Junkers Towed Faster

New Tow Trucks Are Used In Abandoned-car Program

August 18, 2009|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,annie.linskey@baltsun.com

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon climbed aboard one of the city's new tow trucks Monday morning, used the controls to lift a car parked on Esther Place and then headed eastbound on Fayette Street.

"I just snatched the car up," Dixon said, smiling after a ride around the block.

The stunt - the mayor towed an old city-owned car - was meant to focus attention on a new municipal initiative called "Remove Abandoned Vehicles Now" (RAVN) and encourage residents to call 311 and report the locations of rusted-out, inoperable cars.

"We're talking about quality of life in our neighborhoods and communities," Dixon said at the East Baltimore news conference. "Left in alleys, empty lots and on the street, we have cars that are [unsightly]."

Abandoned cars include vehicles left on city streets for more than 48 hours. It takes parking control agents about five days to remove such vehicles, according to the city.

Owners of inoperable vehicles on private property are given 10 days to fix or remove the auto before the city will tow it.

The city's Department of Transportation recently purchased three new tow trucks equipped with a hydraulic arm that enables the operator to remove an illegally parked vehicle within about a minute.

The department has ordered a fourth, and officials say that these new trucks also will be helpful in towing cars that are illegally parked near a stadium on game days.

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