You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

New abandoned vehicle ordinance will pose hardship for many

By Letters to the Editor

I am concerned that the new abandoned vehicle ordinance is in direct opposition to the campaign to get people to use mass transit on a regular basis.


Daniel Brenner I

I know many people who have a car that they now use only for major shopping expeditions or for trips out of town. They will have to check their cars every two days to be sure they haven’t been issued a 48-hour notice to move their cars or risk being towed.

Imagine cars plowed under mounds of snow being reported by someone with an axe to grind or who just covets that parking spot. After digging out the car and warming it up, the owner will face the gargantuan feat of finding another spot in which to park it.

This poses an even greater hardship for those individuals whose car use is restricted because of the high cost of gas or because they have not yet saved up enough to afford a needed repair.

This ordinance does not seem to have any provision for the car owner to acknowledge the notice and negotiate an acceptable plan. It will relieve a headache for some and create worse headaches for many more.

Susan Beckett

Ann Arbor


Jim Walker

Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

The problem is that the city and the towing companies will make money by NOT discriminating between late model vehicles operated only on weekends and virtually-abandoned almost-junk cars because the profits will be either the same or higher by towing the late model vehicles that will be promptly retrieved. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

A lot of the changes and ordinances in Ann Arbor and the sourounding areas seems to be positive for the County as they will rake in yet more revenues, and negative for residents as it is at their expense. It seems that not recieving approval for proposed millages has made them look for other avenues to further the War on Resident's Wallets.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

How much did Brewer's pay you for the advertisement?

Robert Granville

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Let's just stop pretending that there is a place for every renter/tenant/homeowner without off-street parking to put their cars. There is no such place. If every single person without off-street parking were to rent a space, Ann Arbor would be one big parking lot. This city was built to handle on-street parking and has done so for decades.

Ron Granger

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

What if a disturbed neighbor re-applies chalk to the tires of the car after it has been moved, making it look like it was never moved, and the car is towed?

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

THATS WHY brian mackie has a chalk writing expert on retainer for trials.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Brad, you underestimate people.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

I'm sure that will be a widespread problem. Not.

Dog Guy

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Next month Ann Arbor city council will institute a $100 per month street parking permit administered by the mayor's no-boundaries DDA.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

along with earmark PEDESTRIAN TOLLBOOTHS


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Could this explain why every night lately as I'm leaving the Y, there is a car being towed on Washington? I figured it was cars parked a little too close to someone's driveway or just beyond the "no parking" boundaries. If it's actually a result of a crackdown on "abandoned" cars that makes me feel a little better about my car being at risk for getting towed.

Milton Shift

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 9:11 a.m.

If you have an inoperable vehicle, put it in neutral, push it up your driveway and turn it behind the house, then back up until you are horizontally blocking the end of the driveway. You can't be towed from a position like this - it's physically impossible, unless there is a great deal of open space. Alternatively, you could install a deeply seated cement anchor in the ground and chain it to your car. No one should have their vehicle towed from their own property. The city council has gone much too far.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

Milton is right. City ordinance does apply to cars parked on owner's own property: "No person shall park, store, leave, or allow to be left upon private property controlled by him or her, any motor vehicle in a rusted, wrecked, junk, or partially dismantled or inoperative condition, whether attended or not, unless in connection with an auto maintenance or repair business or unless the vehicle is completely enclosed within a garage."


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 10:35 a.m.

The street in front of your house is not your own property. It's city property, as is the sidewalk and the tree lawn.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

Lots of ado about nothing here...had you been following this story (for months) you would know its based on one west side neighborhood trying to get eyesores out of their front yards by a neighbor who has dug in their heels, resulting in a change of ordinance to try to get that one family to cleanup their act...even after enacting ths ordinance, the city isn't going to go after anyone actively...but they WILL be able to go after folks if neighbors complain...


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Actually I thought it was in response to a particular situation on Shady Lane, which is definitely not on the west side.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

I find it hard to believe that existing ordinances wouldn't already cover a situation like you describe. And if they don't, passing a new one that negatively impacts the entire city isn't the solution.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

I think you're right. This new regulation is probably a point solution for that one neighborhood issue. Hopefully they only apply it for real problems, not revenue generation for towing or tickets.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

There's this fancy thing called a driveway....use it if you want to park more than 2 days.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

kinda like the no overnight parking signs wich PROMOTE DRUNK DRIVING +more towing all the way around.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

The only thing that promotes drunk driving is the driver of the vehicle. If you are driving that night..don't drink as much. Have some personal responsibility and stop blaming the city for your problems.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

Sorry Susan, but in all honesty you are being far too kind in your criticisms. This new code is absolute garbage, and the people who proposed it and voted for it have been breathing their own air for way too long.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

There are arguments coming from people who live in places without off street parking. It is their responsibility to know about street and parking ordinances if they own a car. This is common in college towns, with high density apartments and little, if any, off street parking. These new parking ordinances need to be communicated to all landlords in the city, and the landlords need to make it clear to prospective tenants that parking on the street has restrictions and rules. There is no excuse for "new arrivals" to town to plead ignorance. The city also needs to make these restrictions clear on street signs, so there is no misunderstanding. If car owners aren't driving regularly, and there isn't any off street parking option where they live, then renting another off-site spot needs to happen. There are expenses related to owning cars, and having a legal parking spot is part of those expenses and responsibility. The city doesn't have any responsibility for providing free, unlimited street parking to residents. I agree with posters who stated that any car in disrepair does not belong on the street. If it's not running, then get it towed to a garage and fixed. The city should not be expected to plow around or clean around disabled cars. If you can't afford to get it fixed, then sell it.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:26 a.m.

your soooo right we need more signs ann arbor has WAAAYYY too few!!!


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

All this is is yet another money grab for the city.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:49 a.m.

Actually, no it's not...had you been following this story (for months) you would know its based on one west side neighborhood trying to get eyesores out of their front yards by a neighbor who has dug in their heels, resulting in a change of ordinance to try to get that one family to cleanup their act...even after enacting ths ordinance, the city isn't going to go after anyone actively...but they WILL be able to go after folks if neighbors complain...

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

Nailed it!!!

An Arborigine

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

If a vehicle is legally licensed and legally parked, what is the problem? I have a Ford truck and I park it in front of my house legally. Do I have to check it for notices?


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Just because a person owns a legally licensed vehicle does not imply a right to public parking.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

@ Arborigine It depends on your neighbors. If they don't mind, then there's no one to report it to the authorities. No report = no 48 hour notice. One of my neighbor's parks his car in the street and uses public transportation 5 days out of 7. He has a driveway. I could report it but I won't. If it becomes a hassle then I'll speak directly with him to discuss the situation. Perhaps your neighbors feel the same way.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 5:38 a.m.

Yes - if you leave it there for more than 48 hours. Please park it in your driveway.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

There may be times when one might not use a car regularly. My car sits in the garage for days at a time, as I take a bus to work. Maybe there needs to be a system for registering cars that are parked in front of residences vs vehicles that are disabled and are just sitting on the street. However, if there is a major snowfall, not shoveling a car out and leaving snow and ice to build up around it creates problems for everyone, and those cars should be towed so the street can be cleared.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

Anyone who can't be bothered enough to move their car as little as one parking space once every two days shouldn't bother owning one.

Barb's Mom

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

My question is, how are they going to prove that the car didn't move for 48 hours before they place the towing ticket on it? One person's word? It opens up "he said- she said" type problems. I am glad I don't live in Ann Arbor. I can just imagine a person like our former neighbor. The day we were moving into our present house, we parked a 12 year old car across the street in front of the empty lot while we were moving items from other cars into the house. After everyone else left, my husband saw the neighbor writing down our license plate number so he went to move the car. The neighbor came out and said, "Oh is this your car? I thought it was abandoned and was going to report it." The car had not even been there 6 hours.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Perhaps a special waver could be appealed based upon 1) handicap tags and 2)residential permitting . Keeping public spaces truly public doesn't have to be cruel.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.

@Richard C - The above letter to the editor is very revelant in relation to Barb's mom and her "new" neighbor who was writing down the tag number. In her letter Susan mentions "Imagine cars plowed under mounds of snow being reported by someone with an axe to grind or who just covets that parking spot." There are people in A2 and every other City that think the own the spot in front of their home. Then there are the people who have an ax to grind for no reason other then to grind an ax. There is one on every block that is peeking between the blinds and watching everyone elses business except their own. Barb's Mom learned who that person is the day she moved in to her home. I understand looking at a rusty old jalopy, without tags, that has not been moved in weeks being reported, however I will never understand how pathetic ones life must be, that they feel the need to start trouble with something that does not affect them in any way. Especially with a new neighbor moving in. Barb clearly stated this neighbor was already taking down the tag number during the time she was moving in. A2 no longer meets the criteria of being called a small town. It is and has been a medium sized city for a while now and continues to grow. I would be very wary of a neighbor that did something like that to me the day I was moving in. I would also be watching very closely and remind him if even one blade of grass was to tall that he is supposed to cut it. Maybe then he would get my message. But that's just a maybe. What a great welcome to the neighborhood he must have been. There is nothing like feeling unwelcome the day you are settling in. How would it feel if 48 hour parking meters went up on every street starting in the area with problems? I don't think anyone would appreciate those, but this new ordinance is a step in that direction!


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

The notice is posted on the vehicle at the start of the 48 hour cycle. Parking enforcement chalks tires then checks back to see if there's been any movement.

Richard C

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

If you can't imagine how authorities can tell if the car has moved or not, and you don't live in Ann Arbor, then I think you really don't have much to say here. I'm sorry that you had such a jerk of a neighbor. But your story is irrelevant here. Parking on the public streets involves a certain amount of responsibility, and if someone doesn't use the car enough and won't take responsibility for moving it from time to time so that streets can be cleaned or plowed, then they have abusing the privilege. Especially in the winter, parked cars become traffic hazards when their presence prevents the city from clearing the snow.

Linda Peck

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

Thank you, Susan Beckett, for this opinion article. I agree with you on this topic. There are many many people in town who live without the luxury of garages or even driveways in which to park their own cars. They must park in front of their home. I am thinking about older people, particularly, who often do not drive in their cars every day. It is a real hardship for them, especially in the winter, as you point out. A car is not a luxury item for most people, despite how the City Council seems to be voting these days. Cars are necessary for people who cannot ride bikes or walk very well. It is how they get around. Is there no compassion for people who are old and in pain? This is how I see this from my older person's perspective. I know there are many other perspectives, too.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

AATA offers a shared ride program for Seniors and people with disabilities. They can ride for $3 dollars in a cab in Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti if the ride is reserved ahead of time. A slightly higer rate if reserved same day. This is how they can get around and not have to have the cost of a car. It is a very good service that only 1 other city in the state have.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 5:33 a.m.

Linda, thanks for caring about people in all circumstances. Though we have an attached garage, I've been in positions where it was necessary to park on the street. I was thinking about a single adult of any age who suddenly becomes ill or injured and is taken to the hospital for a few days or needs to recuperate indoors. It could be several days or longer before a person in that situation might be in a position to look at his or her car.

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

"you're probably out-of-compliance with insurance and licensing requirements too" I have registration and insurance on all my vehicles. But I still park my older cars on the street. The new ones go in the driveway where people don't drive into them. I would love to own less than four cars but we have adult children in the house who need to get to work and we can't always carpool. But just because they are dented up, that doesn't mean they don't run, or are uninsured. In your world, I would ask my children to move out and get an apartment with off-street parking.

Richard C

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

Parking is part of the expense of owning a car. That expense isn't necessarily monetary, but parking on the public streets involves a certain responsibility for complying with the city in order for the streets to be cleared of debris and snow and ice. If you can't afford to arrange to move the car to comply, then you're probably out-of-compliance with insurance and licensing requirements too. I don't have any compassion for people who won't comply with the modest requirements of the city about moving vehicles parked on public streets. If they use their vehicle so rarely, then it's probably less expensive to use a cab or one of the public transportation services. Being old doesn't give you the right to ignore your civic responsibilities.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

If one's car is used on a limited basis, one should not park in the street.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Yet, Ann Arbor is not a big city. Not by a long shot. A2 pop = 114,935 & is 27.7 sq mi. Compared to: NY City pop =8,244,910 & 468.5 sq mi Chicago pop = 2,707,120 & 234 sq mi Even if you compare population density: A2 = 4,270.33 people per square mile NYC = 27,532 people per square mile Chi = 11,864.4 people per square mile We don't compare--not by a long shot, so why are we trying to?


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

If a person rents without parking accomodations that is not up to the public to bear their burden. Street parking is temporary and 48 hours generous to move. Living in a city has no implicit agreement for long term access to public space.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

Claire is correct--in big cities, most people park on the street. However, in the three big cities I've lived in, I've had to move my car more often than every 48 hours (New York had alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules that had everyone moving daily, for example), so I wonder whether it isn't generally understood that on-street parking isn't meant to be for the long term? It was an inconvenience, for sure, but we all dealt with it. The issuance of resident parking permits (maybe for a small fee), in combination with strict enforcement in case of snow emergencies, could probably take care of most people's parking problems.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 7:43 a.m.

what? have you ever lived in a city? everyone parks on the street in bigger cities. Most rental places and even most homes in urban areas don't come with parking spots.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 5:35 a.m.

Providing fuel, insurance, repairs and PARKING is the responsibility of one who owns a car. One should not confuse their ability to park on the street on a short term basis with a long term solution. Rent a parking space.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:57 a.m.

They should / could also consider selling their car for a ZipCar membership.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

Not all residences have off-street parking. I live in such a place. Where would you suggest I park? In your driveway?


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

I've seen any number of cars heaped with snow deposited 2 or 3 weeks prior. For those I feel no compassion and wonder why the city didn't deal with them. The same area has zero available spaces on the street.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

Vehicles in a state of dis-repair should NOT be stored, or repaired, on the street.

Ron Granger

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

The law applies to vehicles in your private driveway.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Um, no one is suggesting that they should.