Hello everyone, this is Charles McShan from Century 21 Universal Real Estate. My office is at 7300N.Western Ave. Suite I located within the heart of the West Ridge area of Chicago Ill. with the zipcode being 60645. Summer is gone and you know if you live in the Chicagoland area the fall season can be long or it can be short. This year of 2019 the fall season was short. Winter life in Chicago, the good and the bad. The Chicago Hawk is here. It is cold outside, Snow has fallen in late October. Today on November 11th snow is falling and it feels like we are in January. Already in other parts of the country Winter has left its mark. A lot of people love Chicago but they tell me that they cannot live here because they can’t endure the winters. They asked how do you take it? I tell them that I was born here, I just suck it up, put on more clothes and endure. But, if you are a newcomer to Chicago or you are a veteran to our town this blog will help everyone get through the winter life in the Chicago area.
The Bad Points of Winter Time Life In The Chicago Area
First things first, The Bad. we in Chicago love to drive fast. and drive close to the next person’s bumper. That is not good, but it is the Chicago way. It takes a snowstorm and a few accidents to get drivers to switch from Summer/Fall driving to Winter driving mode. Winter life in the Chicago area means seeing the familiar sky blue color of the snow plows on the streets. The Streets and Sanitation department operates a fleet of Snowplows like the picture above. When the snowfall gets heavy they also put plows on garbage trucks and they try to keep the streets free of snow.or try to keep the streets at a manageable level. The counties of Cook/Dupage/Lake and Will take care of the local County roads. The State of Illinois takes care of the Interstates and Tolls roads and finally, the local towns and villages maintain their local streets.
Chicago Warning! Wintertime life in the Chicago area also involves paying close attention to where you park. In the city of Chicago from December 1st to April 1st The city suspends the street sweeping program and replaces it with 2 snow bans routes. The first snow ban states with posted signs on light poles bars vehicles from parking on certain main streets when there are more than 2 inches of snow on the road so the plows can do their jobs. Here you could receive a ticket and maybe a tow /unlikely/. Then there is the second and more important ban. This snow street restriction states with posted signs on light poles that on these main streets that you can not park on these streets overnight from 3 am to 7 am regardless if there is snow on the ground or not. If you park there you will not only get a ticket, you will also be towed. The city has a fleet of city and private tow trucks and they tow in force.
The fine is around $160.00 and if you do not have proper city and state registration stickers on your car you will have to get those stickers before you can bond your car out of the city pound located at Chicago and Sacramento ave. They will also request proof of Insurance. You do not have Insurance? You will have to purchase it and bring them proof. They are serious, they show no mercy. They will legally clean your bank account and if you can’t get your car out on the same day away they will also charge you a daily storage fee. Each and every year on December 1st it always amazes me when hardcore Chicagoans by the hundreds get their cars towed. You got to be street savvy. The signs are clearly posted for all to see on the light poles. If you park your car in the same location every night Look up and see what that sign says about if you can part your car there overnight legally.
In my Northside area, the 3 am to the 7 am snow ban is in Rogers Park on Devon ave.from Clark street to the Broadway ave. on both sides of the street. Other areas are Clark street around Wrigley field and Milwaukee ave South of North ave. These are party areas and the partiers leave the clubs after 3 am and they find their cars gone Read the signs posted above where you are parking. Certain Suburbs also have their own snow parking restrictions. Do your job, found out what their restrictions are in advance and keep your money in your pocket. Why am I going into detail about this subject? Every year I take friends and strangers who are broke to the pound where they will wait in long lines to get their vehicles. They come out crying and angry. Well, this year dry your eyes, you have now been warned. Watch where you park your car on the mean main streets of Chicago.
In Chicago, we have unique weather patterns. I am going to switch gears, answer a question and then come back to the subject of the cold. People are always asking why in the spring and early summer is Chicago cooler by the lake than the rest of the surrounding areas Why is that? Well, being a professional driver and I had the privilege of driving a well known T.V.Weatherman.I always wanted to know that question myself so as we were driving close to the lake I asked him. Why even in late spring it will be in the ’50s or ’60s in Chicago by the lake and 80 degrees in Dekalb or Kankakee. He looked out of the window pointed to Lake Michigan and said that Lake Michigan affects the majority of our weather in our city. He said that cold air from the North Pole travels thru down Canada and then comes across the Great Lakes. These Great Lakes water temperatures are always cold so all that cold air comes unrestricted across the great lakes with nothing stopping it until it reaches the shores of American cities of Green Bay, Cleveland, Toledo, Buffalo, Milwaukee Gary and of course Chicago.
That is why it is always cooler by the lake. He says that air comes ashore and it takes over 7 miles of land and buildings to absorbs the coldness of the lake air. Going South, that temperature changes happen around 169th street or close to Interstate 80. Listen to weather reports. they always say the temperature changes occur south of I-80 Once you get past interstate 80 the weather patterns changes and their weather comes from the Western states. That is why in May it can be 80 degrees in the city of Kankakee and 50 degrees in Chicago by the lake. The same rule applies to the city of Dekalb. They are far away from the lake. So if you too always were curious about why it is cooler by the lake in the Spring and early summer now you know. But that is springtime action in Wintertime it does not matter cold is cold. Cold air comes from Canada it also comes from the west coast.
So let’s get back to the topic of Wintertime life in Chicago. In Chicago, local residents and business owners are required by law to keep their sidewalks free of snow by at least 5 feet talk. The city of Chicago, for the most part, does not plow the alleys so when it snows heavy you must get out there with your shovels and snowblowers to clear out a path so you can get your car in and out of your garage/parking spots. But first things first, have you. put away all of your summer items like grills lawnchairs and bikes unless you are a serious rider? Next thing is to store the summer clothes and break out your winter clothes for you and your family. I had to rush and get my winter clothes out of storage in a hurry last night. What will you need for everyday wear in the winter? Men will need more than 1 pair of good booths. The ladies will break out their wide selections of booths. Everyone including children will need either gloves or mittens, good hats, caps and of course scarfs. You work outside you will need thermals heavy-duty coats or jackets. A lot of people must also dress in layers to retain body heat. The winter’s wind can be deadly so don’t be macho and come outside with only a t-shirt like some of our young teenagers do.so dress properly. Also, before you leave the house you should lubricate your skin with moisturizers and protect your lips or facial area with lip balm or vaseline as we use to do back in the day. Remember Vaseline?
Have you prepared your home properly to get through the winter? Hopefully, you have cleared the leaves from your gutters. You have maintained your storm windows and plugged up air drafts. You have bought a good supply of salt and shovels. A lot of people are buying cheap shovels with plastic blades. They break easily, they do not move heavy snow. So spend the extra money and buy shovels with steel blades. Make sure that you have turned off your outside water connections and I know by now you have prepared your furnace for the winter. If you have a snowblower it should be tuned up and ready to roll. Last year it really snowed heavily in most parts of American. As of this writing temperatures in Mid-November Chicago are approaching what you will experience in January. If that is followed by heavy snowfall you might find your homes’ roof packed with snow. What should you do? Please read my past blog on will my roof collapse.
How should you prepare your automobile for wintertime driving? Your automobile should have winter washer antifreeze always at the top of the container. You should, in fact, have 5 or more gallons in reserves because the store can run out of it or the price can go up and you need this fluid to keep your windshield clean especially on the highway riding side by side with a tractor-trailer splashing snow and salt on your windshield. You will be squeezing that button more than you realize. Check your tire air pressure once or twice a week. Try to dodge those massive Chicago potholes that will develop because of salt on the road and changing temperatures which will tear up the concrete. If your car battery is over 3 years old now is the time to replace it. Also, you should put an emergency bag why? Because when it gets cold and if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere you call the towing company they tell you that there are 20 tows in front of you. That means you might have to sit and wait in the cold for hours so you should be prepared. Have warm blankets.in the trunk just in case
In regards to public transportation, Wintertime life in the Chicago area can also include blizzards or sub-zero weather. Traffic can grind to a halt. CTA trains and buses will be get delayed and breakdown. When it really gets cold Metra Rail has to slow down or cancel service because the steel rails can not handle the load and switches can malfunction. Ridesharing services will put on the price surge and taxi cabs could be slow in coming because there are not a lot of cabs on the street anymore. Once you get to your destination you must look out for the deadly danger that lurks above our heads in the wintertime especially in Downtown Chicago or where there are high rises. This is all in a day’s routine work to get to and from work/play and school in cold weather Chi-Town.
The Good Points of Wintertime Life in Chicago
Now despite all the bad effects of wintertime in Chicago, there are also good moments. Life goes on, In certain cities which I will not name if it snows there the cities shut down. Not in the Northern States and not in Chicago. The Lincoln Park zoo is still open. Brookfield zoo is also open. Winter weather also brings out the ice skaters. If you are in Chicago’s Rogers Park /West Ridge area and you love skating then go to Warren Park located at 6600 N.Western ave. There is the main downtown rink located at Millennium Park. For locations for other area ice rinks please click here http://timeout.com/chicago things to do indoor and outdoor rinks
For Professional SportsThe Chicago Bears are losing badly this year. The Chicago Basketball Bulls, the Chicago Black Hawks Chicago Wolves are just beginning their seasons. The nightlife does not stop because of the cold weather The bars restaurants, theatres, museums, and music venues of all sorts continue to operate. just like they do in the summer. State Street, Michigan Ave, and the surrounding Suburban Malls including the outdoor malls are still filled with people looking for deals and the latest styles. Are you into fishing and hunting? Well, even in the winter both sports continue, and when the inland lakes freeze up people also do ice fishing. So as you can see life goes on. We in Chicago deal with the weather and move on with our daily lives.
In regards to Real Estate, it is true home sales slow down in the winter. Some homeowner takes their home off the market due to the holidays, others do not. Why? because people do buy homes in the wintertime. and this Video highlights 13 tips on how to present your home during the colder months. Check it out below. If you need a Rental unit they too are on the market. throughout the Chicagoland area. You see renters also come and go, they change jobs, their jobs closed, marital problems, deaths and you have to move on. The choices during the winter are not the greatest but you will find someplace else to lay your head if you have to before the Spring rental season kicks in. I am helping renters along with home buyers renters with their needs. I am also here to help you if you need my service.
So in conclusion Winter life in Chicago, the good the bad. The bad part is that this year winter has come a month early. As the song goes”Baby it’s cold outside” The good part is to prepare yourself mentally for it and you will make it. For those newcomers coming from warmer climates, you are probably asking yourself Why did I move here? Am I crazy.No you are not The Chicagoland area will surprise you, you will find plenty of things to do to occupy your time. As a Realtor and a lifetime resident of the city of Chicago, I do not like the cold weather but I have endured it my whole life and I am too old to move somewhere else. I will continue to be a Real Estate Broker here ready and able to help you be it hot or cold, rain or shine. Once again my office of Century 21 Universal is located at 7300 N.Western ave. Suite I Chicago Ill. 60645 Come in one day so we can talk. Take care and stay bundled up.
- Charles McShan
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