Here are some commonly asked questions about sidewalk snow shoveling. If you don’t see your question answered here by all means shoot us a note at bigshovels@gmail.com.

  • Whats your position on DIBS?  There are no DIBS on the sidewalk. Shovel your sidewalk when you shovel your car out (or, shovel your car out when you shovel your sidewalk out).
  • What do I do when I see a badly unshoveled sidewalk? First, ask yourself, did it just snow? Is it still snowing? If so, give your neighbors a chance. If it snowed three days ago call the City of Chicago 311 Service Request Line and report the scofflaw. Dial 311 or make the request online. If its a particularly egregious example take a picture and send it over to bigshovels@gmail.com
  • What are they going to do, fine me? Yes, those who ignore the sidewalk snow removal ordinance can be fined 50 bucks. Businesses can be fined $250 – $500 per day.
  • How quickly do I have to clear my sidewalk? Three hours if the snow stops falling before 4 p.m.. After 4pm or on Sundays you have to clear before 10 am the next day.
  • Can I get away with just shoveling a narrow path? Nope, the Code requires individuals to clear a 5 foot wide path.
  • Fines aside, why should I bother? In case you didn’t notice Chicago has harsh winters. The only way to keep the City walking year-round is to clear the snow from the sidewalks. This is especially important for seniors, people with disabilities and children. And how many of us have no choice but to walk to the train, grocery store, pharmacy, doctor’s office?
  • Don’t see your question here? Send in your questions to bigshovels@gmail.com
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