It’s the time of year when you need to think twice about claiming that open spot on the street.

The city’s winter overnight parking ban begins at 3 a.m., Thursday. Parking is prohibited on 107 miles of main streets from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. — regardless of snow — until April 1, 2023. Another 500 miles of streets prohibit parking after two inches of snow or more falls, no matter the time of day or the date.

Two hundred cars were towed in the early morning on Dec. 1, 2021 — down slightly from 240 towed cars on Dec. 1, 2020.

Cars left parked on the designated streets hinder snowplowing and salting services. Snow can build up next to parked cars on these routes impeding traffic flow — especially for buses and emergency vehicles — according to the city. Both parking bans were implemented to prevent recurrences of problems that happened in 1967 and 1979 when Chicago came to a traffic standstill due to major snowstorms.

Twenty-three inches of snow, the largest single snowfall in Chicago history, covered the city and suburbs in the blizzard of 1967. Abandoned vehicles made even major streets and highways impassable.

Motorists who ignore these seasonal parking bans will be towed and face at least a $150 towing fee, a $60 ticket and storage fees of $25 per day.

Call 3-1-1 to determine your vehicle’s location and the address of the impound lot, if you suspect your vehicle has been towed by the city of Chicago.

Frank Kuhlmann picks up his car at a city auto pound on the west side of Chicago. His car, and those of many others, were towed as the winter overnight parking ban kicked in.

Vehicles in violation of the ban will be towed to Auto Pound #2 (10301 S. Doty Ave.) or Auto Pound #6 (701 N. Sacramento Blvd.). Both locations are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The city’s Streets and Sanitation department has additional tips on what to do to retrieve your vehicle from an impound lot.

Sources: City of Chicago; Chicago Tribune reporting

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