We asked mayoral candidates: Do you support ‘dibs’ on parking spots?
By Abdon M. Pallasch Political Reporteremail@example.com February 1, 2011 5:42PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Technically it’s not legal, but lots of people do it. And most of Chicago’s mayoral candidates would continue the Chicago tradition of “dibs,” or allowing people to save parking spots they have shoveled.
During snow storms like these, old lawn chairs or kitchen chairs in disrepair appear on side streets in congested neighborhoods.
Motorists who have not worked up a sweat shoveling out a spot move those chairs to claim the spot at their own risk.
“Look, if a guy’s out there shoveling for an hour and a half, he’s not shoveling it for someone else to use it,” said former School Board chief Gery Chico, who calls himself unabashedly “pro-dibs,” even though he lives in a downtown condo now. He used to shovel his own place on Loomis, he said.
“It’s a civil way to allocate parking and it’s been going on for 100 years in Chicago,” Chico said.
City Clerk Miguel del Valle, the only major candidate for mayor who shovels his own snow, said he supports the practice, too.
“If you work real hard to clear the area in front of your house because otherwise you don’t have a spot, it’s OK,” del Valle said. “People have gotten pretty good over the years about only reserving their spot for a couple of days. In the old days, people would attempt to reserve spots long after the snow was gone and the streets were dry.
“Now, after a certain period of time, the city announces that trucks will go through and pick up the stuff. People get very creative and put out a book shelf or whatever.”
Del Valle has the blessing of a garage, so he doesn’t have to claim “dibs” on shoveled street spots himself, he said.
Rahm Emanuel doesn’t have access to his house at the moment — it’s rented out until this summer.
“He’d love to [claim dibs] but his lawn chairs are still in his basement,” said Emanuel spokesman Ben Labolt. Emanuel supports the practice because “It’s a long-standing tradition.”
Asked if she supports “dibs,” former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun said, “Ahhh, that’s an important question because some of our volunteers are helping seniors dig out of the snow.”
Watch for all the major candidates to pose for pictures digging motorists out of the snow over the next 24 hours.
The only voice of caution on “dibs” came from candidate William “Dock” Walls, who said he opposes it because, “It clutters the street and it creates conflict. It inhibits our ability to clear the streets when we get to the side streets.”