Letters to the Editor: October 1 – 7, 2009

Easy to Spot Those Who Park To Use Metro


The editorial in the September 24 issue of the News-Press, “Throw the Book at Predatory Towing” is not totally correct.

I worked for Lighting Maintenance Inc. for 11 years. I repaired the light poles in both East Fall and West Falls shopping centers.

Work started early in the morning to avoid commuters parking in the shopping centers lots. It was easy to spot people exit their vehicles and go toward the Metro and the collage, away from the stores.

Tenants complained about cars parked in the lot all day. It was evident that they were not customers’ cars. Not only do tenants pay rent on store footage they pay rent for the parking spaces.

Parking spaces are for shoppers only. If the lot is filled with subway commuters, car pools, and collage professors, parking free, shoppers and businesses lose.

Mayor Robin Gardner said that customers being towed would not be repeat customers. This is correct, except, it is not customers’ vehicles being towed; it is vehicles belonging to people looking for free parking, to avoid the fees at the lots at the Metro and GMU.

City Council members need to realize, where people cannot park, they will not shop.

A lot full of commuter vehicles hurts business, thus economic environment suffers.

If Giant, CVS, and other business have to close due to lack of volume because of lack of parking, we all suffer. At that point, the lots could be turned into paid parking.

I have lived near Shreve Road since 1948. Along with the surrounding residents, I would surly miss these stores if we had to shop outside the city.

This is not only a Falls Church City issue; it is prevalent in any shopping center with easy access to where there are carpoolers or commuters and employees who must pay for parking in their own lot. They use the nearby shopping center lots.

John Carstater

Falls Church


Why Specify No Farmer’s Market Parking?


Your editorial and front page article covering the problem parking and aggressive towing situation in the City comes none too soon.

I have taken photos of one of the City’s main, recurring commercial events: the farmers market, located on the very grounds of City Hall. It was shocking to me to notice that the lot of 313 Park Ave. not only –as is typical of our area– restricts parking to those using the building, at the risk of towing, but it explicitly decries “No Saturday Market Parking” (along with three other named locations) — imagine that!

This is shocking, for patrons of the farmers market have been depending upon parking at this lot for every Saturday for the past few years, and for every warm-season Saturday for a decade or longer prior to the market running year round. And such parking clearly is condoned by the City, who place a warning marker mid-street to slow traffic and who host the market — no pretending that it somehow goes unnoticed. Without the use of this large lot (I count roughly 90 spaces, excluding the rear row facing the building, from photos), the market would be in big trouble; other nearby lots are likely also guarded by No Parking signs as well; the street, as my photo shows, is parked solidly. So who’s kidding whom?

About a decade ago, as a ride leader for the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, I sought to gain permission to use this well-used lot for parking, so to bring interested cyclists proximate to the market for patronage, along with a nice bike ride around the older, settled areas of N.Va.; but, as I recall, communication with the management firm ran dry — they just never could get back to me, one way or another. I guess this is all of a lawyerly sort of thing: give no permissions, then you can cover your butt re liability. Surely there is little or no actual use of 313 over the weekend, but just such concerns about other uses.

Last year, I was walking to the Post Office past the Pancake house when I came upon Pete’s Towing in action, with the car’s owner angrily protesting; one or two of Falls Church’s “finest” came to bear witness, and I suppose it resulted in some kind of fine or payment for the good tower’s trouble at attaching and then detaching his tow; she also then couldn’t start her car, so had further trouble. The woman had stepped across the street (and had I think earlier been up in the small shopping strip doing business) — gone about seven minutes, she told me

I wonder how those market patrons with baby carriages would fare if they found their vehicle gone, courtesy of Pete’s? Bags of perishables, antsy children, and the towing company holding the vehicle awaiting his fee. Falls Church parking, as the one woman’s bag reads: Trick or Treat?!

Dan Lehman

Falls Church