Parking it in Asheville

I do not profess to know if predatory towing is a significant problem in Asheville, but Jason Sandford’s “No Parking” [Dec. 10 Xpress] would lead me to believe it is a farce propagated by those wanting more parking decks.

The Westphals chose to park in a lot that has conspicuous signage; additionally, Zambra has a sign on their door warning patrons not to use the private lot next door. I walk by this lot fairly frequently, and—as the article states—it doesn’t take much time to find the signs stating the lot is private and which towing company will tow your vehicle. Furthermore, the lot is located across the street from the entrance to the Rankin deck and adjacent to the Civic Center deck, where parking after 7 p.m. is $1 per exit, and before 7 p.m. is free for up to one hour. Most lots in large cities charge upwards of $5 per hour, not per exit.

If I paid the rent or mortgage in a downtown apartment or condo, I would want my property manager or homeowner’s association to be on top of illegal parkers. This story was about putting tourists above the people who live and work here, and for a paper that proclaims local matters, the story is a disappointment.

Where are the photos documenting the missing or broken signage? Were both of the city lots in close proximity full, as well as all of the on-street parking on Lexington, Haywood and around the Grove Arcade? Since the Westphals were drinking that night, why didn’t they use a taxi to begin with? Did their hotel on the outskirts not offer shuttle service, or were they too far out to think about the bus?

Thanks for your generally stellar reporting.

— Jennifer Knox

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9 thoughts on “Parking it in Asheville

  1. cwaster

    “This story was about putting tourists above the people who live and work here…”

    Not at all. This is about predatory towing, which affects all of us that park downtown. In fact, if you live or work downtown it affects you even more than visitors.

    “I do not profess to know if predatory towing is a significant problem in Asheville…”

    It is. Why write a letter if you don’t know much about the issue?

  2. granma

    This is about Asheville Police catching Allsafe illegally and knowingly towing parkers who paid. The name Allsafe is ironical because Allsafe drivers are a hazard to pedestrians in the west end neighborhood where their lot is.

  3. Piffy!

    “I do not profess to know if predatory towing is a significant problem in Asheville”

    Might I suggest reading the most recent article? Yes, I might.

  4. eyes wide open

    I don’t think the Westphals are victims at all. They parked in a lot reserved for people who live in those apartments. Noone was preying on them. They didn’t read the signs! We live in a society of perpetual victims…when will we take responsibility for our own choices and actions?

  5. ncamyamy

    For the Allsafe situation, that was wrong. But parking in a space that is clearly marked is dumb.

    I don’t blame the people for having people towed. I used to work for a company years ago in Biltmore Village and had to deal with irate people daily because their car had been towed from our lot. I got sick of the sense of entitlement people had. They weren’t spending money in our office, yet they wanted to use something that belonged to our company. That’s basically stealing.

    There are reasons that companies have the tow policy such as vandalism. People would leave their trash in our lot. We had to clean it up in order to have a decent looking business. It didn’t matter that we did not make the mess; it had to be cleaned.

    Do I think the towing fees are too high? Absolutely. But I also think that people should use common sense. If you see a large sign saying not to park there and that towing is enforced, don’t park there. If you do, it’s at your own risk.

  6. travelah

    Vast empty parking lots at night throughout the downtown area are simply a wasted resource. Instead of paying cretins to haul off tourists and locals, perhaps these business’s would better serve the community to pay the same cretins to clean the lots in the morning at a far less cost to everybody.

  7. ncamyamy

    The businesses do not pay the tow companies to tow people away. The tow companies are given permission to do so. Their payment comes from the people that have been towed. Due to the economic aspects, businesses downtown shouldn’t have to pay for cleaning of their lots. They would be losing money. The bars and nightlife of downtown certainly do not give the other businesses a cut of their profits. But maybe that could be a solution. The bars and such of downtown could rent the lots of the other businesses. Then they could also clean them the next day or the business renting out the lots could economically pay someone to clean it if they were making a big enough profit.

  8. travelah

    NCamyamy, the businesses contract the towing companies to patrol their lots. If this mess cannot be addressed by the businesses having people towed, then I think those businesses should be boycotted.

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