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January 21, 2015

Philadelphia police say ‘#nosavesies’

Social media shaming helps spread the message

Snow #nosavesies

Philly police use #nosavesies to remind people of the rules.

As the snow begins to fall on the region you will likely start seeing plastic chairs and garbage cans acting as placeholders in unoccupied parking spaces on the city’s streets, increasingly so as the inches accumulate.

As a friendly reminder that saving a snow-shoveled parking space is illegal in Philadelphia  - even if swiping a spot someone else cleared out in the cold may result in an even worse punishment - Philadelphia Police Officer Mike Cermignano sent out the following tweet Wednesday:


The practice of holding a self-shoveled spot with a plastic chair or garbage can is a long-standing tradition in Philadelphia, so much so that the term parking chairs has its own Wikipedia page and Philly’s parking woes has resulted in an actual reality TV show.

 In other words, in Philadelphia, a city where people have firm convictions about everything from how words should be said to where to get the best cheesesteak, the decision on whether or not it's fair game to save or steal a snow-shoveled spot is widely debated.


Even Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has his standpoint, and it’s not siding with the police.

“Look, if you spent two hours digging your car out … ultimately that has to be something respected by the community,” Nutter told the Inquirer  in 2010, a year of record-breaking  snowfall in Philadelphia.


Some reasonable folks have made suggestions of a compromise, such as a 24-hour limit on saving spots or only being acceptable when the city declares it a snow emergency, but the city as yet to pass an official exception.

 In Darby Township, Delaware County, saving a shoveled spot is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, but in Philadelphia, police are more apt to use social media shaming to deter spot savers by tweeting pictures of people’s curbside parking chairs with the hashtag #nosavesies, which may come off as more of a joke, but does help spread the message.