Virtually every parking lot within two blocks of the Washington Center warns that “unauthorized cars will be towed, 24-7.” Almost none of those lots gives an option for paying to park in the evening. Despite the warnings, many people spending an evening downtown park in a private lot rather than search for on-street parking that may be blocks away from their destination. But that informal system doesn’t always work. We enjoyed a delightful dinner and the Celtic Christmas concert at the center recently, then returned to a lot near the center to find out our car was towed. At least two other couples were in the same boat. The cost of retrieving our car that evening? Over $350. Merry Christmas. Granted, we ignored the warning sign, as we have done before. A few lots have the solution: they allow evening parking for a small fee. But most lots don’t this option, leaving evening parkers to wonder if this is a tolerant lot or a towing lot.
The metaphorical “welcome to downtown in the evening” sign would shine brighter if those businesses and organizations that want people to come downtown in the evening would persuade more parking lot owners to add an evening pay booth.
Bill and Katie Collins