Cities Across the Country Say: End Savesies on Snow Days

Car owners save shoveled parking spaces with weird household items, and officials say it’s got to stop

Traditional Space Saver in Boston
Traditional Space Saver in Boston Mike Sandman

Ah, winter—when asphalt turns to ice rinks, snowbanks become impenetrable barricades, and lawnchairs bloom on freshly shoveled patches of road. In cities where winter means lots and lots of snow, one of the strange ways of coping is saving shoveled-out parking spaces with weird household items. And city officials want it to stop.

Boston might be the most famous for this tradition, but now authorities there are cracking down on space savers. The Philadelphia Poilce Department is pushing to stop the practice, too. In Chicago and Boston, vigilantes have gone around collecting the space savers and dumping them or selling them on Craigslist

In Chicago, where the practice is known as parking dibs, and Boston, municipal governments have decided to tacitly allow the space savers for 48 hours after a snowstorm, after which time any junk in the street will be removed by the sanitation department. Philadelphia took it one step further, pushing a #NoSavesies campaign on Twitter.


Long before Philadelphia police Sgt. Eric Gripp created the inspired #NoSavesies hashtag to try to keep citizens from illegally saving parking spots, he was responding to calls about the time-honored tradition in South Philly.

"If it wasn't about the actual cone or chair or boat or whatever, it was the fight that happened afterward over the space or it was a call from a visiting nurse trying to render services to someone on the block and they literally have nowhere to park," he said. "Everybody's at work but the entire block is just a sea of cones and chairs."

The practice doesn’t seem as prevalent in New York, probably because New Yorkers have been known to have violent reactions to other people saving a space for a few minutes, much less a day. Savesies is also officially illegal in New York, though you can still find some garbage cans sprouting from freshly-dug parking spaces in areas of Queens

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