Updated 01/12/12 – 9 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’re wondering when the city is going to clear away the snow that’s piling up on your street, stare out the window no more.

For the first time Thursday, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation is using the new Plow Tracker system, which allows users to follow their snow plows in real time.

The Department of Streets and Sanitation pressed the Plow Tracker into service for the first time as its full fleet of 278 snow plows was out on the city’s streets Thursday.

The system is the brainchild of Mayor Emanuel’s director of social media, Kevin Hauswirth.

“The city taxpayers own those trucks and it is important that we’re accountable to people and they can see where that tax money is going and that those streets are being cleared,” he tells CBS 2’s Mike Parker.

Before long, the city will be targeting the side streets that are now crusted with a slippery white blanket.

“If there’s a plow driving down the street, it’s on the map,” Hauswirth says.

The Plow Tracker is one of several new features on the Web site ChicagoShovels.org, which offers a variety of interactive help in dealing with Chicago’s winter weather.

The Web site also features an Adopt-a-Sidewalk Program and a Volunteer Snow Corps.

New smart phone apps are also available to find out if your car was towed and where it is or if the winter parking ban is in effect.

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