Car Navigates A Snow Covered Street On February 02 2022 In News Photo 1670083256

Chicago Towed Nearly 250 Cars on First Night of Winter Parking Ban

  • Chicago implemented its winter parking ban on Dec. 1 and towed nearly 250 cars for violating the rules on the first night alone.
  • The ban goes into effect on 107 miles of road throughout the city, regardless of snow, with a further 500 miles of road parking available to be banned in the event of two or more inches of snowfall. (The photo here depicts a typical Chicago winter scene from last February.)
  • Any hapless offenders are forced to pay a minimum of $235 for their mistake, a figure that includes a $25-a-day storage fee.

If you’re one of 242 unlucky Chicago residents, you may have gotten up Thursday morning, brewed your morning coffee, and walked outside to find your car no longer where you left it the night before. Fortunately, the missing cars weren’t actually missing: They were towed across the city due to the return of Chicago’s winter parking ban, which went into effect on December 1 and blocked 107 miles of roads to parking between 3:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. a.m

Every year between December 1 and April 1, Chicago imposes an overnight parking ban on more than 100 miles of roads, regardless of the weather. A ban on an additional 500 miles of Chicago roads can be imposed any time during the year when more than two inches of snow has fallen — although, according to the city government’s website, the larger ban is rarely invoked.

Prime Parking will cost you

Making the mistake of not moving your vehicle into a legal parking spot is more expensive than a trip to the impound lot. Violators are on the hook for a $150 towing fee, $60 ticket and $25 per day storage fees. Assuming you’re in town and available to retrieve it immediately after your vehicle is towed, that’s $235 in fines.

Local laws vary a lot, so we can’t give a clear picture of what your local laws will look like, although Chicago isn’t the only city with parking laws that change in the winter. If you live somewhere that sees regular snowfall in the winter, it’s more than likely that there are local laws in place to accommodate plows. Some cities only change parking laws when a snow emergency is invoked—including Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of Car and Driver’editor’s office. Others, much like Chicago, put laws in place on a fixed annual basis. If you regularly park on the street, it is important to check your municipality’s website and know the local guidelines.

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