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Man Hopes To Declare ‘Chair-Free’ Zones In Chicago

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Chair Free Zone Sign

Photo Of A Chair-Free Zone Sign On A Tree. (credit: http://www.chairfreechicago.org)

(Credit: Lisa Fielding) Lisa Fielding
Lisa Fielding is a news anchor and reporter for Newsradio 780....
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Updated 12-7-10 10:32 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – We’ve all seen it after a big snow: Chicago’s “dibs” tradition. That’s when residents shovel out a spot on the street and hold the space with chairs, furniture and other household items. Now, as CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, there’s a move afoot to end it.

You may soon be seeing signs in your neighborhood reading, “This area is a chair-free zone.”


The man behind the idea, advertising executive Kevin Lynch said, “It’s not legally enforceable but leaving chairs out in the street isn’t legal either. It’s really a system to be jerks to each other.”

Lynch has launched an anti “dibs” bandwagon onto city streets and he wants you to join him on it.

His website, Chair-Free Chicago.org, is offering to supply supporters, at cost, with the signs to post in your neighborhood.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding Reports

Lynch believes the “dibs” tradition breeds anger and conflict.

“You’re talking about people who might have had beers together at a block party over the summer, and all of a sudden, in the winter say ‘hey, that spot in front of your house, that is now mine,’” said Lynch.

How is this new “golden rule” of winter parking etiquette playing in the neighborhoods?

In Pilsen, there’s some support.

In the words of John Chavez, “It’s not right to put chairs in the streets.”

But in Bridgeport, considered the “dibs” capital of the city, not so well.

Longtime resident Frank Bruno said, “When you’ve got the snow, if you dig your way out, fine. Leave the parking alone.”

Bridgeport’s Nancy Pusateri agrees.

“People are out there breaking their butts, shoveling, breaking their backs,” she said.

Kevin Lynch is asking folks who agree with him to contact their aldermen to try to put a little more city heat on the “dibs” practitioners.

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