Ah, street cleaning on already crowded Chicago streets. Joy! In 2017, Streets and Sanitation crews swept nearly 250,000 miles of curb lanes on residential and main streets and just under 5,000 alleys. To put it lightly, the street cleaning program in Chicago is comprehensive and a notorious hassle for residents and visitors alike. Luckily, with real-time information at your fingertips, you’re able to know exactly when and where street cleaning occurs.
Keep reading to learn when each Chicago Ward is cleaned and how to avoid the most common mistakes drivers make when parking in Chicago during street cleaning season.
How does Chicago street cleaning work?
The Chicago street cleaning season is expected to run from April 2 until early November, though if it isn’t snowing by then, crews will continue to clean the streets beyond the end of the scheduled season.
Street sweepers move through the city by Ward, and each area has its own unique schedule. Drivers are encouraged to move their cars according to times listed on posted signs. To learn more about Chicago street cleaning and avoid those tickers, read our guide here.
What kinds of signs should I look for?
If you’re parked in a residential area, look for the Department of Streets & Sanitation’s orange paper “no-parking” signs on residential streets approximately 2 days in advance of street sweeping, but sometimes only 24 hours in advance. These signs are removed after the sweeper has completed the area to open parking spots back up to the neighborhood.
If you’re parked in a commercial area, look for permanent street signs that indicate the day of the week and time that street sweeping will occur.
When does street cleaning occur in my ward?
If you’re parked in Chicago, it’s important to note that street cleaning occurs by ward. To see when street cleaning occurs near you, access this real-time street cleaning map. Whether you need to park your car in a neighborhood you’re not familiar with, or you want to verify when street cleaning occurs near your home, there’s no need to dig through lists of information by ward or wonder whether the information is up to date.
Simply type the street address you’re wondering about in the search bar and click on one of the green icons (free street parking) or blue icons (metered parking) to reveal street cleaning dates and hours for that particular area.
What time does Chicago street cleaning happen?
On residential streets, street cleaning occurs between the hours of 9AM-3PM. On commercial streets, street sweeping occurs more often and between the hours of 7AM-9AM.
Is it legal to park after the street sweeper passes?
It’s debated whether you’re safe to park your car after the street sweeper has already passed. There have been individual reports of ticketing even after street cleaning occurs on individual blocks, so it’s always recommended to follow the hours posted on the sign regardless.
Do Chicago street sweepers operate throughout the winter?
No. Once the snowy winter season hits, street sweeper trucks are swapped out for snowplows. Be wary, though. Just because street sweeping season is over doesn’t mean you can park anywhere on the street you want. When there are more than 2 inches of snow on the ground, street parking is suspended throughout the city.
To learn more about Chicago street parking throughout every season, check out this complete guide to Chicago street parking.
Is the street cleaning schedule suspended on any holidays?
Unlike many other cities in the United States, Chicago does not suspend street cleaning on any major holidays. Every day between April and November is a potential street cleaning day.
How much does a Chicago street cleaning ticket cost?
A street cleaning ticket in Chicago costs $60. It’s also the second most ticketed parking offense in the city.
How to avoid a Chicago street cleaning ticket?
The SpotAngels app is the easiest way to make sure your car is safe from being ticketed and is increasingly used by Chicago residents. The app connects to the car’s Bluetooth and runs in the background to automatically set a reminder for street cleaning in Chicago each time the vehicle parks. The app is free and available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.