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An Evanston city panel put a hold on renewal of the city’s towing contract after an alderman this week complained that speeding tow truck drivers were “terrorizing people” by following too closely behind them.

“They’re some of the worst drivers in the city, a real hazard,” said Alderman Coleen Burrus, whose 9th Ward includes the North Shore Towing yard on Oakton Street.

“They need to be reminded that they should not be speeding on Oakton Street, or tailgating people,” Burrus added.

North Shore, which was founded in 1979, has had a towing contract with the city for over 34 years, according to Rickey Voss, the city’s parking division manager.

The proposed agreement the Transportation and Parking Committee was considering Wednesday night would extend an existing three-year contract for an optional renewal year starting in August. The extention would maintain current rates, at an estimated annual cost of just under $45,000.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons suggested adding a performance standard to the contract that would penalize the company if its drivers got over a certain number of tickets or received too many complaints from citizens phoned into the city’s 311 service.

In response to a question from committee member Paul Giddings, Voss said that there are no other Evanston-based tow companies and that “it’s hard to find a company within a close enough radius to the city to provide the service necessary — which includes vehicle storage as well as towing.

“North Shore Towing has all the facilities,” Voss said, and it can meet the need for extra trucks when there’s high demand.

Voss said he would meet with North Shore owner Robert Cole to discuss the issue, and added that residents concerned about the issue could also contact the Illinois Commerce Commission, which licenses the towing service.

“Complaints to them carry a lot of weight,” Voss added.

The committee is scheduled to consider a revised version of the contract at its June meeting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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3 Comments

  1. Northshore Towing

    According to Rajeev Daha, Northshore Towing drivers are not supposed to use Oakton Street east of Dodge unless they are on city business.  They do terrorize us by following much too closely and they speed incessantly when no one is in front of them!

    1. I agree. The reason being is

      I agree. The reason being is that they know that a ticket will not be givin to them here in Evanston. They think they can do anyting and get away with it because they WORK WITH THE EVANSTON police department. Also, When I come to work in the morning I use Lake street east to Sherman. OMG !! between 6:30 and 6:45AM STAY AWAY. The police officers (in there own vehicles) that are going to work and are late will run you O V E R !!!

      They speed, run the stop signs and will pass you on the left hand side if you are stopping at a stop sign or light. I have complained about this so may time and still NOTHING HAPPENDS TO THEM either. I will be so glad to get out of this city. What a shame

    2. Tow trucks “terrorizing” people”?

      Terrorize – "to create and maintain a state of extreme fear and distress" – seriously? This is what they are doing? I find that very hard to believe. If you are that intimidated by a vehicle following too close, I would tell you it makes sense to take the bus from now on.

      Secondly, why is it that you never read press about what an great job they do in helping maintain the local economy? In cities that depend on vehicles being able to "move", it is of utmost importance that "tow trucks" be able to keep the streets clear of accidents, and abandoned cars. For snow removal, and street cleaning, they are required as drains need to be open for water to move. And snow plows need to get through so you can get to a hospital in time for a baby to be born, or a business meeting to be kept. They contribute millions of dollars to economic wellbeing of the city, but all we ever do is complain about them. What they really should be able to do, like police, fire and ambulance, is throw on their lights and everyone should be pulling them over to let them pass – and it should be the law. They are often first onscene at accidents and act as grief counselors, or undergo PTSS themselves. These people are hero’s but get treated like criminals. It's time people we start treating this industry with the respect it deserves! This hold up of a contract is absolutely ridiculous. And so typical of politicians these days who don't really care about anything but their name in the paper.

      PS – the police departments all around the country give these towing companies x number so minutes to get to an accident scene or they get their contract pulled. Just like a pizza delivery, 30 minutes or it's free! Get out of the way if a tow truck is in a hurry – 90% of the time, it's likely for good reason!

      Sincerely,

      Dennis Thurlow

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