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Fire Lane Complaints? Send in the Tow Trucks

by ARLnow.com December 21, 2010 at 9:21 am 23,858 40 Comments

A large apartment complex on the eastern end of Columbia Pike sent the following email to residents yesterday, in response to complaints from the county.

One building in the complex is prone to false fire alarms, particularly when the power goes out.

Dear Residents,

Recently we have received numerous complaints from Arlington County regarding our residents consistently parking in fire lanes throughout the community. Per your lease agreement parking is not permitted in the fire lanes at the community at any time, for any reason. Any car parked in a fire lane at the community will be towed immediately without any additional warning; this will be considered your only warning.

Loading and unloading can be completed in the loading dock entrance of your building. Any car parked unattended in the circular drive will be removed immediately by A1 towing at your sole risk and expense.

Please feel free to contact the Management Office at [REDACTED] with any questions you may have.

We’re sure they’re not alone in this policy. Just something to think about next time you park next to a yellow curb in Arlington.

  • CrystalMikey

    I don’t see anything wrong with this, fire lanes are there for a reason. In fact, I wish my building would start towing folks. They put out the same warning letters, yet action is never taken.

    • BrownFlipFlops

      Right. People need to be TOLD not to park in fire lanes?

    • LVGuy

      Definitely agree with you on that. BUT there should be some indication that those are fire lanes other than the yellow line. A lot of people, especially visitors, may not see or may not know what the yellow lines mean so they might just park there for five minutes as they unload/load something. A simple sign should suffice I would guess.

      On that note, thanks arlnow for teaching me that the yellow curbs = fire lane.

      • A yellow curb is not necessarily a fire lane, but it does mean “no parking.”

        • NorthAdams

          So if I paint the curb in front of my real estate does that mean no parking?

          There are places in the County were people illegally paint the curb so that their delivery vehicles can park there.

          ALL Fire Lanes are painted AND SIGNED with County-owned signs — look on the back for a registration.

      • Jason S

        Everywhere I’ve been in the US, yellow curbs mark no-parking areas.

    • NPGMBR

      Same at my building. Just like mortgages or just about anything else, people don’t read leases. And even if they do they still do what they want to do because many are just lazy. But then get pissed-off at management if they get towed.

  • MrStevens

    I don’t see any no parking signs.

    • DT

      Virginia law only requires a painted yellow curb to denote a no parking zone.

      • Frank

        It’s not a public street – looks like a private driveway to me.

  • Smokey The Bear

    I’ve been into a few WalMart stores in the burbs where it is common practice by lazy folk to plant their SUV in the fire lane while their spouse is inside shopping. I can’t believe people are so damn lazy that they can’t push their cart to their vehicle and take the cart to a cart corral. I wish a cop would come up and ticket them right as they sit there. The fire lane is there for a reason. I end up pushing my cart inches from their tank making them scratch nervous as I walk to the far reaches of the parking lot to avoid these inconsiderates.

    • david

      Wow, it doesn’t take much to upset you does it?

      • Thunderdome

        You are one of the lazy folk it seems!

      • Carmen

        That kind of laziness (along with most other kinds) is annoying.

    • rft

      Fire lanes are no parking, but they aren’t a no standing zone.

      Who cares if a car is standing in a fire lane? If there is an emergency, they’ll be able to move it immediately, unlike when a car is parked in a fire lane.

      Maybe you should worry a little less about what other people do.

      • Greg

        Yeah. WTF. Who cares if the guy is sitting in his car while his wife runs into the store. He can move the car if a fire truck shows up.

        • mehoo

          rtf and Greg have been shopping at WalMart in their SUVs while their spouses park in fire lanes recently, haven’t you? Just admit it.

          • Greg

            Ha! Babies R Us with the Prius, but yeah…. Guilty.

        • FatWallyWorldShopper

          that’s a fine idea, until the driver runs out and leaves there 8 year old son in the front seat to babysit the car! How in the hell is Junior legally capable of moving the car?

          • Westover

            When and where does this happen?

      • NorthAdams

        Well given how completely incapable people are of getting out of the way of firing trucks and ambulances while they are driving and their cars are in gear, I just don’t agree that the lazy slobs are going to get out of the way while parked in the fire lane at a store.
        I advocate towing all cars in fire lanes. tow first, ask questions later.

        • Andrew

          Maybe their wives are handicapped or pregnant or hurt their leg running? How does parking in the fire lane in front of a store for 5-10 minutes make someone a slob?

        • AllenB

          Why are most of your posts just so full of anger? Expecting coal in your stocking this Xmas?

          • NorthAdams

            Me? ha. you don’t know angry. I’m on a 12-step program right now. Are you saying it isn’t working??? what???

    • Chad

      Well your first problem is you are shopping at WalMart.

      • Thunderdome

        True dat! But, i do see this all over. Walking is healthy people!

    • FatWallyWorldShopper

      is that any surprise to you? Look at how damn fat and out of shape Walmart shoppers are! http://www.peopleofwalmart.com

  • Tim

    (I assume the building you’re referring to is the one in the photo.)

    I used to live on Columbia Pike, and there were ALWAYS cars parked there. For some reason, it seems to be a bigger problem there than at most other buildings.

    In all fairness, though, maybe the building should put signs at the entrance to the fire lane, just in case.

    Oh, look, two cars there on Google Street View: http://goo.gl/f4t9l

  • Stew Magnuson

    Why is this news?
    Slow news week, I guess.

    • Stew,
      Not everything we write about is “news.” That said, it is a very slow news week.

      • Stew Magnuson

        Point taken! Could be worse. We could have had a blizzard right before the holiday like last year. I’ll take a slow news week.

  • Teyo

    The problem is that some of the leasing agents will park their cars in the fire lane, especially in front of the north building where the leasing office is. When you see the leasing agent parking her car there and when you hear her tell you that it’s OK for you to do it too, it seems odd that they would now tell everyone not to park there anymore. However, the management and leasing office at the Wellington don’t always seem to be on the same page.

  • Meredith

    I actually live in this complex. You’d be surprised the number of people who park in the fire lanes/on the yellow curbs. It’s gotten to the point where I haven’t been able to back my car out of the parking spot because people will park on the obviously-painted-yellow-for-a-reason curbs directly behind it. It’s really frustrating. Although, I have been known to *briefly* park in the front circle if I have a huge load of groceries I have to carry up, and I don’t see a problem with being parked there for a few minutes for that purpose (the loading dock is 4 floors down and on the opposite side of the building from my room). Anyway, I’m glad they finally told everybody that – maybe it’ll make parking/backing out of spots at our complex easier!

    • NomNom

      I too live in this complex and this is the second e-mail I have received in two years. There are a number of issues that give reason to this post and notice by ArCo. Parking in the circle is bad, but there is also no parking in the back lot after 11 pm. Residents are forced to park at an annex behind the dog park that has limited space or at yellow curbs that define ways. Fortunately I have a reserved spot for which I pay $80/per month; even with my reserved spot, I too am known to “briefly” park my car in the circle. I believe it is important to note that the management has issued too many parking permits for parking spots and because of it those of use who “briefly” park in the circle are scapegoats.

  • the wellington

    hey its the wellington apartment on columbia pike

  • I used to live in the Avalon at Ballston. It had a tow-immediately “fire lane” circle out front, guest-only parking on the side, or pay-only resident parking in the garage – no unloading zone at all & the closest free parking was a 10 minute walk away.

    The set up was clearly designed to make residents who chose not to pay for parking regret that decision. Even unloading groceries became a harrowing choice of leaving your car in the tow circle while you ran upstairs, leaving your groceries on the curb while you took 10 minutes to go park, or lugging your groceries half a mile down the street.

  • mark

    The property is potentially liable for deaths resulting from the inability of fire trucks to respond if they are negligent in their enforcement of fire lanes. Anyone who has a license is supposed to know you do not cross a yellow line on the highway, no signs on the highway inform you of this, you are supposed to know. The same applies to yellow curbs, if you have license you should know you can’t park at yellow curbs. It’s common sense. If you don’t know this you shouldn’t have a license.

  • douglas

    Is it ok for me to rob a bank if there is no sign posted on the front
    door. Duh…


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