March has come in like a lion — and although spring is technically less than two weeks away, it looks like winter isn’t done with Chicago yet. Forecasters are predicting several inches of snow for the Chicagoland area by Wednesday morning.
When you were a kid, a fresh snowfall was a thing of wonder, a blanket of white that brought the promise of sledding, snowball fights and, if you were really lucky, a snow day!
But as an adult in Chicago, fresh snow also means fresh concerns about where you can park your car without getting a ticket, being towed or being plowed in. For example, until April 1, overnight parking bans are still in effect on many major streets.
Fortunately, tools available via websites, texts and social media can help keep you a step or two ahead of the snowplow and the tow truck.
The City of Chicago’s Winter Apps aim to keep drivers in the loop about snow parking restrictions and towing.
1. 2inch.es lets you know via a simple map which streets have active snow routes after two inches of snowfall or more. You can sign up for text alerts when the snow routes have been activated, so you know to move your car and avoid getting towed when the plows are coming through.
2inch.es’ map also shows which streets have overnight parking bans. From 3 a.m.–7 a.m. Dec. 1–April 1, you cannot park on some major streets, including Milwaukee Avenue, Kedzie Avenue, State Street and Division Street, whether or not there is snow.
2. Was My Car Towed? is for those who might have missed the signs on parking restrictions. If your car is not where you parked it, you can type in your license plate number and find out if your car was towed to a city pound or relocated to a different street. (You might want to enter your license plate number in your password-protected mobile device so you have it handy.)
Want to know when your street will be cleared? Try the city’s Plow Tracker website. The city activates the site during “snow events.” The Illinois Department of Transportation’s Clearstreets.org also lets you type in your address to see if your street was cleared, and when.
You can also get quick snow response updates via Twitter at @ChicagosMayor or on the Chicago Mayor’s Office Facebook page. According to a Jan. 2 update from the mayor, the city’s snow response fleet is 373 vehicles strong, including 60 quick-hitch plows and 26 four-wheel-drive vehicles.
We Chicagoans are used to braving the crazy winter weather, snow or not. If you need to head out in inclement weather, check the above resources before you go, and make sure you’re prepared to drive in snowy conditions.
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