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Shirlington Harris Teeter Gets Parking Meters

by ARLnow.com January 13, 2011 at 10:18 am 5,511 40 Comments

The Harris Teeter in Shirlington is adding meters to its reserved parking spaces.

The spaces, located on the ground floor of an adjacent parking garage, are often full, leading to complaints to Harris Teeter management. Even though the spaces are reserved for grocery customers and limited to one hour, an employee tells us that drivers often flout the rules by parking in the spaces and heading to other stores.

The new meters are expected to “go live” on Saturday. Much like the meters at the Harris Teeter in Pentagon City, the Shirlington meters will have a button that will give drivers an hour of free parking. Coins will not be accepted.

Currently, the Shirlington Harris Teeter does not actively enforce its parking rules. We’re told that at least at first, the time limits on the meters will likely not be enforced, either. However, that could eventually change depending on how effective the meters are as a deterrent.

A number of people have emailed us with questions about the meters.

“If you haven’t reported it, I hope you’ll consider doing so,” one reader said. “Your readers who patronize Shirlington Village will want to be informed that parking there is about to become more costly and less convenient.”

Alas, the meters will be free and the parking rules will remain the same, at least according to people who work at the store.

  • Jason S

    If people had manners, this wouldn’t be necessary, would it?

    • NPGMBR

      Clearely they don’t. Thats one of my favorite HT’s but I often go to the Ballston store because this one always has parking issues. I was a bit miffed to see the meters when I went there last weekend but now I understand why they’re there so its cool.

  • LB

    Amen. The signs in the parking garage are a joke. I like how all the library spots are taken 2 minutes after the libary opens and when there are 5 people milling around in the library.

    I would happily pay 25 cents to not have to spend 10 minutes driving around looking for parking so I can run into the library for 2 minutes.

    When demand exceeds supply, charge for parking. If it is minimal, people will pay it. Stores can validate if they think it will affect their business.

    • david

      But won’t these meters continue to be unenforced and also free?

      “Alas, the meters will be free and the parking rules will remain the same, at least according to people who work at the store.”

      • Zoning Victim

        They made it pretty clear that they will start enforcing it if people keep breaking the rules. Unfortunately, I expect they will have to start towing.

  • Newt

    About time!

  • As someone who used to live in Fairlington and used the Shirlington HT as her neighborhood grocery store… let me tell you that parking there was already impossibly inconvenient. If this increases churn in the grocery store’s reserved spots, for the grocery store’s customers, then I’m all for it.

  • alebt

    I shop there is some regularity and am fine with the meters. My larger concern in that parking lot is that the walkway between the store and the library is dangerous. The walkway paint has faded; drivers go too fast into the parking area; and,the way it is lit in addition to the large cement posts make it hard to see pedestrians crossing over to the elevator. Whoever owns the parking lot, at a minimum should re-paint the crosswalk with bright neon paint to help the situation. (My two cents….which apparently won’t work in the meters. 🙂

  • Chris

    I don’t know how these things work. I have always parked at the upper levels of Shirlington. But if it really is a push a button and you get an hour of parking for free, I hope they have these at the new Trader Joe’s coming to Clarendon. It will be a nightmare otherwise.

    • mehoo

      You parked in the upper levels? Because you respected the reserved parking for HT shoppers signs? You’re a rare breed.

      • Chris

        Somewhat contradictory to my admission yesterday about street parking, I do try to obey parking/street/garage signs when I notice them. To Shirlington’s credit, it is hard not to notice the signs in that garage.

  • el fat kid

    was wondering about these. saw the free 1hr parking with a 1hr limit but didn’t understand why they would still have coin slots. didn’t catch the button but hopefully they put up some explanatory signs (for those not enlightened by ARLNow) or it’ll just add to the problem.

    Rarely have a problem at this HT unless you go right at peak times or before a storm. The Pentagon city one is unusable if you’re in a car. absolute shit show.

    • OX4

      Re. Pentagon City HT, I enter the garage from Army-Navy and have never had a problem finding a spot. It’s the above-ground parking lot that’s a disaster.

    • Elizabeth

      HT in Pentagon City validates the tickets for the parking garage below. It’s 100% covered for an hour. So if you need to go to Hallmark and get milk it’s free. Also, the garage parking is never crowded.

    • Laura

      I agree w/ OX4 & Elizabeth. The parking garage is fine and it’s validated for under an hr. I get into trouble, though, when I need to shop at the Teeter & Bed Bath & Beyond, b/c that never takes less than an hr and you can’t double validate, even if you buy from 2 stores.

  • Set the controls

    “The Harris Teeter in Shirlington is adding meters to its reserved parking spaces.”

    Isn’t this a county-owned garage (I’m asking)? If so what is Harris Teeter doing 1. appropriating spaces for its patrons, 2. installing parking meters in a publicly-owned garage?

    With all the “mixed-use” development in the county one would think these are questions that would have been answered a long time ago. And while manners are appreciated and encouraged, there will always be the ill-mannered, and don’t you think it silly to expect one to move one’s car from a Harris Teeter spot to a library spot after shopping?

    • mehoo

      I doubt it’s a county-owned garage, but I don’t know either.

      • Q

        It’s not county owned.

  • Sam

    What about the people that park in the library spots but go into Harris Teeter? I bet the Harris Teeter management aren’t complaining about that.

    What they should do is offer free parking but in the form of parking validation or something. Put $1.00 into the meter, get a barcoded receipt. Take the receipt into Harris Teeter and it is treated like a coupon and takes $1.00 off your order. If you don’t go to Harris Teeter, you lost the $1.00. If you do go, you basically get it back.

    • NPGMBR

      I like your solution!

  • Laura

    I was a little irked at first to see the meters, but I agree w/ the others that this parking garage is out of control, so I understand that something needs to be done. I always try to shop there at off peak hours, otherwise it’s madness.

    What I don’t get is why not just put in gates like in Pentagon City? The monthly pass holders upstairs could have a fob, and other people could pay $1 or get a validation. I guess validation might be an issue for library customers, though, especially if the library had to cover those costs. It just seems kind of pointless to have meters that you can push the button on for an hr as a deterrent. Who’s to say the same people who are using the spots and then going to Busboys, etc, won’t continue to do so after pushing a button?

  • G

    I’ve been using peapod for the bulk of my grocery shopping. It’s pretty awesome having it all delivered and I can do about $100+ worth of shopping in less then 3 minutes on my cell phone and have it delivered the following evening. I’ve yet to pay for delivery because there are always promotions. I go to Harris Teeter in Ballston (where I work) and Shirlington (where I live) when I need things in between my larger peapod orders.

  • Jared

    I don’t know how they should enforce parking there. The whole point of putting multiple shops in one location is that you can park once and then shop at all of them. Sometimes I park in the library spot (but only when I’m actually going to the library), then after I’ve checked in my books or gotten new ones, I go to Teeter. Am I supposed to move my car before going into the store?

    • Harry Teets

      What you say may make sense to you but the idea is that people who need to do a quick in/out get priority to do so. If anything, if you’re going to spend 2 minutes in the library and 30 in the grocery store, you should park in the grocery spots because there are more of those. But how would anyone know that you’re only going to be 2 minutes in the library if you go inside it? Or that you’re not going through the library to get to the cupcake shop on the other side and then to buy tickets at Signature? And what about the 20 other people who really just need to swing into a space so they can run to the drop box of the library?

      Those who want to go anywhere but the library or grocery store or stay for more than an hour in each have a free, simple solution: park upstairs.

      I think the owners are just putting a mechanism in place to eventually have a tow contract to take care of the egregious offenders. It’s easy enough to mark a tire and then come back later to see if the same car is parked in the same place, regardless of whether or not they pushed a button. When I see someone pull into a grocery spot and head somewhere beside the grocery store, I always tell them that they’ll be towed before they get back. Most of the time they’ll move but those who do it all the time (usually they’re restaurant patrons) laugh it off with a “yeah, right.”

      • ESlater

        Harry Teets sez: “What you say may make sense to you but the idea is that people who need to do a quick in/out get priority to do so…”

        I disagree. People should be encouraged to run multiple errands and do the least amount of driving. I think that people visiting more than one establishment should get priority. If you’re shopping today and checking out a book tomorrow, you should be encouraged to get them both done the same trip.

  • eat at joes

    I think everyone should give up shopping at HT and just order online from peapod. then make sure to send some groceries to my house as well.

  • Bender

    Why are people even driving there with their evil carbon spewing cars? They should be taking public transit!

    So what if waiting for the bus and lugging a dozen bags on the bus is incredibly inconvenient, we all have to do our part in our glorious urban village.

  • M

    Hopefully they fixed the issue with the buttons on these meters. Last week you couldnt reset the time to an hour if there was time remaining. If you pulled into a metered spot with only 10 minutes left, you either needed to sit there for until it hit zero and press to get the full hour, or run the risk of getting a ticket if you were in HT for more than 10 minutes. Seemed silly.

  • ESlater

    I don’t understand that garage at all. So many spaces “reserved” for so many different stores, and all painted black on the gray floor so it’s difficult to read from your car. I don’t get why they don’t just make the whole garage “first come first served” and, if there’s more demand than supply, charge for the parking. Even $1 like Ballston would make an improvement.

    BTW, anyone know of other establishments that aren’t checking their parking (like HT)? The movie employees, the hotel, etc.?

  • Jim

    The Village at Shirlington says you will be issued a citation if you exceed the parking time. However, if this is a private parking low (i.e., not Arlington owned) how can Arlington issue a ticket? Maybe Shirlington can tow you, but not issue a ticket.

    • Sam

      Shirlington can have Arlington County issue citations. They would probably treat it as trespassing. If you go into a store and they ask you to leave and you refuse, they can call the police to issue a trespassing citation. The lot would probably be treated in a similar way.

  • GeorgeOrwell

    another one of those examples were manipulative people are micro managing your life and you don’t know about it.
    The County dictates how this parking is used. And how about that big pole sitting in the middle of the entrance to the garage behind Signature.
    Again, something done by the County to micromanage your life.
    good luck finding the details on how the parking is handled:

    • Give me a break. That parking spaces are for VIC Customers only. Have a little consideration for people who are carrying groceries to their cars.

  • Jane Render

    Harris Teeters is doing more than just putting meters up – they are now enforcing a ZERO tolerance policy. I have been a loyal Harris Teeters shopper at Pentagon City since it opened in 2001. Today, I stopped off to pick up some things – I was in the store less than 20 minutes and the parking lot was almost empty – it was 11:30 am. When I returned, there was a “ticket” on my car with information from a collection agent telling me that I owed $15 for parking. Apparently when I hit the button on the meter, I didn’t hit it hard enough and the parking enforcer was laying in wait watching for people like me who failed to properly activate the button – keep in mind that one hour free parking is advertised on the meter and it does not state that you are required to clear the meter. I complained – loudly – to the Harris Teeter management and got nowhere. They just kept telling me that the parking lot wasn’t their problem – that I needed to speak with Colonial Parking. I called and disputed the ticket and told them that I would NEVER pay it under any circumstances.

    WATCH for this gotcha game! And if you have any sense, do what I am doing from now on and do your shopping at Giant or Safeway or even Trader Joes where the PARKING IS PLENTIFUL AND FREE!!!!!

    • Jane, Just looking for a follow up. What happens if you don’t pay colonial parking? The same exact thing happened to me and I refuse to pay it. But… if it turns out to be a big deal, it might not be worth it.

      Let me know,

      Thanks! Brian.

      • Cleo

        Brian — did Jane ever respond? I’m in the same situation. Did you pay the ticket? What happens if I don’t pay Colonial? Can they have my car towed the next time I park at Pentagon City HT? Issue me another ticket?

        Pls. let me know.

        Thanks — Cleo

  • WheelChair driver

    This grocery shopper (fanatic foodie – must hand pick) cannot make my way to the door after navigating roadway due to blocked sidewalk and then finding door is blocked by car “just loading groceries”. I have avoided traffic for up to 20 minutes in an unsafe and hostile environment so I don’t “inconvenience” other drivers. — And never so much as “excuse me” or “I’m sorry”. I say let them be fined and towed!

  • doodly

    Recent story in the Post about how suburbanites freak out when you take away their free, open parking. Aaaaaah!


  • Vera

    Apparently the condition of parking for 1 hour free is pushing the button on the meter NOT shopping at HT. I came out of HT after maybe 20 minutes to find someone giving me a $15 ticket. After arguing with him – groceries in hand – that I had indeed satisfied the requirements posted on the meter of shopping at HT for 1 hr free parking, he informed me that because I didn’t press the button, I would get a ticket. I made the mistake of only reading the very large print about 1hr free for shoppers and did not read the small print in the corner about having to push a button. Of course, anyone who does read this, regardless of where they plan to shop or eat, can have an hour free parking. Colonial Parking is falsely specifying the terms of their 1 hr free condition. I satified the stated conditions and still got a ticket. What a scam.

    On a side note – if HT wants to solve their parking problem, I suggest they put an enterance to their store on the second floor.

  • Tabs

    How can a company like Colonial Parking issue parking “tickets”?


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