Towit app could help clear the roads and bikelanes of illegally parked cars

fedex lane
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter in the Fedex Lane, April 2015

It's tough, trying to ride a bike in the Fedex lanes of our city. It's tough being a driver too, when people park illegally and block a lane. I have often instagrammed offenders because it makes me feel better, but Fedex isn't following my account. Now, thanks to a new app called Towit, I might have better luck. Developer Michael McArthur told the Toronto Star:

It was just kind of a hare-brained thought that we decided to roll with it, and the more we did, the bigger it seems to get. I read an article that my old boss posted on Facebook, with him commenting something along the lines of ‘Every time I see one of those paper shredders parked on a busy street I wonder why it is not being towed,’ and the idea just hit me.

Towit in action/Screen capture

It's very simple; you take a photo (preferably with the license plate and street sign visible) and the app uses your smart phone's GPS to put it on the map. I don't know if that will do any good, but it feels even better than instagram, and it is not as likely to get you yelled at as the I parked in the bike lane stickers. However taking pictures of people while they are in their cars can lead to trouble; the woman in this video (strong language) was not impressed with the Towit app.

These kinds of apps can be problematic; somebody has to be watching who has the authority to do anything. Tow truck operators might, but they still need a cop to ticket the car first before they can tow (at least where I live). And while some drivers might think it is another weapon in "the war on the car", McArthur tells the Star that illegal parking affects everyone.

This is not an anti-car movement by any means. I know it may seem that way to the public, I’m a downtown cyclist and I really don’t care what they think. We are trying to solve a problem that impacts tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands people in our city, every day.

Towit map/Screen capture

The app was developed in Toronto, hence the bulk of the postings are there, but it seems to be catching on in Nashville and Philadelphia. Get your android or OS version at Towit.

Found on Biking Toronto.

Tags: Apps | Bike-Friendly World | Biking | Toronto

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