THE SOAP BOX
STAND UP. SPEAK UP. IT’S YOUR TURN.
The City of Manchester continues towing more vehicles during Snow Emergencies by volume — per capita and by geographic density — than other similar New England cities, and based on this snow season’s first snow emergencies, that number continues to increase.
This observation is based on a 40-page study I conducted as a UNH grad student, which concluded after the winter of 2015. The detailed report can be found here, or just Google ‘Manchester NH towing snow emergency UNH.’
New data compiled since the study was originally published shows the volume of vehicles towed over the past four towing events has almost doubled the Manchester historical average of towed vehicles, from roughly 100 to 180.
While the 2015 report details how many vehicles are being towed, from where in the city and why, using charts, maps and graphs, in the last part of the report, the city leadership has not identified these facts and data as something of importance or concern.
It is essential that the city streets and sidewalks be kept clear of snow and ice, which the report stated is required for maintaining commerce and safe travel of its citizens who work, play, live, and get educated in the city. No one debates that requirement – not even the record number of vehicle owners who get towed, based on the face-to-face survey of more than 120 car owners, who I met during data collection.
The report is titled “Manchester Snow Emergency Analysis: Who is Being Towed from Where and Why,” and was published in the spring of 2015. Conclusions drawn then are most likely still valid today:
- The administration of towing procedures by the City of Manchester (DPW, MPD, towing companies and related entities) is executed by competent personnel with the essential mission of keeping the city streets and sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
- The owners of the towed vehicles do not want to be towed and would avoid it if they had more information.
- The City administration doesn’t want to tow vehicles but do so at a comparative higher rate than other cities.
- Of the large number of randomly surveyed towed vehicle owners, the following was found: That young citizens, newly arrived residents, lower-income citizens and minorities were towed at a higher percentage rate than others not in these categories, or their total percentages in the community.
As the city leadership strives to make Manchester the city where people are invited to live, work, play, and get educated, it appears there is a quality of life issue in need of further research and study. As one can see from item No. 4 above, those city residents most affected by towing likely don’t vote in local municipal elections and quite possibly have little to no voice or other avenues available to air their concerns.
Unfortunately, until the data and facts of my report are fully understood and verified, the issue of towing simply will not be brought forward, and will remain a non-issue for city officials.
My study and analysis only contained facts and data, which have not been disputed by anyone in the two years since it was submitted to the city. But I know there are more than a few local people who would be happy to seek solutions, should the city decide to hold a public forum to discuss towing issues.
Although it would be out of line for me to offer a solution to an issue that has not been identified as a problem by city officials, I do find it concerning that the number of vehicles towed during snow emergencies is on the rise, especially because there are possible solutions available to ease the burden on city residents, who suffer from the inconvenience and expense of towing.
It is up to residents to request that the city take a look at why they are towing more vehicles than other large cities and towns in New England, and seek solutions — or simply accept the status quo.
Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? Got your own issues you’d like to air? Send your submissions to email@example.com, subject line: The Soap Box.
Michael Pelletier completed his Masters of Public Administration degree from UNH Manchester in 2015 and currently is employed as a human resources manager.