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Winter Parking Etiquette


Last Edited: February 20, 2010, 10:12 am

This is for the benefit of our southern neighbors in dealing with the recent heavy snowfalls.

After shoveling your parking spot in the street, place one or more household furnishings in the empty spot to claim it as your own.  Two or three dining room chairs is a common technique, but tables, strollers and lawn furniture are often used as well.

Notice in the photo below how the shoveler has strategically placed his items so that they take up the entire space and are visible to any would-be parallel parkers.  Yet they are lightweight enough to quickly cast aside when he's ready to park there.



Joe McGursky, the self-professed originator of the idea, has lived in Chicago all of his 85 years.  When asked how he came up with the idea, Joe explained, "Back in '32 we had a real bad storm, maybe 18 inches or so, and it was blowin' real bad.  My father kept shoveling different parking spaces but every time he left, the lazy neighbors would run out and real quick-like, they'd sneak their car in there.  He got real mad and started yellin' and cussin'.   Well, he went out and shoveled another space and when he was done, he came back in and picked me up and the dining room chair I was sittin' on and he marched me right over and set me down in the parking spot and told me to sit there while he was gone to Kelly's Pub.  Well I got cold after an hour or so so I went inside.  I kept watchin' out the window and cars kept driving by, but they wouldn't park there.  After a while it caught on and everyone started doin' it. 

"My Ma got real mad 'cuz her dining room chairs were getting ruined.  Daddy took me to a flea market and we bought three dining room chairs.  That started a new thing too.  That's why flea markets around here only have one or two chairs to match the table!"

Joe's neighbor, Anna Pellegrino, has a different technique.  "Strollers...they work the best.  Nobody wants to hit a baby."

What both agree on is that if you shovel it, you own it.


Entry #201


four4meComment by four4me - February 20, 2010, 1:40 pm
A practice well known here in Maryland too and has led to fights, destruction of property = keyed cars, flat tires, broken windshields, etc. I think years ago a guy shot and killed his neighbor for taking his spot.

The city will tell us that we are responsible for our sidewalks and street directly in front of our house. Yet we can't claim the parking spot in front of our houses because the city owns the street.
Rick GComment by Rick G - February 20, 2010, 1:49 pm
Chicago tolerates it, but it has been a couple weeks since the last major snowfall and they're telling the people to remove the junk or the city will.
konaneComment by konane - February 20, 2010, 11:45 pm
Well since we're moving into a mini ice age we southerners might be shoveling snow more often ourselves. Actually that's a great way to 'claim' your own spot.

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