Guide to Street Cleaning Chicago

Getting a parking spot in a big city like Chicago can feel like a big win. But on certain days, if you don’t move your car you could be hit with a ticket, thanks to street cleaning in Chicago. During the brutal winter months in the Windy City, you get a little break from street sweeping, making it even harder to remember what the Chicago street cleaning schedule actually is. Read on to learn everything you need to know about street sweeping in Chicago.

What You Need to Know About Street Cleaning in Chicago | Metromile

How does street cleaning in Chicago work? 

Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) manages many of the city’s non-emergency departments, including the Bureau of Sanitation which oversees street sweeping Chicago. 

The city of Chicago uses mechanical street sweepers that work to clean and sanitize the streets from excess trash and debris. 

Given Chicago’s unique geography and notoriously difficult winters, Chicago has a street sweeping season that starts the first of April and goes to mid-November. 

When does street cleaning Chicago happen in my neighborhood?

In order to avoid pesky street cleaning tickets, you want to know when street cleaning happens in your neighborhood. The way street sweeping Chicago works is by ward. The city of Chicago is divided into 50 wards and offers a street cleaning map and the Chicago street cleaning schedule by ward. 

For example, this link shows you the street cleaning schedule for ward 1. Below is the Chicago street cleaning map for ward 1 as well. 


To find your particular Chicago street cleaning schedule and map, you can find it by ward here. You can also review this street sweeping zones map as well. For even more specificity, during weekdays this Sweeper Tracker Map shows real-time updates between the hours of 9am and 2pm local time. 

How much does a street cleaning ticket in Chicago cost? 

Getting a street cleaning ticket can be an unfortunate setback in your day and it’ll cost you a pretty penny. As of 2021, street cleaning tickets in Chicago cost $60 a pop and it’s the second highest ticket violation in the city. You might not have included paying parking tickets in your budget, so it could set you back. While one parking ticket won’t be the end of the world, it feels like a waste. Get more than one street cleaning ticket? It can add up fast and drain your finances

What are the Chicago street cleaning holidays?

Chicago street cleaning is a bit different in that it has a street sweeping season from April 1 to mid-November. Because of that, it basically skips over major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and MLK Day when it’s technically “off-season”. 

Aside from that, there is no published data on about street sweeping holidays, only the 2021 holidays for garbage collection are listed. So your best bet is to check the street sweeping tracker on any holidays that may fall between April and November such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. 

How do you avoid getting street cleaning tickets in Chicago? 

No one wants to pay $60 because they forgot to move their car for street sweeping. Having that happen more than once can become a real problem. That’s why it’s best to check out the Chicago street cleaning schedule and add those dates as calendar reminders on your phone. 

Metromile customers in Chicago get the added benefit of getting street sweeping alerts by text, email, or push notification both 12 hours before and 1 before the cleaning starts in your area. 

That way you have an extra helping hand to help you avoid another street sweeping ticket. Metromile offers pay-per-mile insurance ideally suited for city-dwellers who might be low mileage drivers. While you save money on car insurance, you can also stay in the know about street sweeping as well. 

Is it okay to park after the street sweeper passes in Chicago?

If you see the street sweeper pass your street in Chicago, you may wonder if you can move your car back and still avoid a ticket. The street sweeper has passed, so no harm, no foul, right? You might want to re-consider to be safe. There have been some reports of Chicagoans getting tickets despite the fact the street sweeper had passed. 

If the parking sign says no parking within specific hours, it’s best to stay away during that time frame. 

The bottom line 

If you live in Chicago and mostly take public transportation, you might forget about your car and the parking rules. But one you want to stay on top of is the street sweeping in Chicago to avoid unwanted parking tickets. Using Metromile, you can get alerts for free if you sign-up for pay-per-mile car insurance. You can save money on car insurance and get help staying on top of street sweeping alerts. Get your free quote to see how much you could save. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.