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Ravens fans make big weekend for towing, impound lot in city

(June 7, 2013) Although the city’s economic indicators were down slightly for last weekend’s myriad of Baltimore Ravens events, at least one big summer tourism number saw a big boost – towing.

Considerable numbers of peeved Ravens fans flocked to the city’s Public Safety Building on 65th Street Saturday after the Ocean City Police Department towed 42 cars in 24 hours for illegal parking along the route of the Ravens Roosts Parade.

“We’ve been trying to understand ourselves why it was so busy with towing,” said city General Services Director Joe Sobczak, who oversees the town’s impound lot. “The numbers were not out of the ordinary for a good weekend, but I’d say this was early by about a week, which we’re attributing to the Ravens parade.”

The impound lot received 27 cars between midnight and 8 a.m. Saturday morning, another 12 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and another three between 4 p.m. and midnight.

All of the tows were ordered by the police department for cars parked illegally on public property or public rights-of-way, mostly due to attendees ignoring signs prohibiting parking in the parade route and staging areas, Sobczak said.

“These were all police tows,” he said. “The police do not enforce any parking violations on private property. It’s up to the property owner or manager to call the tow company.”

Instead of going to private yards, however, all vehicles towed in the city limits are brought to the 65th Street impound lot for retrieval.

Public Works Director Hal Adkins said that signs were placed in the parking spaces to be restricted during the parade, just as they always are.

“We’re required by law to put the signs out 48 hours in advance, and we actually put them out more like 96 hours in advance,” Adkins said. “We put them out on Tuesday, and the parade wasn’t until Saturday. And we checked every night to make sure the signs hadn’t blown away or the sawhorses hadn’t tipped over. I’m not sure why it was such a problem this year.”

Although he didn’t’ have an exact number, Sobczak said 2,000 cars “wouldn’t be out of line” for a summer towing total. The impound lot has 102 spaces.

“On a busy Fourth of July, it’ll fill up,” Sobczak said. “Towing pretty much correlates to big special events.”

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