It was a sight as familiar as the snow itself to any veteran of Chicago winters: the carefully dug-out parking spaces after the massive blizzard, occupied by some odd piece of junk. A barrel. A folding chair. A saw-horse made of cat-litter barrels and a wooden plank. A statue of the Virgin Mary.
The longstanding city tradition of "dibs" has got its opponents. It also has friends in high places, as all the candidates for the city's next mayor endorsed the practice. "It's a civil way to allocate parking and it's been going on for 100 years in Chicago," Gery Chico said.
But for now, anyway, the city has decided it's time to put the kibosh on dibbing.
Enough time has passed since the blizzard, and enough snow has melted with the recent stretch of warm temperatures, that the various objects on the street are only serving to clutter the roads, the Department of Streets and Sanitation told NBC Chicago.
Drivers have until the end of the week to clear their clutter, at which point Streets & San crews will start hauling it away.
One politician got personal with the fight against dibs: the influential 33rd Ward alderman Richard Mell, father of Patti Blagojevich and state Rep. Deb Mell and major City Council power-broker. Mell sent an email to his constituents, taking the tone of a disappointed schoolteacher. The Expired Meter has the message:
"While it was obvious that we had a special circumstance during the blizzard, this is, in most blocks of our 33rd Ward, no longer the case," said Mell via e-mail. "I am asking every resident in the 33rd Ward to stop this practice and remove every "dibs" marker. I personally observed an entire block very near our offices where every single space was "dibbed" even though there was very little snow left on the pavement. I expect to see no dibs markers on the streets by the end of the week. Shortly thereafter, I will ask the community to help remove any that remain."
So for now, that's it for dibs -- and with the weather downright balmy, it's hard to argue. But you can bet the minute flakes start coming down again, you'll see boxes and lawn chairs out there before you know it.