Parking The Chicago Way. . .
When we moved into our home seventeen years ago, there were still lots of old-timers living in the ‘hood, and the parking rules were clear: you did not park in front of anyone else’s house, and a snow-shoveled spot was yours until the snow melted. If circumstance left you without a parking spot in front of your house (a party, street cleaning day, for example), you would park your car in front of someone else’s house but would move it back in front of your house as soon as a spot opened up.
Let me be clear: No one owes you a spot in front of your house. City parking is first come, first serve. It’s just good neighborhood parking manners to make every effort to park in front of your own house. It’s understood, as dearly departed Joe would say. (Click to read my post about Joe and parking.)
These days, the neighborhood old-timers are few and a far between, and good parking manners are fading away. But since I park in the garage, I don’t really care about the odd assortment of vehicles that park in front of the house. However, I do picture Joe ranting that I am not withholding the parking standard—and he may be right.
Over the last few weeks, my teen has been driving the June Bug and parking it in front of the house, and I am babysitting a friend’s red van while she is in Europe. Also parked in front of the house. We are on a double lot. I’m sure this annoys the neighbors since these spots have been a free-for-all in recent months. Honestly, it feels good to stake our parking claim again. But I hope I am not the reason of our neighbors have found it necessary to
play display the handicapped card—a growing trend in Chicago.
A picture is worth a 1,000 words.
Please, don’t call me insensitive. Or judgmental. I felt no remorse for using my dearly departed aunt’s handicapped place card until it expired. HOWEVER, I would not have two large poles put in front of my house declaring that I was handicapped for the sole purpose of reserving parking. One neighbor secured the space for his tenant; the other neighbor claims her (invisible)handicapped mother-in-law visits frequently. And they aren’t the only ones! Our neighborhood is beginning to look a hospital parking lot.
Staking your claim to your shoveled parking spot after a snowstorm with a chair is a respected Chicago tradition people love to hate, and I know showing parking courtesy builds good neighborhood relationships…but having the city put up handicapped signs on large poles in front of your house declaring you unfit to walk a few blocks seems a bit over the top. And it’s ugly. An eye sore. Offensively ugly. You get my point….I’ll stop now.
My teen, of course, is expressing concern about my lack of hearing and plantar fasciitis and wonders if reserved handicapped parking in front of our house might be in my best interest. Like father, like son.
How’s parking in your neck of the woods?
Odd Loves Company,