Chicago Winters and Snow Removal
"One of the most recognizable images of the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation is that of our Snow Fighting Trucks plowing and salting roadways during a Chicago snow storm. In fact, every time our full main fleet of Snow Fighting Trucks does just one pass of our entire route system they have traveled 9,456 total lane miles."
Department of Streets & Sanitation (DSS) coordinates Chicago's snow and ice control efforts from Snow Command. The command center tracks incoming weather systems via Doppler radar and through constant communication with meteorological consultants and the National Weather Service to strategically deploy snow personnel to up to over 280 snow routes. Once on the roadways, trucks patrol, plow, or salt routes as necessary.
"DSS is responsible for maintaining winter roadway safety on a route system of 9,456 lane miles. Our routes consist of city main streets, neighborhood streets and Lake Shore Drive. The expressway system that travels through Chicago is maintained by the State of Illinois' Department of Transportation, IDOT, and their familiar orange trucks.
During a snow program Streets & Sanitation’s first priority is to clear our main routes and Lake Shore Drive. Once arterial streets are patrolled and deemed safe is generally when Snow Command turns our attention to the side streets...For major snowstorms, Streets and Sanitation also has the capacity to equip as many as 200 garbage trucks with "quick hitch" plows to supplement the fleet. Since these don't have salt spreading capability, they are run in tandem with trucks that do. In addition, heavy equipment and labor is available from other municipal departments for snow clearance during and after a blizzard. "
"One of the most recognizable images of the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation is that of our Snow Fighting Trucks plowing and salting city roadways during a Chicago snow storm. In fact, every time our full main fleet of Snow Fighting Trucks does just one pass of our entire route system they have traveled some 9,456 total lane miles."
"In order to ensure that the most critical roadways in Chicago are kept open to full capacity at all times, the City of Chicago instituted and vigorously enforces a Winter Overnight Parking Ban on 107 miles of vital arterial streets from 3 am to 7 am between December 1st and April 1st, regardless of snow.
Motorists who ignore this permanently posted seasonal tow zone face a $150 towing fee (minimum) in addition to a $60 ticket and an initial $20 daily storage fee.
A separate snow related parking ban exists for another 500 miles of main streets and can be activated after there are at least two inches of snow on the street, no matter the time of day or the calendar date. While the 2” inch snow ban is not activated often, motorists who are parked there when it snows could receive a ticket or find that their vehicle has been relocated in order to facilitate snow clearing operations.
Both of these parking bans were implemented on designated arterial streets to prevent recurrences of problems that happened in 1967 and 1979 when Chicago came to a traffic standstill due to major snowstorms."
Winter Overnight Parking Bans
Sidewalk Snow Removal
It is your responsibility to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks.
Many people rely on walking and transit as their primary way to get around, and without a wide, clear path through snow and ice, it is especially difficult for people with disabilities, seniors, and children to walk safely. According to the Municipal Code of Chicago (4-4-310 & 10-8-180), property owners and occupants are responsible for keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice.