Ald. Mell Calls An End To Dibs

By Mike Fourcher | Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lazy dibs – falling down on the job. Credit: Patty Wetli.

If you’re on Ald. Richard Mell’s 33rd Ward email list, this morning you got a fiery missive from Ald. Mell calling on residents to end dibs this week.

“I expect to see no dibs markers on the streets by the end of the week,” the Alderman wrote. “Shortly thereafter, I will ask the community to help remove any that remain.”

If you didn’t learn so this past week, “dibs,” is the quaint and/or annoying Chicago practice of digging out a street parking space in the snow and then claiming it as your own by putting chairs, tables, old televisions or even religious statues, in the space to claim it after you drive out. The dibser’s thinking goes, I took the trouble to dig this space out, it’s mine. Go dig your own.

“It’s just time to get them off,” Ald. Mell later told Center Square Journal. “I can understand a guy shoveling it out and wanting to do it. Right now it’s time to take it out. It clutters up the street.”

Although everyone from the mayor on down looks the other way during a big snowstorm, dibs is illegal. So while a street code of justice is observed – grudgingly by some – when there’s lots of snow on the ground, things get a bit unbalanced when the snow starts to melt.

Most officials seem to agree, the time for dibs has passed.

“Ald. Schutler supports [Ald. Mell's] sentiment and feels the residents should definitely begin removing furniture from the street,” said 47th Ward spokesman, Robert Rawls.

40th Ward Alderman Pat O’Connor’s team is sending a more oblique message: Streets & Sanitation has been busy with other things. But once they’re done, watch out.

“Ald. O’Connor is following the Commissioner’s advice that [Streets & Sanitation] should deal with alley garbage pick up first,” said 40th Ward aldermanic aide, Tim Czarnecki. “By Thursday or Friday [they should be done with the alleys]. Then they will begin picking up the street debris.”

The Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation says they’ve been busy, but the weather should take care of things anyway.

“The one thing we had outstanding was garbage collection,” said Streets & Sanitation spokesman Matthew Smith. ”Our present operational priority is completing refuse collections for the week. Conditions permitting, as we hope to complete refuse collection on Friday, we will also begin to clear any remaining debris from the streets.”

Ald. Mell plans to ask his ward crew to clean up dibs-ware next week.

“I probably would ask the ward superintendent to remove the stuff by Monday of next week. Then I’ll pick out the best ones and take them onto the Antiques Road Show.”

Bottom line: Clean your stuff up by the weekend, or the city will take it away for good.

Note: Streets & Sanitation spokesman Matthew Smith’s statement was updated with additional detail at 5:10 p.m.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/JCRomanofsky Jeannette Romanofsky

    Thank you for spelling it out, especially for those in the 3300 block of N. Albany, although I do think this went on way too long. I also understand the dig out thing, but we did our share also and still didnt get a spot. Some people are just selfish, I sure hate to see that in our neighbors. Makes one not want to live in such a neighborhood, we drove around Lincoln Park soon after the storm and people did not act like a lot of our piggish neighbors. Sorry to be so blunt but come on people act like you at least care about your fellow people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JCRomanofsky Jeannette Romanofsky

    Thank you Alderman Mell, although I appreciate this I think its long over due. Although we also did lots of shoveling, we did not get a spot. I am sorry to say our neighbors in the 3300 block of N. Albany are very selfish. We drove around soon after the storm and those who live in Lincoln Park do not do this, their places look nice and seems the place to live, not around people who only care about their selves. Also, the 311 call line is not very helpful, some of the people are very rude, I know we all have our problems but please keep it out of the work place, if you can’t be nice then please get a job not dealing with the public.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JCRomanofsky Jeannette Romanofsky

    Sorry about the two comments, I didn’t see the first one, so posted again. This is my first time, I do not like to complain, but it is very frustrating.

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