Reporting Bernie Tafoya
UPDATED 12/01/10 10:36 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) - Do you know where your car is this morning?
The city’s winter parking ban is now in effect, and if you forgot, you might find yourself taking a trip to one of the auto pound.
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The ban took effect at midnight Tuesday night. Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation spokesman Matt Smith said in a news release that 215 cars were towed for violating the ban, down from 234 on Dec. 1 of last year.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports a steady stream of tow trucks came in and out of the city Auto Pound No.6 at 701 N. Sacramento Ave. all morning.
Snow flurries were flying through the air Wednesday morning, but no snow was accumulating. But the 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. parking ban on several major arterial streets is in effect through April 1 even if the skies are clear and the ground is bone dry.
Some motorists were furious, and said they disagree with the city’s policy.
“It’s ridiculous really,” one woman said. “I went to go visit my boyfriend, and the sign — literally, like, I missed it by an hour.”
The woman said she thinks the city is flat-out gouging people. She said she had to take cab to the auto pound, which coat $25. On top of that, the base ticket is $50; towing racks up a minimum $160 fee, with a daily $10 increase in the storage fee.
Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne says there is no excuse for parking your car on a winter parking ban street. Each of the streets is clearly marked with permanent signs.
Byrne added that when parking spaces the roads are not kept clear at the designated times, they interfere with the roads getting plowed in the event that it snows.
“These regulations are designed to keep our most critical routes up and running at all times so that emergency vehicles, buses and other vehicles can get to where they need to go,” Byrne said in a news release.
The following streets are affected by the ban:
• 79th Street: South Shore Drive to Cicero Avenue
• 103rd Street: Torrence Avenue to Pulaski Road
• 106th Street: State Line Road (Avenue A) to Torrence Avenue
• Archer Avenue: State Street to Harlem Avenue
• Cannon Drive (west side only): Diversey Parkway to Fullerton Drive
• Central Avenue: Bryn Mawr Avenue to Harrison Street
• Cermak Road: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to State Street
• Clark Street: Howard Street to Devon Avenue
• Cottage Grove Avenue: Midway Plaisance to 103rd Street
• Devon Avenue/West Sheridan Road: Clark Street to North Sheridan Road
• Division Street: LaSalle Boulevard to Austin Boulevard
• Foster Avenue: Clark Street to Kennedy Expressway (I-90)
• Garfield Boulevard: Ellsworth Drive (Washington Park) to Morgan Street
• Kedzie Avenue: Bryn Mawr Avenue to Irving Park Road; Milwaukee Avenue to Moffat Street; North Avenue to 87th Street
• Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive: Cermak Road to Garfield Boulevard
• Madison Street: Desplaines Street to Austin Boulevard
• Midway Plaisance: Dorchester Avenue to Cottage Grove Avenue
• Milwaukee Avenue: Lake Street to Central Avenue
• Payne Drive (Washington Park): Midway Plaisance to Morgan Drive
• State Street: Congress Parkway to Cermak Road
• Torrence Avenue: 103rd Street to 106th Street
Drivers should also pay attention to city snow route signs prohibiting parking on another 500 miles of main streets when there is a 2-inch or more snow accumulation. When that restriction is enforced, cars are towed to other streets rather than impounded.
CBS 2′s Mike Puccinelli contributed to this report.