Sunday, December 14, 2008

Madison, Wisconsin Tries To Minimize Towing Abuse Photo

Madison, Wisc. is using a tactic I have suggested other northern U.S. cities should adopt: they tow vehicles to legal parking instead of impound lots, charging fines which sting, but are NOT outrageous.

According to...

...NBC 26, click here, recently 182 cars were cleared from a vital snow emergency route in Madison. The vehicles were taken to a nearby street where parking was legal, and tickets were slipped under the windshield: $50 for the ticket, $60 for the tow, a total of MERELY $110.

Montreal uses a similar tactic, and I've gone out of my way to publicize it, click here.

However, superior even to the "Montreal Model" (which is now the "Montreal/Madison Model") would be electronic notification by email and cell phone, what I call the "move it or lose it" model. Why move cars to the next street? Notify the drivers and watch them come rushing out of their houses, cell phones and Blackberries in hand.

The personal and economic disruption of towing must be minimized. Madison is doing the right thing. There's room for a lot of improvement, but Madison is heading in the right direction.

Real Time Internet Towing Data Needed, Too

However, what happens when approximately 182 people wake up in the morning and wonder where to find their cars? They're going to be calling on the phones, jamming up the system, getting themselves late for work, slowing down the economy.

That's why towing data should be online. People would come to learn they can go to a website and find their car, rather than spending time on hold, cussing.

An Amusing Side Note

One local blog referred to Madison's scheme of alternate side street parking as a "memory tax," click here. Funny.

Madison is doing better than most northern U.S. cities. Hats off to Madison. And, oh gee, this is the first Wisconsin entry on the "Towing Utopia National Map." Madison, you're the star pupil today.

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