I still don’t understand

Cities in the snow belt are activating their parking bans for winter. In Chicago they towed 215 cars on the first day of the ban. You can read all about it here.

Here’s my annual question: Where do people put the cars for the winter? Particularly in areas where there is a scarcity of parking. People complain, gripe, and blog about parking and the lack thereof, but when the snow flies, so, it seems, do the cars.

I know that some people have “winter cars” that they drive after Thanksgiving and put their fine wheels away but they still need to park those beaters somewhere. Do other spaces in garages and driveways magically appear when the temperature drops below freezing? The article about Chicago says that the law affects 107 miles of street. By my computation, that is about 25,000 spaces. Where do all those cars go?

Any answers out there?

JVH

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2 Responses to I still don’t understand

  1. Chris says:

    I’m guessing you live in a warm state.
    There’s always somewhere to park your car. You might just have to walk a mile to get back to your designation or park illegally and risk getting a ticket and/or towed. That’s why parking spots aren’t included in the price of a new condo in such cities as Chicago – they tack on an extra $50,000 or so for that privilege. Off-street spots oftentimes aren’t included with rentals either. In my case, that was an extra $150 per month along with by $2,400 rent. That’s one reason I moved to the suburbs.
    People always complain about the lack of parking. What they’re really complaining about is the lack of convenient parking.

  2. Parking is at a premium in Chicago. During the winter, parking enforcement has a steep decline. The tow trucks may be out in the snow routes (even when it doesn’t snow), but enforcement is almost non existent in other areas. This is for a few reasons that as a Chicago native, I can try to speculate on. There are many residential streets where you need a permit or city sticker to park. In the summer this is strictly enforced. Snow seems omnipresent during Chicago’s winter months. With cars covered in snow, it’s nearly impossible to see if the proper sticker is on the windshield without scraping everyone’s car off. Even if it’s just a light sprinkling, it would require an enormous amount of labor to check every car, while the summer months, allow for quick walk by spot checks. This is also true for license plate stickers. (Enforcement would include brushing snow and scraping ice off everyone’s license plate). Additionally, enforcement during the winter was at the same level of the summer months would create many other problems. Besides a massive parking shortage, the court system would be up in arms. The weather is so incredibly brutal here. Imagine putting a ticket on someone’s windshield when there is already 4 or 5 inches of snow. Or imagine putting a ticket when there is no snow, and then it rains temperature drops below freezing or it snows a couple of inches. All these buries tickets would cause a ton of people to not show up for court dates to tickets they didn’t pay because they never saw them.
    So to answer your question, I think the 25,000 spaces shift to use other areas that could not be previously “utilized” due to stricter enforcement.

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