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How to brave the brutal winter like a real Chicagoan

City resources to skillfully handle the cold season

If you’ve made it through a Chicago winter, you’re well aware of the bone-chilling, icy wind and the scary, real-feel temperatures. You can never be too prepared, so we’ve put together a list of tips, resources and ways to help others to brave the cold.

From Midwest winter novice to weathered veteran—this list might help make the cold a little more tolerable.

Clear the way: Wondering why your neighborhood hasn’t been plowed yet? See if your block is up next using the city’s tracker, or watch on ClearStreets which scraps the same data. As for sidewalks, city code requires homeowners and residents to shovel a path as soon as possible.

Make a service request: In a recently modernized version of 311, residents can now make city requests through an app or online portal in addition to calling the number. The system allows residents to notify the city about potholes, report a rat problem or ask for more trees to be planted on their block. In the winter, use CHI311 to request ice and snow removal from streets and even clear your neighbor’s dibs set up. Yes, it’s true, dibs has its own request category.

Don’t park here: There’s an overnight winter parking ban on certain major streets, so if your new to driving or if have visitors coming make sure they know the deal. The ban begins December 1 and lasts until April 1, but also kicks in when snow is 2 inches or more. If you can’t seem to find your car, find out if it was towed by entering information into Chicago Police Department’s website. However, if the private towing company didn’t make a report to the city then it won’t show up here.

Sign up for alerts: Create an account through NotifyChicago to get text or email alerts on emergencies where you live. You can determine how you receive the messages about major events causing traffic, hazardous weather or other need-to-know situations.

Flight smart: Always check the status of your flight before you leave for the airport. If you know a storm is coming and it’s possible to fly out before it hits that’ll save you a lot of stress. Nearly 40 percent of flights leaving O’Hare and Midway were late arriving to their destinations during the last holiday season, according to Department of Transportation statistics analyzed by Magnify Money.

Take advantage of the tunnels: On particularly cold days, use the city’s Pedway system. The underground tunnels and bridges connect more than 40 blocks and 50 buildings in the Loop and, bonus, a new art gallery recently opened there.

Warm up: There’s a Heat Ordinance that your landlord should be following all winter. Apartments need to be kept at 68 degrees during the day and 66 degrees at night. If that’s not the case, then make a “no heat complaint” through 311. If you need more help, there are emergency warming centers across the city that run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and one 24-hour shelter open 7 days a week.

Have more advice that we didn’t mention? Learned something particularly useful last winter? Let us know!

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