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Thursday, May 03, 2018

An ugly towing incident and lost visitors for good

So I was privy to another ugly towing incident yesterday. This specific parking spot has been discussed over and over again, it was the subject at a parking meeting last October. The location is one parking space at Fuller Street and Main Highway, in front of Florentine Plaza. It's been an ugly and embarrassing thing for the Grove for years and the city nor the BID seems to want to do anything about it.

It's supposed to be a loading zone, only no one uses it as a loading zone. The space was empty when UPS parked in the center of the street here and then later the plumbing truck took the space. The plumber told me he can park there because he is commercial. The UPS truck doesn't use the space at all. It basically lies in wait as cars come, park and get towed, sort of like an assembly line.


Anyway, as I was walking down the street I saw a lady yelling to Grove merchants about her car being towed. If you look at the sign, it is confusing because while it says "no parking" there is also the info to pay for parking. So people park there, go to a restaurant or store and then are towed. Not ticketed - towed.

In the end, the store they were shopping in lost a few hundred dollars, I was told by the store owner that they lost $400, which was left at the cash register because this towing incident happened while they were about to pay.

The lady told me they had not been to the Grove for 20 years, and I am guessing that it will be another 20 before they return. I was standing at the parking space with a few people for a little while and we shooed away quite a few cars, catching people before they paid for parking. So it's an ongoing issue and confusing for people parking.

If the city wanted to do something right, they would put up a large "NO PARKING" or "LOADING ZONE" sign on a pole right next to this sign, which is right at the parking space. 


Last week cars were towed in front of the 24 Hour Fitness Gym and they are constantly being towed on Main Highway and Commodore Plaza, on the side of the street where that unused info booth is.

It's a scam and it hurts the Grove in the short and long run, because people don't return and businesses lose business. The only people who prosper are the city and the towing company and Uber, because people take Uber to pick up their cars in some god awful place in the northwest area somewhere.

That miserable booting company is awful, too.

On Sunday morning, about 8 am, I was leaving the gym. I was parked on Grand Avenue, one of maybe four cars parked that time of day and the booting company came by. The guy stopped the truck right in front of me and stared at me, giving me a menacing look. I don't know why, they don't boot people on the street and it was too early to feed the meter and I was standing at the car. But they are so used to being miserable bastards, that that is their demeanor. They stare people down as if they own the neighborhood.

You would think that people would get a break just for coming to the Grove during this total mess of a village between the streets that are closed by developers, blocked parking spaces and closed sidewalks. They should be rewarded for coming here, not towed.

I'm not sure why people cannot be ticketed rather than booted and/or towed, but we are losing people who spend money here, big time. I know it has something to with private lots, but the street parking spaces are not private lots and in other cities, the parking authority tickets cars even in private lots, rather than towing them.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There’s another identical sign across the street from that one and very, very misleading. I parked there and thankfully two local women walking by warned me. I thought they didn’t know what they were talking about until I got out of my car and looked at the sign myself. I was shocked because the towing warning is on the same sign as the parking info. Crazy. These lovely Grove ladies saved me. The BID needs to step in immediately to get these sign separated on two different posts.

May 03, 2018 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand what the confusion is. The sign clearly says "No Parking Commercial Loading Zone from 7am-6pm" and then directly underneath it, "6pm-2am Pay to Park". I'm not a rocket scientist but I read that to say, Don't parking in that space between 7a-6p and after 6p pay to park.

Perhaps someone can tell me what is so misleading about that???

May 03, 2018 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so sad.whats next we need to pay for the air we breath?

May 03, 2018 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The street parking (whats left of it) situation is out of control. There are signs like this in many different areas and it seems that more and more "loading" zones are popping up taking valuable parking spots.

The Centralized Valet is a joke. No one wants to use it. The BID pays a ton of money to the valet company to run it. Most of the time, the valet guys are sitting down on their cell phones and the spots are empty. I don't want to wait 20 minutes to get my car when I'm ready to leave. I don't want others driving my car.

Yesterday, I was trying to park on the street. There was the Parking Authority girl parked in a spot. I asked if she could move so I could park. She can park anywhere in her City vehicle. She told me No. I am paying customer that was going to spend money in a local restaurant. I drove around several times. She didn't leave and there were no other spots. So, I went home. Lost revenue.

May 03, 2018 11:25 AM  
Blogger TotalAdventure said...

ANother problem is that many metered spaces have been turned over to valet companies - making what would have been $1.40 to park for an hour to go have lunch into $ 8 plus another 2 or 3 for tip. I live in the SOuth Grove and already eating downtown much less. A friend of mine who owns a restaurant on Commodore Plaza says valet is hurting business.

May 03, 2018 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always see a bunch of comments regarding the parking situation in the Grove and people are always complaining about the valet companies. What I don't see are people offering up any solutions to the problems. Rather then continuing to spread negativity provide positive solutions to the problem. I would love to hear it.

May 03, 2018 2:11 PM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

Solutions? Stop booting and towing cars, get rid of the rarely-used valets which take up too many parking spaces, stop selling city garages to private developers and stop widening the sidewalks so that parking spaces are eliminated every time they do that. That's a start.

May 03, 2018 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Tony G said...

Parking in the area is a nightmare. Also, valet is a joke. It seems no matter where you go, there's valet. Not everyone wants to pay AND tip just to park their car and spend money. The town's greed is going to drive away business for good.

May 03, 2018 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing misleading about the sign. Just another reason to complain. Follow the rules and you won't get ticketed or booted!

May 03, 2018 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Street parking, Valet?, BID, all of it is a joke. Not only are they hurting out of town visitors but the ppl who actually live in the grove get it the worst. The parking situation in the last carrot, quick stop parking lot is a total nightmare. 15 cars parked wherever they want while cops take up the actual spots and sit in the quick stop doing nothing but passing the time. I wont order from those places bc of it. and the sidewalks...

May 03, 2018 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I walk by the tow zone across the street from the one you are alluding to on a daily basis and while the term "assembly line" is accurate, we cannot understand why anyone would park there between 7a.m. and 6p.m. on a weekday. The signage is 100% clear.

May 03, 2018 4:13 PM  
Blogger Ron Jakubisin said...

I parked there and was towed. I usually parked a few spaces down and didn't pay attention since this was open and it looked OK at first glance (I went back later to read the sign as I too thought the pay to park option applied).

The worst part is you have to go the police sub station to find out who and where your car was towed to. Then it's a cab ride, in my case for $36, to a lot near Jackson Memorial Medical center in an area with drunks and prostitutes. Then they ask for your registration... which like most people is in the glove box, and I had to negotiate to let them allow me to go to the car with an escort to open it up and procure the registration. It was $115 cash only... lucky me that I got there a few minutes after it arrived. Pity the poor suckers who get hit with additional storage charges or don't have cash. Anyway, lesson learned and it was my fault so I wouldn't hold it against a Grove merchant. I'm also sympathetic to others who get towed like I did who are used to parking all over on the streets and don't take the time to read every sign.

May 03, 2018 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you can't understand the sign, which is very clear, then you are too stupid to drive!

May 03, 2018 7:20 PM  
Blogger reid prevatt said...

Anony.. I would hit you in the mouth for calling me stupid for getting towed. What is your problem. Curious who was the brains behind Valet. Bently or VW, most of want are 8 dollars and do not want a stranger in our car.

May 03, 2018 8:10 PM  
Blogger Grant Sheehan said...

What the BID/City needs to do is not be paying a third party company (valet services), who I am sure is a friend of a friend, but pick up the first hour or two of consumers shopping or dining in the Grove. We shop and dine in the Grove all the time, when we can find parking, and rarely exceed two hours. Imagine the goodwill and positive comments the restaurants and shops would receive.

They should do a study on when deliveries are actually made and consider changing the hours for delivery parking. Food sources usually deliver early in the morning and like FedEx and UPS park in the middle of the street. Open up those spaces for consumers for shopping, lunch and dinner.

May 04, 2018 7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watch it alll day long(Revolution Bicycle Services)It is a racket, the same MPA lady tows every car she tickets in that spot, while the other MPA’ss just give the ticket. She calls and they show up within minutes, they usually wait at the Home Depot. They will break into the cars to release the brake or pop the steering wheel. Drag the car out of the space sideways jacking the wheels violently shaking the front end, scratching wheels and rims all the way up onto the bed with half a wheel on and off the side of the truck. Last week the wench broke as they were dragging one out, and they just left it there half in a spot and half in the street for 43 minutes. Traffic was backed up on maiin hwy to mc farlane down to bay shore. I warched an MPA in a car let some motorcycle riders cross the street to go eat as he waited for them to cross he pulled over and went back to ticket both bikes, he also gave me a ticket in West grove for expired time in spot, however it’s a free street to park on. He knew the time to fight that ticket is not worth the 18.00. Ticket was given at 6:45pm. Not to mention people getting booted when their time is not even expired!! That is a money maker all day and pisses tons of patrons off when they are smacked with an 89.00 charge to remove the boot after being late only 4 minutes. People get booted when they even pay for the month!! Free parking on the weekend would be nice or just one day would be great, yeah never gonna happen! Ride a bike instead

May 04, 2018 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with others. Nothing confusing about that sign. Any time I see "No Parking" on any sign I pay attention that I'm not parking in those hours. If someone chooses to simply not look at that part of the sign I don't think they should look for blame. I've seen far more confusing signs.
(And if you see an open spot in an otherwise full area, it might be helpful to question why the spot is open. Good chance it's open for a reason, and that reason is often "No Parking...")
All that said, I also agree w/the valets being unnecessary and taking up too many spots.
Have business owners gotten together on ideas? They lose money daily in the Grove due directly to parking. I would think they would have a vested interest in making the area more visitor-friendly.

May 06, 2018 12:34 PM  
Anonymous gessie said...

My husband, who i a very, very sick man went out to dinner in the Grove, where we have lived all of our lives. He parked there and when he got out he called the police to report his car stolen. Which is of course, what one would think. The 911 operator said, "Oh I know where you parked, it was towed." This happens so frequently that she knows about it. My husband is very frail. After two hours of trying to get in contact with towing truck, he had to go to a very dangerous, poorly lit lot to get his car back, and they wanted to see the registration. Well, of course the registration is in the car. They were insanely rude, to an elderly man who can barely walk. And he is no idiot, nor are the men with him. They are all three brilliant men in the field of science and cancer drugs. The PTB in the Grove know about the racket, I know the police know about it and probably get a kick back on every car that is towed. Way to lure people to spend $450.00 in a restaurant in the ruined Grove which is now going to be all office buildings. Brilliant! This is disgusting behavior, and they lose at least two tourists a night. I think they have a spotter who calls them if somebody parks there so they can get in as many tow jobs per night that they can.
And to the imbecile who said that the sign is very clear. No it isn't. It has a big sign on top of it that says PARKING. And even if it were obvious, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy and I certainly wouldn't gloat about it. They didn't even give a crap that my husband has a handicapped sign. It's disgraceful.

May 09, 2018 3:07 PM  

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