garbage in any spot to reserve it.

  • bedhead1

    I still don’t think that makes sense. Shoveling a car that’s not going to move is pointless and does nothing to help others looking for a space.

    For simplicity, imagine if every car in the city was parked on the street. After a snow storm, no one is going to drive unless they shovel their car out. Say half the people shovel and half don’t (because they don’t need their cars). The number of cars on the road will equal the number of shoveled-out spots, so by half of the population not shoveling there is no shortage of shoveled-out spots.

    The problem is that traffic – people coming and going and parking – is by nature transitory. One guy shovels a SPECIFIC spot in front of his house, and then maybe someone parks there a little while later, and the next closest spot might be three blocks away. This is what dibs is really about, people under the mistaken belief that they can lay claim not to a shoveled-out spot, but to a SPECIFIC one.

    None of the arguments for dibs make any logical sense. It always boils down to, “I just think it should be mine.”

  • ThisManIsRight

    That’s all true, but snow also impacts the amount of space available for parking. buffer zones in between cars, that can normally be 6-12-18 inches, turns into 2-3-4 feet as snow accumulates & maneuverability decreases. the amount of space for parking when not everyone shovels (or doesn’t shovel to completion) decreases significantly. plows also push snow into areas that may usually be open for parking and this further reduces the parking spot count. 20 spots become 15, which is one of the reasons dibs exist in the first place (in addition to laying claim to a spot you may have cleaned out yourself). Street spots become premium property because there are fewer spaces and thus more competition. Clearing out snow around cars that haven’t moved means you can park closer to them with less difficulty, and something closer to the usual spots:cars ratio is maintained.

  • bedhead1

    Again, this doesn’t make sense either. Cars were all parked on the street BEFORE it snowed. When a spot gets shoveled out, that spot isn’t somehow lost because of snow. The only time it’s a problem is when there’s a vacant spot that gets snowed on, since no one has any incentive to then shovel it. However prior to big snowstorms this is relatively rare since most people hunker down…let’s be honest there are very few of these vacant spots prior to a big storm. So all we’re talking about now is making sure vacant spots gets shoveled.

    If someone wants to be a good samaritan and shovel one of those vacant spots out, by all means go for it. But to the guy who’s looking for a spot and passes that by in frustration, my advice is to either grab a shovel or keep looking, then get over it. Again, I still haven’t heard a single coherent argument for dibs other than, “because I shoveled THIS spot”

  • ThisManIsRight

    if you can find me a point in time where every car that “belonged” to a neighborhood was already parked on the street and a foot of snow arrived instantaneously i’ll happily concede that dibs doesn’t make logical sense to anyone.

  • BlueFairlane

    I have to go with bedhead on this. If I don’t shovel out my car because I’m not going anywhere, the people parked either in front or in back of me have every right to shovel whatever portion of street they want right up to my bumpers, and they can pull in as close to me as they want. There is no eating away of parking spots because I don’t shovel my car. Any eating away occurs because the people who do dig out their cars aren’t shoveling spots. They’re simply clearing the snow that happened to land on their car and calling that good enough. I notice no appreciable reduction of spots on my street because of this, though.

    Face it. Dibs is nothing but another expression of animalistic territorialism. It’s people using snow as an excuse to piss on a piece of street and claim it as theirs, and if they could get away with it all the time, they would.

  • ThisManIsRight

    there are also arterial streets on the edges of neighborhoods that ban overnight parking when snow levels are 2″, pushing more vehicles into the neighborhood.
    I abhor the practice of dibs just as much as you guys, but i’m not willfully ignoring reasons why people choose to practice it – snow erodes space for parking, a handful of people respond selfishly to it.

  • oooBooo

    What happens is that the snow becomes ice and denser snow. Then the person who didn’t use their car for five days now has to go somewhere. So they brush/scrape off the windows just enough to see and pull out into the road and go off to where ever it is they are going with the car caked in snow and ice making a rolling blizzard. Now when they return do they park in the space they left from? Of course not. It’s a big pain to get the car in that space, they take one that’s been shoveled. Last guy on the block to get home that night is now chiseling away at the ice so he has a place to park.

    Hence ‘dibs’. Don’t clean out a space? Don’t park in a clean one. But the non-shovelers never do that. Dibs is stupid on many levels but there is a reason it started.

    BTW It takes far less effort to clean the snow off the car and shovel out the spot when the snow is fresh. Plus then if the car is needed suddenly, it’s ready to go instead of encased in ice.

  • bedhead1

    Ah, see where you are with this argument now? That a public street is somehow not really public at all, but instead effectively owned by the people who live on it, therefore dibs is necessary.

    What is it about “public” that people don’t understand? How about a park across the street from my house? Am I entitled to special access to it because of where I live? Like if it gets too crowded I can kick non-locals out?

    Once again, this is basically what dibs boils down to – no logical argument, just a petty “MINE!” argument.

  • bedhead1

    Eh, sorry I am not buying it. If they can pull out of the spot, someone can pull into the spot. Maybe it’s not the most perfectly dug out spot in the world but it’s accessible.

    The reason dibs started is simple: people are assholes. It’s not complicated.

  • CL

    I agree. I don’t drive when there is snow on the ground, because I’m from the south and it makes me too nervous. On Sunday, I cleared off my car, ran the engine to charge the battery, and told it, “Good luck — see you in a week.” I’m still taking up just one spot like always — it’s the people calling dibs who cause problems, occupying a spot at work while they leave their trash on the road back home,

    It’s supposed to be above freezing this weekend. I can’t wait for the snow to melt. Taking the CTA everywhere has been eating hours out of my day — I’m getting home and it’s already time for bed.

  • oooBooo

    Um no. The car pulling out can put a lot more power to getting out than a car going in. There’s nothing to hit going out, going in there is. Furthermore even if it is just a mess and accessible the person who shoveled out a spot but now finds the guy who didn’t is in the space he shoveled and he has to put up with the mess won’t appreciate it much.

    Both in communal lots and for street parking I’ve had to shovel out the space that someone left their car in for days just to be able to get in and get out of the spot. Come back at 2am and find yourself digging out the spot your lazy neighbor couldn’t shovel while he’s parked in the one you shoveled. It doesn’t invoke neighborly feelings. Dibs is a stupid solution, but the emotions behind it are easily understood with experience.

  • I don’t know if Streetsblog wants to signal-boost, but there’s a meeting between Walgreens and community interests about the proposed new store on the southwest corner of Kimball/Lawrence (Walgreens wants to put a huge parking lot right at the K/L corner, with two new curb cuts through the sidewalk and a 4′ fence at the property line all the way around) on Wednesday, Jan 15th, at 7PM, at Roosevelt High School. Albany Park Neighbors has been signal-boosting on their facebook page, they have a printable flier they’re going to be distributing in the area this week and weekend.

  • BlueFairlane

    It interests me the lengths people who “abhor the practice of dibs” will go to defend it. I’m not willfully ignoring reasons why people do it. I’m saying those reasons are stupid, and more that they’re a shield people use for their own territorial laziness.

    The reason you cite here is just another example. One, this undercuts the justification that dibs is a just reward for the brave act of clearing snow off a car and admits it’s simply to stake a territorial claim against some evil outsider who should be parking along an arterial. Two, it’s an overnight ban. People practice dibs when they go to work, which for the vast majority of people is during the day. All the scary outsiders–which really just means somebody else on their street–will be gone when they’re gone. Three, that ban is in effect whether it snows or not, which means most of the time it’s in effect, there is no dibs, and everybody gets along just fine. And finally, four, the ban affects 107 miles in a city with over 4,000 miles of city street. This ban reduces parking by something less than 3%. This might mean one extra car on my block. That’s not enough to justify the lawn chairs.

  • ThisManIsRight

    I’m not making any attempts to defend dibs. Bedhead claimed there is no logical reason for dibs to exist. I attempted to explain why dibs makes sense to some people, using real world examples of why parking spaces become premium real estate during periods of heavy snow. It’s easier to find common ground and solutions to problems if you understand the viewpoint of the person on the other side of the issue.

  • BlueFairlane

    And Bedhead is correct. There is no logical reason for dibs to exist, as every possible argument proves empty. There’s no need to find common ground with people acting illogically, and even if I did try to find common ground, somebody would just put a milk crate in it.

  • Alex_H

    I’m more optimistic that today’s rain will melt a bunch of the snow than mid-30-degree temps this weekend. Especially if it falls below freezing in the evenings, and depending on whether it’s cloudy or sunny…these piles are pretty big and we might have them for a while.

  • BlueFairlane

    A lot of this will melt, but a big rain after a big snow is a recipe for flooding. I suspect if you had to go anywhere on Saturday, you’d be in trouble.

  • bedhead1

    Amen. Dibs is basically just an a$$hole detector.

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