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Aldermen Say Dibs Is Coming To A Close

By Mike Fourcher | Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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

Up in Ravenswood Manor, 33rd Ward Ald. Richard Mell is telling his constituents that if they don’t clean up their dibs-ware, he’ll take it for himself.

While Roscoe View aldermen aren’t quite as aggressive, they’re calling for an end to dibs this weekend too.

“If anyone is calling us now we’re telling them that everything has to be cleared from the public way,” said Paul Sajevick, Chief of Staff to 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack. “We’re going to send out a short note as part of our regular correspondance on Friday. Starting Friday our ward superintendent is planning to remove any items that have been placed in the public way.”

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.

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.

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.”

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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