Skip to contents
Citywide

Though The City Disabled Its Plow Tracker, You Can Still See How Long It Took Trucks To Plow Your Block

Officials pulled the Streets and Sanitation Department's real-time plow truck tracker offline this week, after neighbors complained of delays on social media. But you can still check when plows visited your block — it's just harder to do so.

Unplowed snow at the corner of 77th and Colfax, where residents have not seen city plowing in weeks in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood on Feb. 22, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
  • Credibility:

SOUTH SHORE — Streets and Sanitation Department officials took their live plow truck tracker offline shortly after it showed some blocks in South Shore went two weeks without a plow during the recent winter storm — but residents can still access the tracker’s data.

Block Club confirmed the city’s plow truck data is still online with assistance from Forest Gregg, a partner at the civic technology firm Datamade. For instructions on how to check the city’s plow truck data on your block, click here.

The available data confirms plow trucks have not visited the 23002600 blocks of 78th Street in South Shore since Feb. 9, as reported Wednesday.

Hours after Block Club asked Streets and Sanitation why the 2200 block of 78th Street was unplowed — and after a reporter showed a photo of the unplowed street in a tweet — a truck cleared the block Monday afternoon for the first time in 13 days. But neighboring blocks were left untouched.

The 7600 and 7700 blocks of Essex, Kingston and Colfax avenues have been unplowed since Feb. 14, the day before a storm dropped nearly 18 inches of snow on Chicago.

Without evidence to dispute the city’s own data, Streets and Sanitation spokesperson Cristina Villarreal said Wednesday every residential street in the city was plowed “multiple times” since last week’s snowstorm.

The department “manages 9,400 lane miles of road; if, for some reason, a street was missed, residents can contact 3-1-1 to request a plow,” Villarreal said.

Other South Shore side streets were only plowed once since last week, further disputing the department’s claims.

For example, the 2200 block of East 70th Place was plowed once since last week’s snow storm, on Feb. 17. Neighbors complained on Facebook that the storm left the block with snow banks so high “people were getting stuck.”

The real-time plow tracker has been offline since at least Tuesday, with city officials saying it would only be activated “during major snow events.”

Just a day earlier, the Streets and Sanitation Department encouraged residents to use the tracker as crews continued to work on side streets.

“We have transitioned to residential streets this morning after ensuring main streets are safe and passable overnight,” the department posted to Facebook Monday. “Follow plows in real time at ChicagoShovels.org.”

It’s unclear why the tracker remained active Monday — with a high of 40 degrees and no snowfall — and officials were advising people to use it, but officials considered the “major snow event” over by Tuesday.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.