Chicago utilizes mechanical street sweepers to remove debris and litter from streets.
From April 1st through mid-November, bright orange temporary parking restrictions are posted at least 24 hours before sweeping service is scheduled to begin on any street to ensure curb-to-curb cleaning. Some arterial streets have permanently posted signs that specify a once-per-week period when parking is prohibited for street sweeping.
Residents can view street sweepers in real time using the Sweeper Tracker online tool.
Street sweeping requests should be made to city’s request line at 3-1-1 or click on the button below to make your request.
Snow and Leaf Removal
Snow Removal Chicago Municipal Code, sections 4-4-310 and 10-8-180, specifies that both homes and businesses must clear snow from sidewalks next to their property. Make Chicago safe for everyone by clearing snow and ice from the public sidewalks around your property. Without a wide, clear path, snow and ice on the sidewalk make it difficult for everyone — especially people with disabilities, seniors, and children — to walk safely. Read Chicago Sidewalk Snow Removal Guide.
Be a good neighbor and offer help to those in your community who are physically unable to clear their own sidewalks. To volunteer as a Snow Angel or read FAQs on snow removal see the City’s webpage.
Street drains can quickly get clogged with leaves and other street debris and flood. Please tell your neighbors and landscape companies NOT to rake leaves into the street and gutters. If you do see leaves and debris on top of street drains or catch basins, just rake or sweep up and bag this debris, and dispose in the trash or compose in a yard. Otherwise, the debris could clog the sewer structure. If ponding water remains even after removing leaves and debris from the surface grates, contact our office, and we’ll get the City to schedule the unclogging.
Garbage & Recycling Collection
If you wish to request a cart replacement or an additional cart, click here or call 311.
The Bureau of Sanitation collects residential garbage from approximately 600,000 households in Chicago. Pick-ups are weekly, Mondays through Fridays. City crews service all single-family residences and apartment buildings of four units or less. More than one million tons of garbage and recyclables are collected annually.
Follow the links below for sanitation services:
- Residential Garbage Collection
- Grid Garbage Collection
- Recycle Guide by City Chicago
- Check Status of Sanitation Code Violation
- Non-Scheduled Garbage
- Roll-Out Refuse Carts
- Sanitation Ordinance
The Blue Cart program provides bi-weekly recycling services to single family homes and multi-unit buildings with four or fewer units. By recycling regularly, you can help reduce the need for landfills, lower disposal costs, reduce pollution and conserve natural resources, such as timber, water and minerals.
One of the City’s most effective ways to combat rodents is containerization. Because the residents we service use heavy-duty plastic carts with tight-fitting lids to contain garbage, residents are able to cut off one of the main sources of food in an urban rat’s diet. These carts are free and are distributed by the department’s Bureau of Sanitation. Use of these free carts, combined with the rodenticide we strategically place deep inside a rat’s burrow, are the key reasons for the decline of rats in our city. If rats can’t feed, rats can’t breed.
Graffiti is vandalism. It scars the community, hurts property values and diminishes our quality of life. The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation offers free graffiti removal services to private property owners to help maintain the beauty of our communities.
To report graffiti or request its removal, call the city’s service request line at 311 or click here.
Winter Parking Restrictions
Department of Streets & Sanitation (DSS) coordinates Chicago’s snow and ice control efforts from Snow Command. This high tech command center allows us to access and view a network of cameras and pavement sensors to get a quick and accurate assessment of our pavement conditions citywide. We track incoming weather systems via Doppler radar and through constant communication with our meteorological consultants and the National Weather Service. And we combine all of these technologies along with the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) on all of our trucks to strategically deploy our snow personnel to up to over 280 snow routes. Once on the roadways our trucks patrol, plow or salt our routes as necessary.
DSS is responsible for maintaining winter roadway safety on a route system of 9,456 lane miles. Our routes consist of city main streets, neighborhood streets and Lake Shore Drive. The expressway system that travels through Chicago is maintained by the State of Illinois’ Department of Transportation, IDOT, and their familiar orange trucks.
During a snow program, Streets & Sanitation’s first priority is to clear our main routes and Lake Shore Drive. Once arterial streets are patrolled and deemed safe is generally when Snow Command turns our attention to the side streets.
While most side streets are cleared by full-size Snow Fighting Trucks, Chicago’s narrowest side streets are cleaned by a fleet of over 20 smaller plows. These include 4×4 pick-up trucks with plows and heavy salt capacity.
For major snowstorms, Streets and Sanitation also has the capacity to equip as many as 200 garbage trucks with “quick hitch” plows to supplement the fleet. Since these don’t have salt spreading capability, they are run in tandem with trucks that do. In addition, heavy equipment and labor is available from other municipal departments for snow clearance during and after a blizzard.
Winter Snow Parking Restrictions
In order to ensure that the most critical roadways in Chicago are kept open to full capacity at all times, the City of Chicago instituted and vigorously enforces a Winter Overnight Parking Ban on 107 miles of vital arterial streets from 3 am to 7 am between December 1st and April 1st, regardless of snow.
Motorists who ignore this permanently posted seasonal tow zone face a $150 towing fee (minimum) in addition to a $60 ticket and an initial $20 daily storage fee.
A separate snow-related parking ban exists for another 500 miles of main streets and can be activated after there are at least two inches of snow on the street, no matter the time of day or the calendar date. While the 2” inch snow ban is not activated often, motorists who are parked there when it snows could receive a ticket or find that their vehicle has been relocated in order to facilitate snow clearing operations.
Both of these parking bans were implemented on designated arterial streets to prevent recurrences of problems that happened in 1967 and 1979 when Chicago came to a traffic standstill due to major snowstorms.