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City not enforcing parking meters

People cross State Street WashingtStreet during first wave snowstorm Tuesday afternoon. The city said parking meters streets downtown elsewhere would

People cross State Street at Washington Street during the first wave of the snowstorm Tuesday afternoon. The city said parking meters on the streets downtown and elsewhere would be free Friday. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 4, 2011 11:50PM



As Chicago continues to clear remnants of Tuesday’s historic blizzard, officials on Friday morning say the city has no official stance on parking “dibs,” while it’s a freebie day for parking meters.

The city says its top priority is clearing side streets, with 274 snow trucks and 200 pieces of heavy equipment being deployed in neighborhoods to clear heavy snow accumulations, a release from the Office of Emergency Management & Communications said.

And due to heavy snow buildup on most streets, parking meters do not have to be paid on Friday, OEMC spokeswoman Therese Kordelewski said.

But another OEMC spokesman later said that although there is a temporary suspension of parking meter enforcement, motorists are expected to pay and park legally. The enforcement suspension will remain in effect until further notice. The public will be notified at least 24 hours before parking enforcement resumes, OEMC officials said.

Meanwhile, officials took no stance on the often-criticized tradition of cordoning off parking spots on city streets, known as “dibs,” Kordelewski said.

In other storm-related news:

-- For those still trying to reclaim vehicles which were stuck on Lake Shore Drive, the city says about 137 cars remain at several relocation areas as of 9 a.m. This includes 45 vehicles at Foster, 41 at Soldier Field, 31 at Wilson and eight at Chicago Avenue, the release said.

Residents are asked to visit cityofchicago.org to search the list to find the location of their vehicle. The lots will stay open until the last car is claimed.

-- Drivers are urged to slow down as there are still many areas where traffic lanes narrow and pavement can be slick or snow covered.

-- O’Hare and Midway airports are “fully operational” with airlines running normal schedule. All terminals, TSA security checkpoints and concessions are open and operating normally, and roadways, parking lots and garages are cleared and accessible, the release said.

-- CTA service is also running regularly for bus and train routes.

-- Cold temperatures remain a concern for Chicago residents as Friday’s high is only expected to reach 21 degrees, with wind chill values to drop as low as 11 below zero. Residents in need of shelter should call 311.

-- Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Libraries and all Chicago Board of Elections early voting locations are open on Friday.



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