Be careful where you park Tuesday night: Chicago’s annual winter overnight parking ban starts early Wednesday morning, officials warned.
Every year, the start of the snow route ban catches hundreds of drivers unaware, forcing them to travel to the city’s auto pound — and pay at least $235 — to retrieve their cars, officials said.
From Dec. 1 to April 1, the city bans parking on 107 miles of arterial streets from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. daily. The ban is a precautionary measure in case the city needs to plow the streets after a snowfall, but it remains in effect even if it doesn’t snow.
The ban is the most visible legacy of the blizzards of 1967 and 1979, when traffic was halted by heavy snow that plows could not clear from main streets because of parked cars.
Drivers who ignore the ban — or forget about it — will get socked with a $60 parking ticket, a $150 tow fee and $25 per day in storage fees.
Efforts to end the ban — derided by alderpeople as outdated and not necessary — have failed.
A 2018 analysis of the ban by WBEZ found that the city makes only a small amount of money on the overnight parking ban.
If your car gets hauled away, you can locate it using the city’s database of towed vehicles.