New idea for reality show: Tow Wars

Tow operators act against illegal parkers by illegally blocking driveways. Photo by Judy Spreckels.

Judy Spreckels says tow-truck drivers eager for extra revenue always prowl her neighborhood at the start of street-cleaning season to hook trucks parked on the wrong streets. She reports this morning, however, that fights broke out on Atherton Street when drivers from competing companies showed up:

Just witnessed 8 tow truck drivers from 3 different towing companies loudly fighting directly outside my home. For 20 minutes. Happens every week with street cleaning. Trucks parked on sidewalks, engines running, and now fighting.

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I love the looks on their faces

In my last apartment we had on-street parking, and I had to leave for work at about 5-of the hour, so my car was usually last left on the street. The tow guy was always sitting in front of my car waiting for the time to switch over. I always gave him a big smile and a wave, which was usually matched with a grumpy glare.

Towing idiots

I just saw workers from Pat's towing company break into a Honda civic in Beacon Hill to do something inside so that they could chain it up to the tow truck - can they really do that?!?!

They do, can and will... be

They do, can and will... be sure if re-claiming your car that they have not inadvertantly broken the locking mechanism- it's nearly impossible to prove once you've left, but they are not exactly surgeons...

Not always like this

Not that I have a lot of direct knowledge (no towing ever in my neighborhood), but the one time I parked somewhere that was about to hit the towing hour, two trucks pulled up to me as I was walking away, warned me about the towing, and then the drivers suggested alternate locations to park.

Close

I clearly remember an incident when I worked in North Cambridge when two tow trucks had an accident. They were driving a bit too fast, and I guess too closely. The first hit a car parked on the side of the road, the second rear-ended the first. All the windows in our building were open because it was a nice day. My boss heard the crash, looked out his window and had a laugh that must have been 70 decibels. The two drivers definitely heard him.

Way to totally miss the

Way to totally miss the point.

The original post wasn't complaining about illegally-parked cars getting towed.

It was complaining about stupid behavior by the tow truck drivers, causing problems for people living nearby who might not even have cars on the street.

Why the hell the city outsources this I'll never know

While I don't really appreciate being towed, I do understand why it is important...at least from a sanitation perspective.

That said, why the hell does the city outsource this??? With a traditionally cash strapped city, you'd think that they would want the extra revenue. Even if they charged half of the $100+ tow, they'd make a killing.

The city still gets their

The city still gets their pound of flesh. A tow is $150 and up to get your car back, and after you pay that, they kindly hand you your copy of the $40 parking citation from the city and tell you to pay it in the next 30 days.

Outsourcing

My guess is because it would require a huge fleet of city-owned and maintained tow trucks, and (unionized) staff making a lot more than the private guys (and that's before you include the benefits and pension liability).

The current method also creates an incentive to clear the street quickly - the private guys get paid per tow, whereas city employees would be getting the same salary regardless. You can envision how that would work out. It might take an hour to clear a street that these guys clear in 20 minutes.

I'd say that would render it substantially less than a killing - they might even lose money.

Using the private guys also provides a layer of insulation for city officials from constituent complaints/requests for special treatment.

That's too bad.

I think this is a really dangerous practice, particularly if it's done on a one way street. People can easily be induced into going the wrong way if cars aren't parked correctly - particularly if it's near an entrance point to that street and the one way signs are blocked (by a tree or a truck - if they even exist).

It also creates a situation where that car is going to enter traffic in an unexpected way (unexpected to other drivers, cyclists, etc.) - and since it is nearly a given that someone who parks like that won't signal, there's likely to be little or no warning.

It almost happened to me once in Aberdeen in Brighton (two cars were parked facing the wrong direction) and once in Brookline, but the driver might have had an (weak) excuse in that last case, as the street had recently been changed to run one-way in the opposite direction of that which formerly ran.

Maybe it's not that big of a deal on these types of streets in Roslindale, but it's dangerous as hell in the denser areas of the city.

One way street?

Not sure how anybody would park the wrong direction on a one way street. The behavior is usually a sign of laziness, and parking the wrong direction on a one-way would require additional effort. Be that as it may, my street in Roslindale is more narrow and dense than the one depicted in this picture, and nobody is ticketed. Once somebody I know was ticketed for parking partially on the sidewalk (also common due to street width). Neither should be a ticket in my opinion. It's hard to turn around on a narrow street, and I don't buy the idea that it is dangerous.

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