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Don’t get snowed in by these winter parking rules

  • City Parking
  • Celine Jerly
  • 4 minutes

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Summer is headed out, and while getting ready to cozy up for fall, we can’t stop thinking about what comes after – winter parking woes are worse when you are in a big city like NYC or Chicago. It’s never too early to be prepared, so here’s what you must know about parking in three major cities with white winters.  

Street parking always comes with a side of stress, and unexpected snow emergencies can put you in a spot, especially if you are parked on the main street. The solution is quite simple – book a spot at the nearest garage. But if you must park on the streets, better to be familiar with a few rules before winter gets here.  

street parking in winter snowplow

Chicago Winter Parking Regulations 

Chicago is no stranger to snowstorms, and the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) is always prepared to deal with clogged thoroughfares efficiently. Thanks to major snowstorms back in 1967 and 1979 that brought the city to a standstill, now there is a permanent Winter Overnight Parking Ban on designated arterial streets to ensure the smooth flow of traffic at all times. 

The parking ban on 107 miles of main streets is in effect from December 1 to April 1. Parking in these seasonal tow-away zones between 3 am, and 7 am will set you back by a minimum of $60 ticket plus a $150 towing fee and $25 storage fee. The ban is in effect even when there isn’t snow on the street. In case of a storm, the main streets and Lake Shore Drive are cleared first for emergency vehicles, buses, and motorists to pass safely.  

An additional ban on 500 miles of Chicago Streets is activated when there is 2-inches of snow or more, any time of the year. This does not happen often, but if you are parked in a tow zone while the ban is in effect, you could get ticketed, or your car could be relocated to let snowplows pass through the street. 

Washington, D.C. Parking Regulations in Winter 

In Washington, D.C., parking on Snow Emergency Routes can be restricted during severe weather conditions, including freezing rain and sleet. No-parking usually comes into effect within an hour of the announcement or is scheduled based on weather forecasts. You must keep an eye out for the red and white ‘Snow Emergency Route’ sign during the winter months before parking your car on the street. Parking is sometimes prohibited only on the odd or even side of a street or on the side with general No-parking/No-standing/rush hour parking restrictions. If found violating the ban, your car could be towed to allow snowplows to clear the street.  

no parking sign

NYC Parking Winter Restrictions 

When a snow emergency is declared, do not park on a designated snow street – look for a red sign with a white border and text that says ‘Snow Route, No Standing.’ You will be ticketed for parking on a restricted street, even if the sign is covered in snow. The same goes for a fire hydrant violation – an invisible pump or sign due to snow is not considered a defense.  

NYC Alternate Side Regulations could be suspended before or during weather emergencies. However, you must continue to feed the meter and respect other parking rules. After the snowfall, ASP will be restored so that snowplows can clear the snow and ice from parking lanes and catch basins. During the emergency, keep away from prohibited shoulders next to roadways and exits/entrances of parkways and expressways too.  

For your car’s safety and to avoid the risk of expensive parking violations, it’s best to find a secure and affordable garage space any time of the year. Get a guaranteed spot when you pre-book your parking space on way.com. 

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Read more blogs on affordable airport parking, the best insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.


 

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