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Mayor Signs Higher Towing Rates into Law

By Jill Colvin | July 11, 2011 9:42pm
Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a bill signing ceremony July 11.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a bill signing ceremony July 11.
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MANHATTAN — Getting your car towed in Manhattan is about to become even pricier.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation Monday that will boost the rate for towing cars from private properties and driveways from $100 to at least $125, plus storage fees, effective Nov. 8.

It also adds new consumer protections, with higher penalties for private tow truck operators who gouge customers, refuse service or fail to accept credit cards.

“When distressed New Yorkers call for a tow truck, they need to know that they’re receiving top-notch service — and that they’re not being taken for a ride,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement following an official signing ceremony.

The new legislation also includes new provisions for mandatory license suspensions and possible license revocations for those who repeatedly flout the law, he said.

The mayor also signed two bills that will provide more information about the reasons why public school students choose to leave their schools, in the wake of criticism that the Department of Education was pressuring poor-performing students to transfer out to drive up graduation rates.

While the city's discharge rate has held steady, some critics have questioned the city's historic gains in graduation rates, and have accused some schools of pressuring certain low-performing students to transfer out or erroneously classifying some who've dropped out as "discharges" — a category that’s supposed to be reserved for students who’ve left a school or transferred out of the system.

The DOE will now be forced to post an online report every year that identifies how many students have left or transferred to another school, as well as demographic information.

“This bill will bring clarity so we really know whether students are discharged because they’re moving to another school,” said City Council Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson before voting in favor of the bill.

The mayor also signed legislation Monday renaming 56 streets and public spaces through the city, including 14 Manhattan streets.

East 123rd Street between Second and Third avenues will now be known as Detective Omar J. Edwards Way, in honor of the police officer who was shot and killed two years ago in East Harlem by a fellow officer while chasing a man who had just broken into his car.

Museum Mile has also been extended along Fifth Avenue from East 104th to East 110th streets in honor of the new Museum for African Art, and East Fourth Street between Bowery and Second Avenue has been renamed Ellen Stewart Way in honor of the first African-American fashion designer for Saks Fifth Avenue.