How to observe proper "snow etiquette"

Posted at 6:43 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 07:49:38-05

Once the storm hits, residents have some snow-shoveling responsibilities. According to Baltimore City Code, public sidewalks need to be cleared and walkways should be at least two feet wide.

The code states that residents have within three hours after the end of a snow or ice event to clear off the sidewalk in front of their house or business. Penalties can vary from $50 for a residential property to $100 for commercial properties.

Baltimore County law states sidewalks must be shoveled within 24 hours of a snowstorm.

RELATED: Marylanders prepare for blizzard

And while officials will be enforcing those laws, they’re a little more lenient on residents using lawn chairs to reserve parking spaces.

Residents told ABC2 it’s a been long time practice of reserving parking after someone’s spent the time clearing out the spot, and respecting the unwritten law is proper snow etiquette.

“I think it's absolutely a Baltimore tradition,” said C-Mo Molloy, a resident stocking up for the storm.

“It's a territorial thing but it's also a pride thing. You’ve got to sit out there in your lawn chair with your Natty Boh once it starts snowing and really ring in the weather,”

However, not all residents respect the notion, one Hampden resident saying it sets a precedent and complicates parking for everyone else, “I wouldn't do anything about it, but I don't think it's right.”

And according to transportation officials, the practice is not legal.

“We ask that people don't do that,” said Adrienne Barnes with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. “We understand their logic behind it, if you spend time digging the snow out then you expect to have your parking space, but that's not something that's legal in the city,”

However, most residents ABC2 spoke with agreed that if you put in the effort, you've earned the spot. Some even adding that while a chair is the universal sign, place markers can vary.

“I've seen trash cans, lawn chairs, I've seen chairs that look like they shouldn't even be outside, like wing-back chairs,” said Bruce Bryan, owner of Bryan’s Finds & Designs in Hampden.

“I'll put out chairs, I'll put our lawn chairs, I mean I've put out coolers there before, I'll put my body out there if it means I get my parking spot,” said Lindsey Farrell, a Towson resident.

And while the practice is up for debate, officials want to remind everyone to stay patient, stay warm, avoid and to try not to stress.

“I think it's kind of nice when it snows and I know it can be a little stressful for folks, but it's also really beautiful, so I just try to enjoy it,” said Michael Jefferson, a Remington resident.