Jon Snowplow? Lightfoot launches contest to name six city snowplows

The mayor’s office and the Department of Streets and Sanitation are encouraging Chicagoans to get creative and name the vehicles doing the heavy lifting this winter.

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A Chicago Department of Transportation plow clears the roadway on North Broadway Avenue near West Glenlake Avenue in January.

A Chicago Department of Transportation plow clears the roadway on North Broadway Avenue near West Glenlake Avenue in January.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Residents wanting to give their neighborhood snowplow a dash of personality are in luck, thanks to a new naming contest announced by the city.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office on Friday encouraged Chicagoans to “use their ingenuity and imagination” to offer up potential names for some of the trucks responsible for cleaning the city’s streets in the cold months ahead.

Residents dreaming of “Frosty the Snowplow” or a “Jon Snowplow” can submit one name per person — limited to 50 characters — at chicagoshovels.org.

Entries will be accepted through Jan. 6, 2023, or until the city receives 20,000 submissions, whichever comes first.

Staffers at the Department of Streets and Sanitation will narrow down submissions to 50 finalists and then put them up for a citywide vote next month.

The top six names will be bestowed upon hardworking snowplows in each of the city’s snow districts.

“Chicago knows snow, and we count on our snowplows and their drivers to be here for us every winter making sure the roads are safe and passable for motorists, emergency vehicles, and public transportation,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to begin this fun and exciting naming process for our vitally important fleet of snow vehicles.”

Chicagoans will then cull through the 50 finalists in online voting from Jan. 15-31.

Once the six winners are chosen, residents will be able to view their newly named vehicles through the city’s snowplow tracker.

For now, though, the plows will continue working anonymously. Scattered snow showers are expected to hit the city off and on through Saturday.

Mariah Rush is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South Side and West Side.

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