Who has dibs on that freshly dug-out parking spot?
In Chicago, it’s called “dibs.”
There’s no similar title for it Philadelphia, but the sight is ubiquitous: a once-snow-covered parking spot reserved by a plastic chair or a garbage can or a cardboard box. In light of the record snowfall this winter, the practice has bloomed anew -- and though it's officially illegal, don't worry: Mayor Nutter's got your back.
“Look, if you spent two hours digging your car out … ultimately that has to be something respected by the community,” Nutter told the Inquirer on Thursday.
But that respect isn't always given: As the blizzard kept coming in fresh waves this week, rumors abounded. One story had a university professor egging an SUV that claimed the spot she had dug out and left a garbage can to stake her claim. In a city famous for its Parking Wars, it appeared street justice was emerging to solve the problem.
Not everybody agrees with the tradition, though.
"It’s not your fucking spot, it’s the city’s spot," said Shawn Romanick, an employee at Bucket’s Bar and Grill in East Falls. "If it (the chair or can) is light enough for you to move, it's fair game.”
Want to keep Romanick from claiming your spot? “Put two anvils there,” he said.
Vikki Sturkey, who spent the noon hour shoveling out her mother’s car on Cresson Street, disagreed.
“Chairs are and should be allowed," she said, pointing to the lack of snowplows in her neighborhood. “If there’s no parking then chairs should be allowed; there’s no city help.”
And people who steal spots like the one Sturkey cleared?
“They deserve to get beat," she said.
Bill Rogers of Ravenhill offered another possible punishment. “Shovel the snow back in," he said, and let the parking scofflaws "see how it feels.”
The disagreements are endless, though. John Hillman, a resident of East Falls, said it is best not to stake your claim. "Chairs cause problems…and arguments," he said. Adam Meora added that “you don’t need to sacrifice your new-born for a parking spot.”
In the end, though, it was Paul Taylor of Calumet Street, who suggested that good parking makes good neighbors. "if you’re going to steal a spot," he said, "don’t do it on your own block.”