As Residents Clash Over Snowy Parking Spots, Ald. Colon Calls For Civility

By Victoria Johnson on January 7, 2014 8:20am 

 A penguin is used to hold a parking spot in Humboldt Park Monday.
A penguin is used to hold a parking spot in Humboldt Park Monday.
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MCT via Getty Images

LOGAN SQUARE — Freakishly bad weather is no excuse for being rude.

So says Ald. Rey Colon (35th), whose office was inundated Monday with complaints of somewhat uncivil behavior, mostly having to do with parking spots.

"We get hit with a lot of civil neighborly disputes [in the winter]," he said. "That's pretty much what we've been getting here today."

One of the biggest problems is that grand old Chicago tradition of using random junk to claim a cleared-out parking spot, or "dibs" as it's widely come to be known.

Colon feels so strongly about the practice that he even dedicated an entire newsletter to it last winter.

"I just get really leery with the whole dibs thing. I know they work hard to clear out the space, but it is a public space. By you putting a chair there you're denying [others] a space," he said.

Colon said another problem is people getting pinned into their driveways or garages by plowed snow, or residents complaining that neighbors are shoveling snow in the way of their cars.

Though the city saw about six days of off-and-on snowfall, Colon said the extremely cold temperatures seemed to set people off.

"We haven't really gotten a lot of [calls] this year, but today we're getting a lot of their winter disputes — their winter wonderland disputes," he added with a chuckle.

Colon asked that residents try to help each other out as much as possible.

"People should try to be good neighbors and try to clear up as much as we can with spaces," he said.

Colon wasn't the only alderman fighting the perhaps hopeless battle against dibs.

In an emailed newsletter to constituents Monday, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) asked residents to resist the urge to lay claim to their shoveled-out spaces.

"The extreme temperatures today are causing difficulties for everyone. Please be patient. ... I'd also like to remind you that 'dibs' are not allowed for shoveled parking spaces," he wrote.

Waguespack also reminded that as Streets and Sanitation worked to clear the roads they'd be throwing away any random items left in the streets.

So those who care about those white plastic patio chairs, take heed.

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