Move over, bus tracker and train tracker. Plow tracker is here.
The city on Tuesday is scheduled to unveil a snow-response website featuring real-time GPS locations of plows, car towing information and a shovel-share program to combat severe winter weather. The site comes during a slow start to the first winter of Mayor Emanuel's administration and in the wake of the massive February blizzard that left drivers and CTA buses stranded on Lake Shore Drive, hampered city services and frustrated residents.
Chicagoshovels.org was created by the mayor's three-person tech team using in-house resources and volunteers. The team pooled existing city information to make it easy for residents to find and built new tools to help Chicagoans get connected and navigate winter weather.
"A lot of us that work in mayor's office, we were all here for that blizzard [in 2011] so it's in all of our memories," said Kevin Hauswirth, the mayor's director of social media.
"It served as a strong reminder to why it's so important that we're prepared, that we create tools that connect neighbors to each other. Because at the end of the day when it snows and you walk out of your house, it's your neighbors that are going to help you shovel the driveways and dig your car out. "
email@example.com | @lvivanco
How it works: Shows real time GPS locations of snow plows clearing city streets on a map.
Details: In the blizzard aftermath, some aldermen complained about the distribution of snow removing equipment in their wards. With plow tracker, aldermen and residents can see the location of the 278 snow fighting trucks and 30 smaller plows. Up to 200 garbage trucks can be equipped with plows if needed.
How it works: Provides information through digital apps created by independent developers including wasmycartowed.com and 2inch.es, which shows color-coded maps of parking restrictions.
Details: Violators of the overnight parking ban, in effect from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. until April 1 on main streets, face a $50 ticket, $150 towing fee and $10 daily storage fee. The two-inch snow parking ban carries a $50 ticket and the possibility of having the car relocated so streets can be cleared.
How it works: Connects volunteers and community organizations with residents who need help shoveling sidewalks in neighborhoods, particularly the elderly and people with disabilities who contact 311 for assistance.
Details: Some property owners can't physically shovel the sidewalk in front of their home while others are dodge the responsibility mandated by a rarely enforced city ordinance. In November, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) reportedly spoke about cracking down on violators with a warning and then a ticket.
Adopt a sidewalk (*beta launch at a later date)
How it works: Allows residents to claim a sidewalk on an interactive map and offers a platform for neighbors to share snow resources like shovels or snow blowers.
Details: Once the sidewalk is claimed, it's basically a pledge to take care of it during the winter.