It’s a fine winter tradition: When it snows, you shovel the parking space in front of your house and save it with a cheap, plastic chair, or whatever else you have handy.
In Chicago, it’s called dibs. In Boston, its longtime mayor referred to it as “this rummage sale” of space savers. In Philly, “savesies.”
But the time-honored practice is on thin ice in cities from the Midwest to New England.
This week, Chicago’s streets and sanitation department, whose glass is half full when it comes to the weather, started carting away “dibs” as garbage, local ABC News reports. “This is something we do every year toward the end of winter, once we start to get decent weather heading our way,” a spokeswoman tells the Chicago Tribune. Yeah, dibs is technically illegal — and winter must be technically over, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at the calendar or the snow on the sidewalk.
In Boston, you’ve got a legal, 48-hour window to save spaces when there’s a snow emergency. Residents are known, however, to mark their territory long thereafter. Think tomcats on steroids. Southies fed up by the lack of parking have begun personal and neighborhood campaigns to stop the space saving.
And Philly, perhaps, has been the most creative. Its police department is waging a #NoSavesies war on Twitter. Residents have been shocked to learn that it’s illegal, according to Helen Ubinas, a Daily News columnist.
The owner of Commonwealth Press found out the hard way when he started selling “no parking” chairs as a “total joke.”
Dan Rugh tells USA Today that after he was contacted by the Parking Authority, he added a disclaimer: “If you use anything besides a vehicle to hold a parking spot in the city of Pittsburgh, you can be fined $300.”