Sunday, April 27, 2008

A CAUTIONARY TALE - UPDATED

Why am I awake at 4AM? I just got back from the impound lot. My car got towed from the Signature garage tonight. I ran into Harris Teeter for 5 minutes (seriously 5 minutes) to get a loaf of bread. When Matt and I came out, there was no car. We parked in a Library spot. But guess what? The Library was closed for hours before we parked there.
So I was there for 5 minutes and the company patrolling Shirlington at 1AM towed me. There is no signage that tells you that you will be towed if you park there.

Now I know that no one towing or whatever knows or cares about that, but it burns my butt that I am awake at 4AM because of this. It burns me up so bad that instead of falling asleep like I should, I chose to write this to you.
It took FOREVER for me to even get my car from impound and cost me $100 that I DONT HAVE. Is it really that important that the Library enforces towing on its spaces after it is clearly closed?
I am going to speak to the head of the library tomorrow to discuss this. I took pictures, and there is no signage to support this.
So be wary, Shirlington parker...5 minutes in the lot can cost you HOURS of time and $100.
It would burn me up less if I didn't have to fight for parking during KISS and know and SEE people parking in the "Theatre Employee" spaces who were clearly not there as a "Theatre Employee". But are they towed? No.
UGH.
UPDATE:
So I went down to the garage this morning to specifically take pictures of everything.
Here is the outside of the garage. Keep this picture in mind for later.




Yes, I did park in a spot that was reserved for Library Visitors. But since I was literally running in for a loaf of bread for the morning (It was 2AM), I thought it would be ok for me to park there to just walk in and walk out. Nothing there said that it was going to get towed, right? Nothing says Permit Only, or Tow Away Zone, or Reserved 24 Hours, right?







I know that the Library is quite closed at this hour, so I can't imagine that I am preventing anyone from visiting the library.







But after I was towed, the Harris Teeter checkout girl went out with us, and got the number off of this small sign which is outside the garage to the right, which I have never seen before, and definitely did not see in then dark of 2AM.

But still, it says Permit Parking 24 Hours a Day - you need no Permit to park in a library space. Even if I would see this sign, I would imagine that it pertained more to the Residential Parking on the top floor.
This is simply inadequate signage, and I am not going to take this lying down. I am going to contact Federal Realty (Thanks, Googla Monster) and fight this out. I may also have to "Get 7 on my Side".
I am sorry, but in economic times like these, I CANNOT afford to lose $100 for something this idiotic.
Wish me luck.
SGS

5 comments:

Googla Monster said...

Stephen, You can talk to the Library, but they don't have anything to do with the signage. You need to talk to Federal Realty. In fact, I would suggest finding how who, at Signature, deals with Federal Realty and have them address the issue. The parking rules are not posted, which is a problem. Here is the link that has contact information. http://www.villageatshirlington.com/

Mercutio said...

Another thing that can be done is to get the County to have the Library only enforce the rules while the library is OPEN. Your towing is an unintended consequence of a zealous towning company trying to make a quick buck. Just like it happened to you, it's happened to others. This tow truck guy was waiting for people like you and I bet that lot was one of his regular "rounds." Some preassure from the County should put a stop to it. As for Signature, the Theatre could give some sort of parking "pass" to people working for it so that their cars can be more easily identified thereby making it more easy to tow the cars that do not belong in the Signaure reserved spots.

STEPHEN GREGORY SMITH said...

Signature DOES give us parking permits to put in our windows.
Furthermore, I have heard that at least 3 other people who work at Signature have had their cars towed from that garage.
Furthermore, I heard that an Arlington County Police car was parked in a Signature Theatre reserved space this afternoon, and an actress wrote a note and put it on the Car's windsheild, informing him that she was late to get to her matinee because she could not find a space to park in, and that he as a police officer should lead an example to the rest of the civilians parking in this garage.
This garage is becoming a nightmare.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Similar towing policies occur in downtown Silver Spring. I've watched a fleet of tow trucks circling like vultures in the parking lot of Whole Foods in the evening as people are coming into the downtown area to go to the movies or dinner. It's creepy, watching them circle and knowing later that evening people are going to be in a predicament similar to yours. Good luck fighting the system! I hope the gods are on your side. Certainly righteous indignation is!

Anonymous said...

I echo what Tewkesbury said..I used to live in the DTSS area and I can attest to these towing companies, better yet, predators who are just waiting for the next victim. As the area builds up more and more, it will just get worse.

Stephen, I am sorry about what happened. Sadly, this is something that seems to occur in various locals around the region. Companies like these indeed define the word "merciless".