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Brooklyn Lawmaker Wants City to Ease Up on Towing


After shopping, running errands or even a long day of work, the only thing worse for a driver than finding their car about to be towed is not finding the vehicle at all.

“It’s horrifying, okay? First I thought it was stolen,” says one city motorist.

Sometimes they just failed to read the parking sign or overlooked a hydrant, but the Marshal’s Association nabs New Yorkers for not paying parking tickets as many as 500 times a day.

“It’s messed up. I had to take off a day of work just to come out here,” says one driver.

“It is possibly the worst experience in New York City government,” says City Councilman David Greenfield.

The councilman says he has a solution, though. He proposed a bill that would force the city to put immobilization devices called “boots” on vehicles with too many outstanding tickets or those that are parked improperly—so long as public safety is not impacted—for three days before towing them.

“We’re putting the power in your hands. You call up, you give them a credit card, they give you a number, the boot comes off, then you return it to avoid additional fines,” says Greenfield.

There’s a minimum fee of $185 for tows, and the city takes in about $50 million a year from them. While Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t take usually take public positions on pending legislation, the loss of revenue could be a concern.

The New York City Marshal’s Association, which orders the seizure of vehicles with outstanding tickets, worries about liability, saying a boot on a tire is like an “open for business” sign to vandals and criminals.

City Councilman Greenfield doesn’t agree.

“I don’t think people are breaking into vehicles because they’re immobilized,” says Greenfield.

He introduced the bill in December. It’s in a committee and should get a hearing soon.

Those waiting to pick up their towed vehicles say they’re now waiting for that, too, because no one wants to walk outside like and find their property about to be driven away without them.


  • 2. DeClasse- Intellectual wrote:

    First of all, there are just too many cars in the city and with the alternate side parking you have sometimes in some areas tripe parking on just one side of the street–just start booting those and then what will occur.
    there is no easy solution and it is just going to get worse as the number of cars increase and parking spaces disappear. Maybe the city should build parking garages with security and charge people for parking there and every new place must have adequate parking and easy assessable parking in the complex whether apratment or business


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