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On April 3, Mayor John Street gave himself exactly 40 days to clear 40,000 abandoned cars from the streets of Philadelphia.

And, with yesterday marking the close of those 40 days, city officials are heralding the program a success.

"It's possibly one of the most successful things we've done," Philadelphia Deputy Managing Director Ted Dallas said. Dallas said that he would even hear Philadelphians talk about the program while walking down the street.

"Some of these cars have been sitting there for years," he added. "It really makes such a difference for people who live in these neighborhoods."

While the program didn't pick up 40,000 vehicles -- in fact, only approximately 33,000 vehicles were towed -- officials said that there weren't really the 40,000 abandoned cars on the streets as they had originally estimated.

Dallas said that the real city-wide total of abandoned cars lay somewhere near 35,000, noting that many of the cars officials assumed were abandoned either were re-registered by owners or turned out to be stolen.

And according to Dallas, the abandoned car program will continue, with a hotline for reporting abandoned cars remaining open for callers indefinitely. The city also now has a central police unit of 40 police officers responsible for managing the city's abandoned cars.

The fine for abandoning a car will increase from $100 to $300.

The abandoned car program requited the unified efforts of the city and Managing Director Joseph Martz, who mobilized over 25 salvage companies to tow, according to Dallas, approximately 500 cars each day.

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