Are you worried about getting your vehicle towed in Washington, D. C.? The Department of Public Works (DPW) has the authority to tow vehicles for any parking violation, as well as those that pose a danger to the public or impede the flow of traffic. Even legally parked vehicles can be towed in emergency situations, such as at the request of the Secret Service or Metropolitan Police Department. Maine Avenue SW, located near District Wharf, is one of the most heavily towed streets in D.
C. Drivers have reported that this is due to confusing parking signs. Every morning and night during rush hour, DPW crane operators tow cars that have stayed longer than 7am and 4pm respectively. Destiny Sanchez and other drivers have reported that the parking signs are confusing and lead to their vehicles being towed.
According to calculations made by The Wash, this amounts to 17 weeks of towing from June 1st to September 30th. The problem is further compounded by crane operators blocking the second and even first lane of traffic when they pick up cars, creating a dangerous situation for drivers. So why does the city go through all this effort to clear some cars if the third lane never works for travelers? Drivers like Antoine Douglas, who had their car towed on Maine Avenue, believe it is all about money. A clear street benefits everyone, so Douglas believes that the city should help drivers by making parking signs clearer instead of punishing them. The Department of Public Works and Department of Motor Vehicles have declined to answer questions about why Maine Avenue SW is never clear. At the end of the day, thousands of dollars come out of taxpayer packages, city revenues continue to rise, and the third lane remains blocked for rush-hour traffic.
To avoid being fined and towed, drivers should make sure to read and understand all parking signs and restrictions. Haley Murphy is a master's degree candidate and graduate ambassador at the School of Communication at American University. She was an associate producer for ViacomCBS in Sacramento, California, and is focusing her studies on broadcast journalism. While some people are protesting on the streets of D. C., Washingtonians are competing in a friendly Petal Porches contest by adorning their homes with giant teddy bears, rabbits and pink swans. The Wash is an online magazine published by graduate students in journalism from the School of Communication at American University.