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Lodi, N.J. Police Crack Down On Placeholders To Save Parking Spaces In Snow

LODI, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Some people in New Jersey have been getting very creative when it comes to saving their parking spaces.

But as CBS2's Jessica Schneider reported, people in Lodi, New Jersey said the practice of saving spots dug out from the snow needs to stop. They warned that calling dibs and putting placeholders in parking spaces is illegal, and a plan is afoot to start cracking down.

On Harrison Avenue in Lodi, the side of the street is littered with chairs, card tables, living room furniture, baby stroller boxes, cones and even trash cans – anything that will mark what has become a prime piece of real estate in the form of a carefully shoveled-out parking space.

Some said it looks like a garage sale gone bad. But homeowners said they have worked painstakingly to preserve their parking spaces.

Tina Washington of Lodi said it took her at least an hour and a half to shovel out her parking spaces. She knows calling dibs is technically illegal, but with multi-family homes on the streets and limited places to park, she said many people in Bergen County towns have no choice.

"Over here, there's nowhere to park," she said.

But a week after a blizzard dumped more than 2 feet of snow on much of the area, police said the items being used to call parking dibs must come off the streets at once.

In Lodi, police put up a notice on the department Facebook page, reading, "Placing of objects in the roadway is illegal and is subject to removal and/or fine."

In neighboring Garfield, crews from the Department of Public Works will be making the rounds, removing all the markers from the sides of the streets.

"That's illegal," said Jolene Mitchell of Lodi, agreeing that there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Mitchell said her handicapped spot was never plowed out, so she needs another place to park on the street.

But a debate is raging on social media, with some defending the practice on calling dibs.

One person said on Facebook: "I would rather pay a fine than park 2 blocks away to the nearest open parking spot. Lodi has some nerve posting this"

Cheldon Clare of Lodi also defended the practice.

"Just the fact that you have to shovel out your own parking spot, it's unfair for someone to come and take it," Clare said.

Part of the problem is also that plows cannot get to the snow that is on the side of the streets and blocking parking spaces. Residents said they hoped warmer temperatures next week will eliminate the problem.

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