Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Minneapolis Towing Horror Story by Grad Student Katie Roth
Photo by Jesse Wicks
(Above, image of the "Welcome To Dinkytown" mural. If it were an accurate mural, there would be a tow truck making off with the vehicle)
A request for non-consent towing horror stories over the Humphrey Institute listserv produced quick and detailed feedback, including from folks who had been towed in the last few days.
We start with the story of Katie Roth...
In the Dinkytown Hollywood Video they have a car permanently parked there during the weekend nights and they watch. If you come out of the Hollywood door and go around the corner to the ATM on the other side of the building, for example, [to get cash to rent a video, for example, hint hint?] they will put a BOOT on your car, promptly.
But on another note, check out the City of Minneapolis' ridiculous [and so-called] "abandoned vehicle" law.
According to City Ordinance 478.250, no abandoned vehicle shall remain on any street or highway in the city in excess of 72 consecutive hours. Any vehicle lacking vital component parts shall be presumed abandoned and may be immediately removed and impounded.
[So if you remove a tire and roll it across the street to the garage of your apartment complex to fetch a spare, they can seize your car--legally--while you're in the garage for one minute!]
This puts renters in the city at a major disadvantage, as we are constantly forced to relocate our cars every 72 hours or risk a tow. This means in a given week, even if I ride transit or bike every day, I have to move my car once every three days for fear that my home owning neighbors will report my vehicle as abandoned, even though my bumper bears the neighborhood "critical parking" sticker for my area.
In a city with the stated goal of reducing auto dependency, especially in its near-downtown neighborhoods, this policy is too broad and one-sided to properly enforce the problem of abandoned vehicles while respecting auto-owning (but rarely driving) renters' access to on-street parking.