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Chicago Cracks Down on Parking Dibs

Chicago''s Traditional Bad Weather Parking MarkersThe City of Chicago has announced that on Monday it will begin to collect all material being used as parking “dibs” and dispose of it. Picture the mass purging from the City streets of torn kitchen chairs from the 70’s, buckets with wood planks, small tables, religious statues, cereal boxes (Yes, it’s true), and other forms of junk used to reserve a parking spot after one has dug their car out of the snow. Naturally, a resourceful dibber could conceivably remove their items before Monday, watch for the dib-busters to go by, and re-dib their spot.

The City has not indicated a lengthy program to patrol streets and rid the dib materials on an ongoing basis. After all, doesn’t the City have more pressing things to spend resources on? Typically, the need for dibbing diminishes as snow disappears. The concept of using furniture and other household items as a strategic placeholder of an outdoor parking spot that has been cleared of snow is a long standing Chicago tradition. No specific law prohibits or allows “dibbing.” Dibbing has generated much heated debate over the years and by and large, the City has stayed out of regulating this practice or officially commenting on it.¬†Although the city could use laws prohibiting blocking of a public way or littering laws to reign in dibbing, it has not done so. In fact, a few years ago, the City of Chicago found itself on the paying end of a lawsuit involving a dibber and a non-dib-respecting neighbor. The dibber confronted his neighbor when she removed the chair his wife had put outside as a placeholders after he dug their car out of the snow. The dibber threatened the neighbor and told her he would (expletive) up her car. She, in turn, called police. Police showed up and the dibber took off. A foot chase ensued between the dibber police officers who chased the dibber into his own. In the home, the police officers manhandled the dibber, pepper sprayed him and put him in lock up overnight. The dibber filed a complaint alleging his civil rights had been violated by the police officers. The dibber won. Moral of the story–don’t mess with a dibber.

One sign recently spotted in North Center warned anyone thinking of taking the person’s “dib” spot: “I will break your windows if I see your car in this spot.” In other instances people have taken to outright inperson confrontations over “dibbing.”

Maybe it’s this insane winter but clearly, some people have gone overboard in protecting “dib” turf. Before you go overboard in protecting your “dibbed” spot, note that there is no legal right to reserve a parking spot for oneself on a common public street.

What do you think of”dibbing?” Has anyone in your neighborhood gone too far? What sort of unusual dib markers have you seen?

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