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Sidewalk Snow Removal – Everyone’s Responsibility! | Warming Centers

Sidewalk Snow Removal – Everyone’s Responsibility! | Warming Centers

It’s that time of year again to bring out the shovels and the salt! Upon snowfall, the City of Chicago’s Municipal Code mandates that a 5 foot clearance must be made along the sidewalk in order to ensure safety for all pedestrians; especially those in wheelchairs, people with children in strollers, and individuals with assistive mobility devices.

This 5 foot clearance must be done by 10 PM after snowfall if snowfall stops before 4 PM or must be done before 10 AM the next morning if snowfall stops after 4 PM.

Who is responsible for shoveling? Everyone!

We are all responsible for the maintenance of our sidewalk clearance during the winter to make sure that our neighbors are able to walk safely throughout our neighborhood.

If you see sidewalks that continuously do not shovel and maintain their 5 foot clearance, you can report that address to 311 under ‘Snow – Uncleared Sidewalk’ which will issue a citation to the owner of the building (this includes businesses!). If you see a sidewalk that needs to be shoveled please submit a 311 request, under “Snow-Uncleared Bike Lane or Sidewalk”. Submit requests HERE. 

If you or a neighbor are unable to clear streets on your own, our ward is currently putting together a program to dispatch volunteers to shovel. If you are willing to volunteer or are in need of this service please email our office at Additionally subscribe to our newsletter HERE for more information.

If you have questions or want to share more information with friends and family, we’ve attached a flyer that goes over the City’s municipal code for snow removal here. You can also visit the City’s website here for more information.

City Plowing and Snowfall Parking Restrictions:

For our neighbors with cars, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with which streets prohibit street parking upon 2” inches or more of snowfall. You can find examples of signage here to look out for when parking. There are streets that prohibit overnight parking from December 1st to April 1st regardless of snowfall, none of those streets reside in our ward, however, please be vigilant while parking in different areas of the City.

If you are trying to find which streets have been cleared, or when to expect plows, take a look at the city wide Plow Tracker map. It is activated during instances of heavy snow falls and winter storms.

You do not have to move your vehicle if you are parked on a street that does not have the 2” inches tow zone signage.

The City of Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) prioritizes the removal of snow from arterial streets. Once all arterial streets have been plowed and salted, DSS will plow and salt side streets. the city does NOT plow alleys, however the weight of city garbage trucks creates tracks for vehicles to get through more easily. If you would like to receive updates on where plows are located around the City, you can utilize the City’s Plow Tracker here. If you would like to check on the status of streets to see if they have already been plowed and salted, you can check on the City’s Clear Streets portal here.

Warming Centers
  • Call 911 if someone is experiencing the symptoms of hypothermia.
  • Call 311
    • to locate the warming area nearest to you.
    • to request a well-being check for a neighbor, loved one or a friend.
    • to report inadequate heat in a residential building that violates the Chicago Heat Ordinance.

City of Chicago warming centers go into effect when temperatures are at 32 degrees or below. Warming areas are available 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. Click here for a full list of DFSS Citywide Warming Centers.

North Area Community Service Center
845 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640, 312-744-2580

Chicago Parks and Libraries also serve as warming centers during extreme cold:

  • Uptown Library
    929 W Buena Ave
  • Bezazian Library
    1226 W Ainslie
  • Clarendon Park Community Center (temporarily closed for construction)
    4501 N Clarendon Ave
  • Gill Park 
    825 W Sheridan Rd

Click here for more warming center options.

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