Skip to contents

Chicago’s Overnight Winter Parking Ban Is Back Wednesday — Make Sure You Don’t Get Towed

Last year, 232 cars were towed during the first night of the ban despite no snowfall. The practice angers residents, but the city says it is meant to prevent a traffic standstill when it snows.

A Streets and Sanitation snow plow clears streets on Feb. 17, 2021.
  • Credibility:

CHICAGO — Drivers in the city should double check before parking their cars in the street starting early Wednesday morning.

That’s when Chicago’s overnight winter parking ban will go into effect. The ban prohibits parking along 107 miles of major roads throughout the city and is enforced from 3 a.m.-7 a.m., regardless of whether it has snowed or not, from Dec. 1 through Apr. 1, according to the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Signs indicating the ban are permanently posted along affected streets. The city has also posted flyers on cars parked on the streets as an additional reminder of the ban, according to a department news release. 

Drivers who violate the ban will be towed and face a minimum $150 towing fee, a $60 ticket and a vehicle storage fee of $25 each day, according to the department. 

Towed vehicles will be taken to Pound 2, at 10301 S. Doty Ave. in Pullman or Pound 6, at 701 N. Sacramento Blvd. in Humboldt Park.

Anyone who finds their car towed can locate it by calling 311 or using the city’s database of towed vehicles.

Credit: City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation

“The overnight parking ban is just one of the many protocols in place to keep the city safe during the winter every year,” Department of Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Cole Stallard said in a statement.

The practice, however, has been criticized as a city cash-grab — especially when no snow is in the forecast.

Last year, 232 cars were towed during the first night of the ban despite no snowfall.

“Yesterday, being still November, I didn’t think about the fact that at midnight it would actually be Dec. 1. So they towed my car,” one resident said last year while paying to get her car from the city auto pound at 701 N. Sacramento Blvd.

The whole ordeal set her back more than $200.

“It’s predatory, it’s totally predatory,” she said. “Well there goes a week’s groceries, that’s for sure.”

The city has defended the practice, saying it prevents a build-up of snow and ice next to parked cars along major roadways, according to a news release. 

There’s also a second snow-related parking ban that affects another 500 miles of main streets when there are at least two inches of snow on the street, regardless of the time of day or date. If violated, cars can be towed and ticketed. 

Both the overnight and snow-related parking bans were implemented on designated high-traffic streets to prevent what happened in 1967 and 1979, when major snowstorms caused Chicago traffic to come to a standstill, according to the department.

Visit for more information and to view the city’s snow plows in real-time.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A sign warning of Chicago’s winter overnight parking ban when there’s more than two inches of snow is present in Logan Square on Monday, November 30, 2020.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

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

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: