PDA

View Full Version : Holding Parking Spaces In Chicago



dangerousbill
07-15-2012, 09:35 PM
I'm looking for a slang term that may or may not exist.

In Chicago, and maybe other cities, there's no off-street parking. In those neighborhoods, there's a practice of putting an object in the street to hold a parking spot in front of your house. Strangers park there at their peril--they may return to find the air let out of their tires or a window broken, or the car gone altogether.

Some of the markers are just old kitchen chairs. Some are elaborate, like a child's wagon festooned with ribbons and teddy bears.

Does anyone know a name for this practice? Thank you in advance.

dangerousbill
07-15-2012, 10:24 PM
I'm looking for a slang term that may or may not exist.


Never mind. The practice is called 'dibs', and it's been in use for decades, apparently borrowed from the children's slang for 'first to see, first to grab'.

As Cecil Adams said, "It's one of the traditions, like 16-inch softball, Italian beef (http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20090219.php), and no ketchup on hot dogs (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/679/why-is-there-no-ketchup-on-a-properly-made-hot-dog), that has made Chicago great."
http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20110203.php

NikkiSloan
07-15-2012, 10:58 PM
In the Midwest, but not Chicago specifically, we'd deposit someone from the car to run down the block and stand in the spot to "save" or "hold" it - especially if it was on a one-way street requiring a couple minutes of drive-around time to get the car to it. I'd seen people try to post signs reserving spaces that were actually public parking - but I don't think it was very effective.

Alessandra Kelley
07-16-2012, 12:48 AM
In Chicago "dibs" is only used in winter when people have dug out parking spaces from the snow themselves. It is not used at any other time.

It is not done at all in my neighborhood, which is civilized.

blackrose602
07-16-2012, 02:23 AM
We do two different variations on it in New Orleans, but I've never heard it called anything but "saving" or "reserving" a spot. In the French Quarter, we do the "stand in the spot" thing. Depending on the time of day and what events are going on, other drivers may respect it or it may become hazardous to the health of whoever the stander is.

I used to live in Mid-City, half a block off the Endymion Mardi Gras parade route on a tiny road with barely enough parking for us and our neighbors. Of course, half the immediate world would try to park on our street for the parade. So we used garbage cans, traffic cones and anything else we could think of to block off parking. But we did it in a very neighborly, communal way--we all worked together to build the blockades, and anybody who lived in the neighborhood was entitled to take down enough to get their car in. Worked out pretty well, and we were even able to let each house have one guest park there.

mayqueen
07-16-2012, 03:50 AM
What Alessandra said. Dibs only happens in the winter here, and it can be pretty contentious. It used to happen in my old neighborhood. (I'm not a native. I think the practice is pretty silly, but I still respect it.)

dangerousbill
07-16-2012, 03:52 AM
In Chicago "dibs" is only used in winter when people have dug out parking spaces from the snow themselves. It is not used at any other time.

Until 2004, I worked at IIT. Across the highway in Bridgeport, I saw chairs and traffic cones used all year to hold parking spaces, always on the residential side streets where the houses are too close together to slip a piece of paper between.

TheRajinski
07-27-2012, 03:53 AM
We used to do this in Madison, WI. Near campus, residential area... in the winter. Nothing worse than digging out your spot only to find it taken upon your return...and you have to dig out another spot five blocks away.

We used "borrowed" traffic cones. The police left them alone, at least for the years I lived there. (;