Globe’s “Perils of Parking” Identifies Commercial Wharf West in Top 10 List of Towing Hot Spots


An enlarged view of the North End from the Globe’s data map highlighting towing “hot spots.” The very large circle is the private street at Commercial Wharf West. (Source:

The Boston Globe’s Andrew Ryan and Matt Carroll recently investigated and published an article on the questionable towing practices in private lots throughout the city. (See Perils of Parking: A City on the Hook.)

“Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Globe requested all the towing data the City of Boston had on file from April 8, 2009, to Oct. 31, 2011. The Globe used the information to build a database that included the time, date, location, and other details of roughly 246,300 vehicles cleared for towing.”

The Globe article identified a strip-mall lot in Allston as top on the list that also included the North End’s Commercial Wharf West private lot, previously highlighted on (See Beware the Parking Trap at Commercial Wharf West.)

At the Allston lot, More than twice as many cars have been towed for illegally using the 63-spot lot shared by a Rite Aid and a Dunkin’ Donuts than at any other address in Boston, according to the Globe review. The second-leading location was the South Bay mall in Dorchester, a vast lot with more than 2,000 parking spots. Also on the top 10 list of towing hot spots are three other pharmacy parking lots in Allston, South Boston, and the South End; Commercial Wharf West, a block-long private street near the North End; the Whole Foods near the Boston-Brookline border; Blanchard’s liquor store in Allston, a Stop & Shop in Brigham Circle, and a strip mall lot in Fields Corner.” (emphasis added)

“It casts a light on an industry that in Boston legally impounds roughly 90,000 vehicles a year. Tow companies, nearly all of them privately owned, have almost no government oversight, even though they use heavy equipment to seize private property, carry tools for prying open cars, and often demand cash on the street.” Read the full Globe article on

Related posts: