It happens every winter, and it's always a pain in the ass.

Iowa City is warning residents tonight that they will begin towing any vehicles that are illegally parked in the downtown district in designated tow-away zones. And in downtown, that "zone" seems to cover nearly every single block..

Worse yet, you don't have much time to act if you want to save yourself a big problem.

Towing is scheduled to begin starting at 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 5. That's just hours away from now. So you had better move it tonight or you may just owe big fines to get your poodle out of the dog pound.

According to KCRG, your car could be towed if it's is street parked in the area of Prentiss Street on the south end to Market Street on the north end; you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You also need to haul your caddy away if its parked now on the west end of Madison Street to the east end of Gilbert Street. But don't go parking it over along North Clinton Street north to Church Street.

So what is renter or student with wheels supposed to do in the winter? Park at the mall and Uber back home? After all these years, knowing that snow removal is part of Iowa life for four or five months out of each year you think Iowa City could  come up with an affordable plan for someone on a tight budget to leave their car safely parked without risk of towing?

It snows every damn year, this is not a new problem. If Iowa City really wants to be forward thinking, how about constructing affordable parking structures? Or maybe a shuttle service to and from a shopping mall parking lot?

We all understand that real estate is valuable and even a parking structure needs to be profitable. But there is nothing worse than going out into the cold, only to find your car stolen - because that's what it certainly feels like when you find your car has been towed.

Yeah, winter sucks.

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