Parking Woes at Salisbury Beach: Towed Cars and High Fees Spark Debate on Solutions

July 22, 2013

On the 4th of July holiday weekend, thousands arrived at Salisbury beach, MA to beat the heat. Public parking lots, costing $10 per day, were soon overflowing. Some chose to illegally park their vehicles on sidewalks, in front of fire hydrants, or within 20 feet of a corner.

Salisbury beach

Salisbury beach on a 4th of July weekend. Image by Lori L. Stalteri.

However, a dampener was put on some vacationers when cars were towed away for parking violations. Salisbury Sgt. Robert Roy said that tickets are usually issued for parking meter violations, but cars are also towed away when they are parked illegally. At least 10 cars were towed for illegal parking at the beach.

Fines for towed vehicles and parking violations

Tow Away Sign

View this sign here.

Jow Pratt, the owner of Amesbury Towing, says that the towing fee is regulated by the state. There is an initial tow fee of $90 along with a $3 per mile charge over the first five for a round trip from the company to the towing job.

There is also an added state-set fuel fee which is 6.1 percent of the combined mileage and towing fee. Then a $35 per day storage fee is levied as the car gets into the Amesbury Towing lot. This fee goes up every 24 hours. To top it all, there’s another $20 administration fee that goes to Salisbury.

Salisbury Sgt. Robert Roy says that parking meter violation tickets are $15. Most other parking infractions cost $20, while handicap parking violations carry a fine of $100.

Violators are sent four notices for the parking tickets and if they still fail to pay, the tickets go to the registry by default. Since new validation stickers from the registry are required every year or two, people can’t register their cars until they pay the fine. Tags that are not up to date indicate that the owner has unpaid parking tickets or other violations for which he/she needs to pay. So, drivers are forced into paying.

Possible solutions

Though the fees are high, there are plenty of solutions. For example: actually paying to park in a garage. It’s far cheaper than having to deal with your car getting towed.

“There’s adequate parking with the town and private parking lots without people having to park illegally blocking sidewalks. The problems are caused by people who don’t want to pay, (for parking)” says Ray Champagne, president of the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association.

A car getting towed

Trying to save on parking could cost you a lot. Image by Lee J Haywood.

What’s the solution? San Diego beach goers rushed to park very early in the morning. Perhaps a time limit for parking, under consideration by Imperial Beach, California, is another answer.

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Category: No Parking