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Warning: Do Not Park Here Tonight

by Scott Brodbeck August 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm 2,889 15 Comments

Do you want to get your car towed to a spot 50 feet away and get fined $50 for the privilege? Then by all means park in front of this office building in Courthouse overnight tonight.

The reason for the towing may not be a surprise to patrons of Saturday morning’s Courthouse farmers market. But it is a surprise to many people who park in the far southwest corner of the large county parking lot Friday night, not looking for the special farmers market parking notice on either side of the seven otherwise unremarkable metered spaces.

Nothing on the meters indicates that marking is restricted on Saturday. In fact, the meter indicates that parking is enforced from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, when it is in fact reserved for the farmers market from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Want to fight the ticket? Well, you can do that if you can get out of work for the better part of a weekday morning — and if you’re willing to pay $61 in court costs if you lose the appeal.

Do yourself a favor, avoid parking in front of 1400 North Uhle Street tonight.

Disclosure: Yes, this was written from first-hand experience. And yes, I’ve already paid the fine. This post was written in the hopes that others won’t make the same costly error. For the record, there were at least two other cars that suffered the same fate as mine on this particular weekend.


  • ctbeachbm

    The parking spaces for the courthouse business “only” parking are equally as badly signed. I ended up with a $25 ticket when I went to a movie at AMC Courthouse on a weekday. Apparently, there are signs several feet away, but not on the meters themselves.

  • Fat Kid.

    The county can be really annoying about stuff like this. I guess they like to borrow fundraising techniques from the DC gov. Unfortunately w/ the court costs rule it is definitely easier to just shut up and pay in Arlington, regardless of the ticket’s validity.

    Meanwhile, meter maids continue to park in bike lanes, block traffic and create more havoc rather than the semblance of order they’re hired to maintain.

  • VA Square Mike

    Same thing happened to me once – except I was never ticketed. They just relocated my car and forgot about it. I thought my car was stolen for the better part of a Saturday morning. The towing company had no record of my car and neither did the police. I was eventually told by the towing company to just walk around the Courthouse neighborhood to see if my car was “relocated.”

  • Thes

    Arlnow, I think you have a good point about the meters themselves being deceptive, considering that they affirmatively give hours of operation for Saturday. That should be changed.

  • TGEoA

    Quit whining. You parked illegally and the sign wasn’t hidden, even though you attempted to make it appear obscure.

    • JR

      wow – do you work for the county or just the county board???

  • charlie

    does the farmers market reimburse the county for the non-use of those meters and the ones on 14th street. because they have commandeered this street the county has no revenue from these meters. the farmers market used to be elsewhere and didn’t take up a public street.
    and why exactly dont they make the farmers market locate next to that cool hip urban market thing on 15th street.
    never get all that.

    • TGEoA

      The association for the vendors pays a rental fee.

  • Hikin’ the Pike

    ARL:
    You actually have a legit case for the towing part (which you could argue the fee was since overtime in a meter is far less than $50). Virginia law is very clear about when and how vehicles can be towed. The most important part is that they must state, “towing enforced.” The county is NOT exempt from that statute.

    Read the wording yourself at:
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-1231

  • Arlington Officer

    The Saturday morning farmer’s market at that location is a pain even to members of the police department (like me). In addition to using those meter spots mentioned by the author of the article, the farmer’s market takes over the small “police vehicles only” lot on the north side of 14th Street. Heaven forbid a police cruiser or one of our personal vehicles is left behind because then our vehicles will also be “relocated” and we get a reprimand from higher ups. I don’t understand why the market can’t be located in the large meter lot instead of shutting down the street.

    • Thes

      The Farmers’ Market organizers believe that their economic success depends on people being able to park on the surface lot — so they “need” to be in the street in order to make sure the rest of the parking lot is available for… parking. One may ask why people can’t just park in the free underground lot under the movie theater instead (and indeed many do). However, there are so many people who in general complain that there “isn’t any parking” if it’s not surface parking — or even claim parking garages are crime-ridden or unsafe, that I can understand the Market organizers’ concerns. Maybe the police could make a trade with the Market: they get out of the street and the police section of the lot, and in exchange, the police provide free uniformed officers to direct people in and out of the garage and patrol inside to ensure there’s no holdups.

      • TGEoA

        I dint understand why the farmers market doesn’t put up signs letting people know about this free parking. Especially at the entrance I’d the surface lot.

  • charlie

    the farmers market should hire the police. i don’t want my tax money used to assist out-of-town business people.
    why is the movie goers, the urban market attendees, anyone going to courts, county builidng or other during the day can figure out the garage? Is THES suggesting that people who go to the Farmers Market aren’t as smart as other people?
    Plus I thought everyone walked to the Farmers Market? Why does this one non-county-business event set-up to encourage parking? Seems completely contrary to our great urban village and transportation initiatives.
    Maybe Zimmie can do something about it as part of his re-election campaign.

  • fatkidspecial

    If the farmers market is held on public property – why are they so militant about allowing people w/ dogs at the Courthouse one? weak.

  • charlie

    it isn’t the farmers it is our health department. and yes, in europe people take their dogs everywhere, but their dogs are actually well trained and now how to behave. dogs in arlington are poorly trained and their owners even worse.

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