Chicago officials reveal how many cars were towed as winter parking ban began Friday

Chicago officials reveal how many cars were towed as winter parking ban began Friday

More vehicles were towed in Chicago in 2023 than last year as the city’s overnight winter parking ban began.

Dozens of Chicago residents woke up to missing vehicles Friday morning as the city said 263 vehicles were towed from 3-7 a.m.

Chicago’s annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban took effect at 3 a.m. Friday and will remain in place through April 1, regardless of snowfall. The ban prohibits parking on 107 miles of the city’s main streets from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. during the winter months.

Each year, the change leads to hundreds of tows for the first night.

Overnight, several cars were seen being taken to one of two impound lots used by the city as the parking ban took effect.

Last year, 242 cars were towed on the first night of the parking ban.

City officials said the decision to make the ban annual based on dates and not weather is intended to make it easier for residents.

“We’ve got to keep the city moving,” Cole Stallard, commissioner of the Department of Streets and Sanitation, said. “We feel the consistency is key. (The date) is Dec. 1 because you can’t predict Chicago weather.”

Streets with banned parking are marked with signage: a blue sign with a white snowflake. You can also view the full map of restrictions here

On average, city officials say that 65 cars were towed per night during the months the ban was in effect between 2022 and early 2023.

Having streets clear during these hours means roads can be properly plowed and salted during snowfall, the DSS said.

“Having this consistent rule for overnight parking allows snow removal crews to plan and execute their operations more effectively, and we ask residents and visitors to please follow the posted parking restriction signs so critical routes can be fully salted and plowed during winter weather events,” Stallard said in a press release.

Chicago drivers should also take note that a seperate winter parking restriction goes into place Friday, the DSS said, one that is related to the amount of snowfall.

“A separate snow related parking ban exists for another 500 miles of main streets and can be activated after there are at least two inches of snow on the street, no matter the time of day or the calendar date,” the DSS said.

According to the city, the two-inch snow ban is not activated often. However, when it is, motorists could find that their vehicle has been ticketed or towed, the city added.

What happens if my car gets towed?

Cars left parked on designated roads during parking ban hours will be towed, leaving drivers with a minimum $150 towing fee, a $60 ticket and a storage fee of $25 per day. Vehicles in violation of the ban will be towed to Pounds 2 (10301 S. Doty Ave.) or 6 (701 N. Sacramento). 

You can check the location of a towed vehicle at the city’s website.