Snow Tow is back in Aspen, claims 25 cars on 1st night

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— The odds of late-night revelers and other folks not finding their vehicles where they left them on certain streets in Aspen have increased.

That is because the city fired up its Snow Tow program Wednesday. And judging by the number of cars that were towed the first day - a total of 25 - it proved to be busy for the city and financially painful for motorists.

Michele McClinton, a customer service officer with the Aspen Police Department, said the fine is $135 to release a vehicle from impound. She said if a motorist does not act quickly enough and their car is towed to an area at the county landfill, the fine increases to $270.

Additionally, a $5 per day storage fee is tacked on once a vehicle ends up at the dump. The Snow Tow program, which is administered by the city of Aspen Parking Department, lasts through ski season.

The city does not disclose the location of the impound lots.

McClinton said the vehicles that were towed Wednesday were left in no-parking zones on streets considered to be in the core part of Aspen. Main Street represents the largest stretch of the no-parking zone, although a lot of the vehicles towed were left on Durant Avenue, the department reported.

The streets are marked with signs that stipulate no parking from 3 to 7 a.m. The reason, she said, is so streets can be cleared of snow in those hours. If a car or truck is parked in one of those spaces, snow and other debris can't be removed.

As a result, the police department is encouraging people to park in the public garage that is housed in the Rio Grande Parking Plaza on Rio Grande Place.

"We are promoting forethought," McClinton said.

The parking garage also presents a cheaper alternative. The fee to park a vehicle in the garage is $1.50 per hour. The maximum charge is $15. Motorcycles and trailers are not permitted.

Vehicle storage is not available.

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