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Consider this your warning: Chicago's winter overnight parking ban begins Thursday

Consider this your warning: Chicago's winter overnight parking ban begins Thursday
Consider this your warning: Chicago's winter overnight parking ban begins Thursday 01:36

CHICAGO (CBS) – Tis the season many Chicagoans simply dread. Thursday, Dec. 1, marks the start of the winter overnight parking ban.

CBS 2's Andrew Ramos had the story residents should consider a warning.

It happens every year, and every year people are caught off guard. They might think that if there's no snow, there's no ban, but the street signs say no parking between 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. starting Dec. 1. It's meant to make it easier for sanitation workers to safely remove any snow.

Chicago's winter overnight parking ban starts Thursday 02:06

Our nonstop news crews spotted tow trucks out in force right at 3 a.m. on Dec. 1 last year yanking and towing cars to the tow lots.

The rule is enforced on 107 miles of main streets throughout the city, and it is in effect until April 1.

"You have to go through this whole process and your whole day is uprooted and it's just a real shot to the gut," said Pilsen resident Luis Wantroba.

Wantroba, like many Chicagoans, have learned the hard way when it comes to the city's ban. He was towed just last year.

"It's just another way for the city to get more money and they're just trying to bring people down giving them tickets and towing cars," he said.

Even though the ban in such areas are meant for snow removal, a common misconception has confused many car owners over the years.

Chicago's winter overnight parking ban starts Thursday 03:08

"I understand if it's snowing, yeah they have to plow the snow but when it's not snowing, it's really annoying," said Amanda Mostachhio, of Wicker Park.

Tricia Tundstal, also of Wicker Park, said "If they would have one rule, I think that would be better and I feel like there should be snow on the ground."

Another separate parking rule that's often misinterpreted applies to 500 miles of city streets when 2 or more inches are on the ground, regardless of the time of year.

City officials contend that the seasonal ban prioritizes safety, but it comes with a hefty price tag for offenders who face a minimum $150 towing fee on top of a $60 ticket.

Data collected by CBS 2 shows warnings and notices the city has issued over the years have been somewhat effective.

Where over the past five years, the total amount of annual impounds from the city's winter parking ban have been on the decline. That suggests drivers are heeding those warnings, but some say the decades-old ban itself is in need of major reform.

"We need to rebuild the city, get more people back into the city," said Tundstal. "We don't want them to get towed and then leave the city."

If you become among those that find themselves without a car because it was towed overnight, the city encourages you to keep tabs on the website to find out where it was towed.

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