Tow them away

The situation at Garwin Falls in Wilton seems to be getting even further out of hand than it had been before officials decided it was, well, getting out of hand.

The issue is people parking on Isaac Frye Highway and Putnam Hill Road – many of the parkers out-of-town visitors – who ignore the No Parking signs and, if they get ticketed by the police, they ignore the summons and don’t bother paying the fine.

Even if fines are collected, the amount doesn’t cover the costs to the police department, Chief Eric Olesen told the select board recently.

At his request, the board raised the fine to $100, but that’s not going to do a lot of good if out-of-state drivers don’t pay. Sure, a court summons can be issued but that, too, can be ignored.

And the select board also gave the OK to start towing cars. Good. People can ignore parking tickets, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that when you come back from the falls, possibly wet from swimming, your wheels are gone.

Police have enough to deal with without having to worry about parking issues, but they have to because, as Olesen said, on one tour up there, he could barely get his cruiser through the road, and a fire truck wouldn’t make it through, so the situation is potentially dangerous.

Raising the fine and beginning a towing program are excellent, potential solutions. The falls are on private property, so the town can’t control access, and because the location is on numerous websites, lots of folks from all over end up there, parking their cars illegally and not worrying about fines, until now.

Once the police tow a few cars, once the drivers are forced to pay the towing fee, maybe a storage fee and the $100 fine, it’s likely the word will get out and fewer people will come. And maybe, when drivers see all the legal parking spaces are filled, they’ll go somewhere else. It isn’t as if they are Wilton tourists who bring business to the town.

What they bring is more work for the police.

It’s not a fair trade.