180 cars towed during overnight snow emergency

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File photo: Even tow trucks get towed if they’re illegally parked during a citywide snow emergency.

MANCHESTER, NH – Police say 180 cars were towed off city streets overnight, and 11 parking tickets were issued. Snow, which started midday Wednesday, became heavy and icy by evening, as the snow turned to rain.

Police responded to 17 accidents between 10:15 a.m. Wednesday and 7:15 a.m. Thursday, according to Lt. Brian O’Keefe.

That means, if you wake up to find your car not where you left it, it’s likely at the Derryfield Park parking lot at the top of Bridge Street. Cost to retrieve your car is $110, payable in cash only.

For last night’s haul of 180 cars, that’s $19,800 in revenue for the city, most of which goes to the tow companies [see below for the breakdown.]

Pro tip: When you see the flashing strobe lights atop the traffic signals around the city, that means it’s a snow emergency. You can also always check the city’s website, which will announce snow emergencies, or sign up for alerts via Nixle, which will be sent directly to your phone, or email. You choose.

For those interested in how the parking situation in Manchester works, how lucrative the towing business is for the city, and who is most likely to get towed, you can read this 2016 report from Mike Pelletier, who did a study of the city’s winter parking program.

Remember, Snow Emergency parking is available at:

  • Victory Parking Garage at 25 Vine Street between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Vehicles parking outside these times will be subject to parking fees of $.75 per hour.
  • Pearl Street Parking Lot on Orange Street between Elm and Chestnut is also available between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Unauthorized vehicles in the lot outside of these times will be subject to parking tickets.
  • You may be able to find a place to park thanks to the social network – a Facebook group called Manchester Snow Emergency Parking was created in January to crowdsource available parking spaces.

How to get your car back

Vehicles that are impounded will be stored at the City’s Vehicle Impoundment Area, located in Derryfield Park off of Bridge Street. In order to recover an impounded vehicle, the owner will be required to present proof of ownership and make a payment of $110 in cash. This must be done within 24 hours of the time when the vehicle was towed. Vehicles not recovered within 24 hours will be subject to additional towing and storage charges.

Why Cash Only? and other parking questions answered

This is a temporary operation usually lasting only 24 hours. The impound shed at the Derryfield Park lot is not structurally updated. They do not have access to computer equipment and/or modern technology because that would require additional wiring, etc., not to mention the structure itself can not be safely secured and is not equipped with an alarm.

What is the breakdown of the $110 – all to the tow company? Does the city get a cut? 

Tow company’s portion is $85 and the city’s portion is $25, per the MPD contract.

 Is there a summons or ticket for violating parking rules, or is that rolled into the $110? 

No ticket is issued if the vehicle is towed. There is a “drop” policy in which, at the officer’s discretion, a vehicle can be dropped in lieu of being towed if the registered owner shows up and the vehicle is in the initial stage of being prepped for towing. The owner has limited time to produce $25 to prevent the tow.  Otherwise, the vehicle is taken to the tow yard. An officer can choose to issue a ticket if the vehicle is dropped and the $25 is paid. The $25 is collected by the tow driver and the owner is issued a receipt for payment. This policy is really based on the officer’s discretion and how much work the tow driver has invested in prepping the vehicle to be towed. The vehicle does necessarily have to be “off” the ground to be considered a “drop.”

Go to www.manchesternh.gov/snow to sign up for automatic e-mail or text notifications of Snow Emergencies and, hopefully, never get towed again.

About Carol Robidoux 5818 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.