A prime offender rides the curb in San Francisco. TowIt

One developer’s weapon against lousy drivers and vans blocking the bike lane.

The next time you see a parked car attempting to mate with a curb, as shown above, you can leave a nasty note on its windshield.

Or, if you have the app TowIt, you could snap a photo and (in theory) flag it for a good towin’.

The aggressive app, available in Google and Apple versions, “allows civilians to report selfish or illegal parking and dangerous driving in real time,” say its makers. “TowIt works with municipal governments, local law enforcement, and towing companies to remove the barriers required to make cities effectively fight and deter bad parking and dangerous driving habits.”

The app was developed by Michael McArthur in Toronto, where it’s reportedly caught on among local cyclists. He hopes the geotagged map of parking offenders will be of use to the authorities—which is kind of a weakness, as the app’s effectiveness relies on cops and towers actively monitoring it. Here’s McArthur’s vision, as described to the Toronto Star:

McArthur says he has met with the some of the mayor’s staff, and has also reached out Traffic Services, who have contacted him to discuss the app. [sic] “I am offering the police a free solution, with no cost to them and no cost to the taxpayers, that is just going to make them more efficient, which in turn will save them or make them more money, so I can’t understand why they would say no to such a thing unless they are against innovation.”

Right now, the app seems most useful for shaming lousy parkers online. Most of the reports hail from Toronto, though there are a few in U.S. cities like San Francisco, Houston, and New York, where, hilariously, somebody’s tagged a police van:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  2. Perspective

    Coronavirus Reveals Transit’s True Mission

    Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

  3. photo: A lone tourist in Barcelona, one of several global cities that have seen a massive crash in Airbnb bookings.
    Coronavirus

    Can Airbnb Survive Coronavirus?

    The short-term rental market is reeling from the coronavirus-driven tourism collapse. Can the industry’s dominant player stage a comeback after lockdowns lift?

  4. Coronavirus

    The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

    The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

  5. Coronavirus

    The Coronavirus Class Divide in Cities

    Places like New York, Miami and Las Vegas have a higher share of the workforce in jobs with close proximity to others, putting them at greater Covid-19 risk.

×