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Friday, May 05, 2017

Regarding the car booting all around the village

Police Commander Mike Gonzalez sent out a letter regarding the all-too-often booting of cars in local lots. I've witnessed this and in many cases I feel it's a trap.

I've witnessed tourists who didn't understand that the parking meters on the street are not the same meters that should be used in the private lots. In all good faith they paid for parking, got back to their cars and found the cars booted. I've witnessed a family in a red car, from New Jersey, yelling out, "I'll never come back to Coconut Grove again!" 

I've witnessed the towing company speed in and out and around the CVS parking lot, making more of a nuisance and danger to others, just so they can boot a car very fast before the owner gets back.

Stand on Grand Avenue, at the lot next to the 24 Hour Fitness Gym. Watch the antics on a daily basis. My own brother parked in the lot across from the Kiwk Stop, he needed to run in and out of somewhere for about 10 minutes, what he didn't realize was that it was $10 to park there; only you don't find out the rate until after you have paid. 

All of these are entrapment. They don't help the Grove at all and all they do is line the pockets of the towing company. I do agree that the post office and CVS are warranted, I don't think you can shop there or mail a letter and then walk off to have lunch. I do question the tactics at the private lots where people do pay for parking, only they are confused and they use city meters on the street rather than the meters in the lots, they think it's all the same. Just the fact that people pay and there is a paid ticket inside the car window should be proof that a car should not be booted. Perhaps if the parking meters and lots were marked correctly and clearly, people would understand that there are separate meters for the lots. But the parking lot owners don't seem to want it that way, how else could they and the towing companies make $89.00 per boot rather than $1.00 per car for legal parking? 

Family from New Jersey shocked at getting the boot even after they paid for parking.

Here is the Commander's letter, although I know he feels helpless and he is only trying to answer the complaints of residents. Unfortunately, most tourists don't complain, they pay the fee and never come back.

Good afternoon Coconut Grove. 

I am hoping to provide some clarity and prevent some negative parking experiences for our visitors and residents. Recently, the U.S. Post Office on Grand Avenue contracted the services of a booting and immobilization company to patrol the post office parking lot. This is also occurring at other lots that ARE NOT controlled/owned by the City of Miami, such as the lot next door to the Sonesta property on McFarlane, and the lot across from the Mayfair on Grand Avenue near the 24 Hour Fitness. These PROPERTY OWNERS are permitted to hire these types of companies in lieu of a tow truck. These booting and immobilization companies are however, subject to regulations very similar to towing companies and are monitored by the Miami Police Towing Detail 305-603-6531. 

Some valid complaints would be: 
1) Paying for parking but forgetting to display your receipt properly on your dashboard (not really valid but they have "verbally" agreed to cooperate with us on this temporarily) 
2) The booting representative refusing to accept 2 forms of payment such as "cash or credit card". THEY CANNOT DEMAND CASH ONLY 
3) Failing to respond to remove the device within 30 minutes 
4) Booting representative threatening or aggressive 
5) You did not in fact leave the Post Office (see post office manager for immediate remedy. They CAN order the boot removed) 

Some examples of complaints that CANNOT be addressed by Miami Police Towing Detail: 
1) "I was only parked there for a couple of minutes" 
2) "I didn't read the sign" 
3) "I did go to the post office and then I went across the street for a few minutes" Once you leave the Post Office for example, your car can be booted. The signage specifically states this and any complaint on that policy should be directed to the management at the Post Office as it is their policy and their lot. As a side note, the Post Office allows traditional "Pay to Park" AFTER 6:30PM (see signage) 

We recently participated in a meeting with all stakeholders in order to improve signage and policies dealing with booting in the Grove Business District. Representatives from several city departments were present and we are working to improve the situation. However unpleasant, this is currently a legal and permitted practice, and the companies are subject to city and county licensing and regulations. 

Please contact our Miami Police Towing Detail 305-603-6531 if you believe that you have one of the above listed "valid complaints" and they will follow up as quickly as possible.

Police Commander Mike Gonzalez

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did Mr. Russell permit Booting to take place in Coconut Grove or even throughout District 2 while on his watch? He must end this hostile act of entrapment now! Booting is not going to encourage commerce or welcome tourists. Its shameful and should not have been implemented. If the Grove want to survive it needs to stop being so greedy and find ways to encourage folks to shop, visit and live here. The Grove could stand out from other neighborhoods if they removed all the parking meters, repaired the sidewalks once a for all, offered quality and affordable shops, dinning and waterfront view for pedestrians.

May 05, 2017 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rules are rules. The parking at the Post Office is very limited. I have seen and know of local persons who have parked there in the past and have gone to lunch at one of the near by restaurants. Their cars were towed which is much more inconvenient than "the boot". Locals beware.

May 05, 2017 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I detest these transgressions/greed, HOWEVER, and of course I don't want to pay to park or pay for a permit to catch lobster or go fishing, but in a world of about 7.5-Billion humans, location, location, location. A Grove on Biscayne Bay, Peacocks, tree lines streets, some fine restaurants, marinas, shopping and galleries; space, space, space IS a valuable asset and folks in general are just like me in that they don't want to pay for this very valuable asset. I detest the practice, but I understand merchants who need this space for their customers. Jobie Steppe

May 05, 2017 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be noted that the man behind this is EXTREMELY aggressive and confrontational and seeks out fights. IT should be noted he literally sits and waits for the second he can boot someone.

It is disgusting and shameful.

I personally saw a family last week in a minivan with 2 babies who got booted because they simply did not understand the payment system. Older caravan. Dad was holding a screaming baby while dealing with the a-hole. It was a Disgrace.

I am wondering if the Property Owners are profiting from this. They should also be targeted, as they brought these scumbag tow companies here.

And as a Groveite, I have often times used CVS, then ran to the post office to drop something off. We DO NOT live in a 1940s USSR. That behavior is not a crime.

But hey, the new Grove Motto has been GREED. And it continues as such.

May 05, 2017 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lot across from Kwik E Mart has a million signs! Even to the point where it is annoying. That is not an excuse. If you dont understand the signs, go to Cocowalk. You wont get booted there.

May 05, 2017 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I went to CVS, then went to run another errand at the post office". Unfortunately if everyone did that there would be no spots in CVS. Hence the need for a boot guy.

May 05, 2017 4:04 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

A few months back I attempted to park in the lot next to the Sonesta for an event at Glass and Vine. The valet there was overrun because of the event. Turned out that the machine would only let you purchase the minimum increment amount of time. I don't remember exactly, but it was like 30 mins or even less. You could not add any time. I canceled the transaction and parked in the Coco Walk and walked down. I remember thinking this sure feels like a scam. I wonder if that was ever fixed or is still limited to a very small increment of time?

May 05, 2017 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The act of Booting cars is hostile, greedy and mean spirited. it will do considerable damage to what remains of the Groves reputation as a once friendly, quirky, unconventional, counterculture neighborhood. Russell must end this practice before another day passes and more good will and customers continue to abandon us.

May 05, 2017 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen above. We locals (myself included)seem to think we are entitled to free parking. Whenever we met other locals in the downtown area or at The Sailing Club (which should start booting)the first question we seem to ask each other is "where did you park"

May 05, 2017 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The parking establishment in Miami with Miami Parking Authority (MPA) at the helm is a semi private and private bona fide racket. There is major confusion in the Grove and other areas with what is city parking and what is not. The booting shamble started couple of years ago at the Playhouse (RIP) parking lot where there is no attendant yet there are ticket machines similar to MPA machines which by the way seems to be testing machines for the ticket dispensing machine industry since they have a different machine almost at every spot, street and neighborhood. In this new age the problem is citizens are regulated to their nose yet corporations and organizations are left to screw the citizens as they wish, especially here in Miami. In Boston they have decided to have parking meters like they existed in the old days next to the car and fitted with credit card readers, cash (note and coin) capabilities and online and app capability. That is called customer friendly, with citizens and tourists in mind which promotes commerce and makes parking efficient across town. Public and private parking laws must be fixed in Miami or Dade County.

On top of that public transportation must be started as well on a massive scale to prevent gridlock in a couple of years.

May 05, 2017 6:49 PM  
Blogger REID PREATT said...

Signs or no signs, most of us think an overdue ticket would be 17 Dollars. Yes it is 10 bucks for two hours on the weekends. If you do not like that park elsewhere.. It is a scam and the parking company pay the owner a lot of money to carry out this practice. Guy hangs out across the street and counts the minutes. Not good for the goodwill in the Grove and never will be. Have a good time and next you know you got a boot. BS. yes it is private property, but I would never know because of the machines.

May 05, 2017 8:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Read the signs. Pay the meters. Get the app that warns you 15 min before the meter runs out. I mean, it's pretty much that simple. Lol. If you guys think parking is bad here I guess you guys haven't been to SOBE.

May 06, 2017 1:16 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I do miss the simplicity of the old meters and having a roll of quarters in my car.

May 06, 2017 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too was towed from a handicapped parking place in front of Last Carrot?. I had my handicapped sign hanging from the mirror. There were N0 Parking spots behind the dry cleaner. I cannot walk far...in the matter OF 20 MINUTES My car was towed. I went to the cleaners and picked up one sweater and put it in the trunk and also removed an ATT box which UPS MAILED BACK FOR ME. Walked right back to the convenience store to purchase lotto tickets and my car had been towed. Not by the convenience store. In all it cost me $165.00 and 2 hrs. Of my time. I have lived in the Grove off and on since 1969. It is so frustrating what the parking catastrophe has done to ALL Of the good folks who visit our lovely village.������������

May 06, 2017 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to keep my hacksaw in my car.

May 06, 2017 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Seaman_Staines said...

What is unfair, is parking for motorcycles and scooters in Coconut Grove.
Back when it was the old style parking meters, we would park four or five motorcycles in one parking space.
Now each rider has to pay the same as a car driver, yet takes up less than a quarter of the space.
Many cities in the US and Europe have dedicated parking for scooters and motorcycles. Why not Miami?

Bring back the Meter Fairy!

May 06, 2017 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Booting existed before Mr. Rus sell took office.

May 06, 2017 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Towing can be worse

May 06, 2017 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corporations are regulated more tHan citizens. Regardless, as a whole, aRe usually bad.

May 06, 2017 7:14 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Parking is so expensive and the possibility of being booted or towed is real. Take an Uber to the Grove. That's the only way to be safe.

May 10, 2017 11:40 AM  
Blogger Avoid the Grove said...

This is rampant in Coconut Grove, my car was booted when I paid for parking but ended up having to pay $85 or I would have missed a flight - criminals - will avoid businesses in the Grove from now on.

May 23, 2018 11:02 PM  

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