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'I was screaming': Chicagoans get their cars towed, thanks to the city's parking ban

Chicagoans wake up to the city's parking ban
Chicagoans wake up to the city's parking ban 02:50

CHICAGO (CBS) -- If the temperatures weren't enough to say winter is coming, Chicago's overnight parking ban is back in effect.

Snow or no snow, your car could be towed. CBS 2's Jackie Kostek reports from one of the city's impound lots on the West Side with reaction from some folks who had a rude awakening.

It's the day every year when Chicagoans everywhere do a collective eye roll as the city's winter overnight parking ban is now in effect. All morning, tow trucks make their way into a lot on Sacramento. 

Before dawn on December 1st, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more bustling pocket of the city. It's day one of the winter overnight parking ban and the tow trucks are out in force.

"I look out my window and my car is gone. Down the street there are, like, five tow trucks. I went to the first tow truck and said 'I'll give you cash, just give me my car back,'" said Wicker Park resident Gabeta Janonyte.

Janonyte's cash offer couldn't stop what was already in motion. Instead, she found herself following her car to an impound lot, where she ran into another headache.

"My last name is different than my parents, my address is different my parents and my name isn't on the insurance so I can't get my car back. It's 4:00 a.m. and I'm on Sacramento Blvd." laughs Janoyte.

While Janonyte couldn't help but laugh, Luke, who didn't want to give his last name, was soundly less jovial after his car was towed from Rogers Park.

"This was at 6:00 a.m., you know I wake up and my car is missing. What am I supposed to do? Be at the mercy of the city and just pay whatever they ask for I guess. Figure it out from there," said Luke.

CBS 2 tracked the numbers on just how many cars are being impounded by the city because of this winter parking ban every year and found they are on the decline. 

In 2017, more than 10,000 vehicles were towed. It's fallen every year since, with close to 7,500 cars towed last year. While the numbers may be down, for the drivers who do get towed, it still makes for a less than ideal morning.

"I saw them through the window. I was screaming at them to stop," Janoyte said with a laugh.

Most people CBS 2 spoke with had a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing, and said it's a very Chicago thing to happen. But still, violators are hit with hefty towing and ticket fees. 

It's not something you want to happen, so consider this your warning that this ban is in effect until April 1st.

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