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Towing in Shirlington Village?

by ARLnow.com June 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm 6,867 48 Comments

Sun Gazette Editor Scott McCaffrey wrote on his blog today that he recently witnessed cars being towed and license plates recorded in the Campbell parking garage in Shirlington.

That would be a departure from the lax enforcement system that has been in place for a while. In January we reported that the Harris Teeter — which had just installed parking meters for its reserved spaces in the garage — was not planning on “actively” enforcing its parking rules at the time.

McCaffrey writes that he witnessed parking enforcement monitoring the one-hour-only, non-reserved spaces on the second level of the garage.

  • G

    I’m glad they’re towing. The reason I don’t go to this grocery store is because of the terrible parking situation.

    • ShirliMan

      I used to avoid going during peak weekday evening hours, but I seldom have had a problem parking since the meters were installed. Maybe once I had to go to the second level short term parking, and I’m glad to see they are enforcing the one hour limit on those. I have witnessed people parking in the spots reserved for Harris Teeter who do not go into the store. Sheesh…at least make it look good and walk in the parking garage entrance and go out the door on the other side.

    • D W

      That’s why I don’t go to Shirlington at all, for anything. Last time I went there, I drove for 20 minutes hitting both garages and the parking lot before I found anything.

      Also, towing there is really aggressive everywhere else… I parked in a spot that was no parking until 9pm at 8:55pm, and then saw a tow truck waiting and watching those spots start moving toward it. I barely made it out before the tow got to the spot.

  • Stu Pendus

    Considering this is Arlington, shouldn’t the default article be “Not Towing in [place]?”

  • SaveDaveMcKenna

    I gave up on Shirlington long ago because of the terrible parking. I fear a similar situation at the new Giant on Columbia Pike.

    • G

      Agreed, that’s why I go to the Target and Giant on route 7.

  • CW

    This is how development happens as a place becoms urbanized or rises in social standing. Things change and you have to react to them. In small towns everyone has free parking. In big cities, parking costs a lot. This is just a tiny example.

    I hear all the stories of the longtime Arlingtonians who talk about the good old days when north arlington was just a quiet little middle-class utopia and wonder how interesting, for better or for worse, it must have been to have lived through the transition from 50’s-era suburbanism to what we have now.

    • Rammy

      Oh sweet jebus, CW. Read what you just wrote and go back and reread your mind-boggling rant over the bike races tomorrow in Clarendon. /facepalm

      • CW

        Nice attempt at a straw man you’ve got there. This post referred to my curiosity regarding the progression as an area adapts and evolves over time to a more urbanized existence. Yesterday’s post was about a resident not being informed that he would be needlessly inconvenienced by a bike race that didn’t even go by his residence until said event was very close by.

        Complaining that I wouldn’t be able to use my car all day Saturday and that I wasn’t informed until less than 2 days before was “mind-boggling”? Glad I don’t have your mind.

      • charlie

        rammy, please don’t try to inject logic into this blog and posts. 🙂
        btw, i’ve lived here forever and love it.

    • jjbug

      CW –
      Been here since 1970, Cherrydale, Lyon Village, and in ’95 when my husband encouraged downsizing since kids were gone, he pushed DC while I pushed Clarendon (Lyon Park side). I won and we won! Our bikes had outlets from here; 5 miles to DC: WOD trail to Leesburg or Shirlington: etc. (I’ve moved to walking since ’09)

      Today, I walked out to go to the Court House farmers’ market, but got caught up by the strange blue lights directing traffic away from Clarendon and enjoyed 5 hours of bicycle racing! Where was Arl News! This was absolutely exciting! These were national Pros and local Pros – as well as very small children for the 11:30 use of the run! I saw the women’s race, the kids race and most of the men’s race. I thought you would have the results ready for me on your site. Ha, you are stuck on your communication links and probably do not take your body to the street! Or do you have another explanation?

      There are large numbers of Arlingtonians focussing on improving their bodies to supplement their attachment to automobile, bus or subway support! If you don’t have a bike, a push cart, or nearby food store, I pity you. This is an essential position for any urban residence!

      Hey, Arl. Newa: why were you absent from this fabulous Air Force event? Are you going to be able to appear at tomorrow’s continuation in Crystal City? Put on your big hat, bring a water bottle, and enjoy the energy you see in front of you! Remember, this event requires your County to keep these Clarendon and Crystal Streets perfect – no faults that will catch your car or these bicycle riders! We all win from this race presented on Arlington streets! The grandstand on Clarendon Blvd was greatly educated by multiple speakers. We enjoyed that Miss Virginia was present to award the women winners – and also to woman most challenged by difficulties in this race. The children’s race was in perhaps 3 age groups, but the fact that so many accepted the challenge to try the course is positive hope that children are encouraged to try next steps to become proficient in a certain goal. I spoke to many of these children recognized by the large tag on them, asking if they raced, was it their first race, and congratulating them for being ready to test themselves on a new adventure. I was delighted to find the winner of the 1st fleet of the middle age groups sitting patiently waiting for an interview from the commentators. He handled it very well. I hope Arl News can recover his name as I think he has the support and interest to be a competitor in future years! You need to record his name, and report his comments!
      Please appreciate that after that event, the Ft Myer Honor Guard presented the colors while our US anthem was sung beautifully.
      I’m sorry you stuck to your communication vehicles and did not enjoy this event in Clarendon. Will you try to explore the bicycle races in Crystal City tomorrow and learn from the event that energy and effort are important to human improvement?

      • Take it down a notch

        Um, he was planning to use his car because he had plans to run a race in Georgetown, for a charity IIRC. So, doubtful that he needs lessons in the inportance of energy and effort. But glad you enjoyed the bike race.

      • CW

        That is one of the most amazing rants (posted to what I THINK was the wrong thread, too) I have ever read. But yeah, I rode my bike to gtown, ran the race, rode my bike back, and caught the end of the amateur race, some of the women’s race, and about the first half of the pro race. I did miss the big crash right in front of Hard Times though; but man did I hear it all the way around the block at Pete’s!

  • ShirliMan

    Although I usually walk to the village, if I’m grocery shopping or weather is bad, I drive and park. There always seems to be spaces available in the new (newest, anyway) Randolph Square garage. Or try the WETA garage. Free to all after certain hours and weekends. But do not leave your car in the garage overnight…it will not be there the next morning.


    Of course, if you are grocery shopping, you want to be in the garage by Harris Teeter, so I’m all for enforcement of the one hour time limits there.

    • D W

      Just what every car-only development area needs: a PDF you have to consult (and magically know how to find) before you leave home!

      • Josh

        Car only… there are many a person who lives in Shirlington who doesn’t drive and there are plenty who work and visit Shirlington via bus.

      • ShirliMan

        I’m not sure that no subway equates to “car-only”. And I think it’s great the office parking is available to all during evenings and weekends. I think the garages have the appropriate signage…no magic required. Although I’d agree that most people are not aware of all the parking options in Shirlington.

      • John K.

        It’s close to car-only in Shirlington outside of the workday, it seems. I live on Columbia Pike, usually walk to Shirlington, and I see the foot/mass transit to/from Shirlington is vastly outnumbered by car traffic. I think signage could be a bit better for some of the parking aside from the new garage and the parking lot/garage off Arlington Mill.

        I’m surprised it’s taken so long to enforce parking. There’s revenue to be had!

  • fo’ realz


  • Ginger Harden

    I live in the Shirlington Village Condo (and am a real estate agent) and I overlook the parking garage behind Harris Teeter I will tell you all that there are at least 100 spaces that are NEVER used. Why? Because they are on the uncovered top floor and it is restricted for use ONLY by Delancey Apartment renters. That would be all fine and goof IF they would use them. But since the leasing agent (yesterday) told a client of mine that there was no parking fee…it was FREE…on the 3rd floor, their prospective renters are not going to pay $50 for a space in THEIR designated areas on the top floor. Instead they park where in the shared spaces where PATRONS should be parking. I wish everyone who was towed would send the bill to Delancey Apartments. Need proof? Look at this picture

    • LyonSteve

      Well, if you had the option to have your car protected under a roof, wouldn’t you? In the summer, it will be a lot cooler — and in the winter you won’t have to clean snow.

      People are just playing by the rules, I think.

      Not sure why the leasing agent would tell people that — does that really cause people to decide to rent or not?

      • SVResident

        I am also a resident of SV Condos and can second that those empty spaces are a part of the problem. It’s ridiculous that the landlord lets Delancey get away with letting that top level sit empty when there is a parking problem in Shirlington. It’s been empty since the garage was open 4 years ago.

        The leasing agent tells them that so they will move in. They offer the parking on the top level for $50 to people that want a guaranteed space. But I agree, why would people pay to park in the uncovered parking when they can park in the other spaces below for free.

        Also, the towing is merciless. I’ve witnessed those tow truck drivers driving like maniacs through the garage.

      • ShirliMan

        Covered parking for free vs $50 per month for exposed parking? Who can blame them? However, is overnight parking allowed? If no, then they are not playing by the rules. If yes, maybe it shouldn’t be. Just allow overnight parking in the hotel guest and apt renter spaces. (I made the mistake of leaving my car in the Quincy garage one Sat night after drinking more than I had planned. Walking back Sunday morning to find my car had been towed did not help my hangover at all.)

      • Ginger Harden

        Yes, because the other 2 properties here, Windsor and Io Piazza are upfront and honest about the parking fees, neither said anything like this.

    • Scott

      Arlington should step in and make the Delancey open up those unused spaces. There are some free resident-only marked spaces but most often there are out-of-state plates taking up those resident only spaces. The Delancey should open up all those restricted spaces as free spaces to alleviate the need for parking spaces– but the never will so Arlington should make them do so; or complain to Federal Realty Trust. They own that garage and most all of the Shirlington retail

  • 22205

    I used to LOVE shirlington. still like guapo’s a lot. but parking is a pain there. hate driving round and round in a parking garage or circling the tiny lot behind the old pool hall to find a spot. it’s becoming like clarendon that way. i guess the businesses don’t care.

    • Hyperbole much?

      “i guess the businesses don’t care.” – you’re right. Guapo’s should pitch in and build a parking garage in the fountain. otherwise… they clearly just don’t care!

  • jmk

    why is it news to anyone that if they park somewhere they aren’t supposed to park then their car will be towed…? read the signs and then follow the rules or face the consequences.

  • Bender

    Life goes on in our unfriendly, anti-social urban village paradise.

    • doodly

      When you have a good thing, other people are going to want to have some of it too. It’s one of those things that goes with civilization.

  • Scott

    I’ve lived in the Delancey for a couple years. The parking is a joke in the garage. The Delancey should just open up that restricted paid parking to be free –that only a small few pays for. If that were the case there’d be a lot more spaces for everyone.

    There are some actual free resident-only marked spaces on the fourth level by the hotels spaces. Most days there are half dozen or more out-of-state plates parked in these resident-only spaces.

    • LiLi

      My car is one of those out of state plates you see using those resident only spaces and I lease an apartment in the Delancey! Don’t assume that all of the residents of the Delancey are full time residents of the Commonweath of Virginia. Shirlington is the ideal location for a corporate apartment while commuting to business in DC. There are several of us in the building…

      • I live under the Walter Reed bridge


  • I live under the Walter Reed bridge

    Parking is bad everywhere in Arlington? Why is everyone so surprised that they will be towed if they park at the Harry Teet and then go drink at the Bungalow instead?

    Here is a tip for boozing it up in good ole Shirlytown….as long as you park outside you’re safe, provided you get your car at a reasonable time the next morning. As soon as you park covered, you’re done and will be towed.

    • Scott

      another tip for boozing in Shirlytown… take a cab.

      • I live under the Walter Reed bridge

        Good point, safety first.

  • DaveinSA

    Would someone send this entire string to Chris Zimmerman who was so proud that “his” modifications to the Shrilington development plan some 4-5 years ago, over the objection by Fairlington and Shirlington residents, would insure that there would never be a parking problem ?

  • no one, no where

    Today I drove the loop from Caryle to the library and back. Nine, count ’em, nine onstreet parking violations in that 2 block area. Including an unmarked Police car sporting dual fender mounted traffic cams.

    It is not unusual to see several cars parked at the fountain, more in designated No Parking zones.

    Plus I see the tow trucks, when they too are not parked in the No Parking zones, grabbing cars from all over Shirlington.

    I almost will not go there anymore. The Post Office doesn’t even have an onstreet drive-by letter drop box.

    It is a waste of time and potential grief-inducing experience to try to patronize Shirlington.

    • Hi. Have you tried the Randolph Square Garage by the newest office building? There is always plenty of parking there even on the busiest nights. The entrance is next to the Windsor apartments. A lot of people just don’t know that the Randolph Square Garage is there.

      • Hyperbole much?

        Thank you Googla for injecting some logic into this whine-fest. I have never had as much of a problem parking as these commenters want make it seem.

        I love the guy who said he tried “both” parking lots. So much for American exceptionalism when we’re too stupid to even utilize the available parking offered up to us.

  • SVResident

    Federal Realty has not done a good job directing people to the Randolph Square Garage. It’s only been open a year or so and people just don’t know about it. They don’t know where to enter and that it has a pedestrian walkway exit that comes out by Samuel Beckett’s. It especially would be a great place to direct the Signature Theatre patrons.

    As for the signs in the Campbell garage….Federal Realty changes them all the time making it very confusing for SV Condo residents, Delancey residents and their guests. My guests are constantly worried they are going to get towed b/c they get used to parking in one approved area and then all of a sudden it will change.

    Federal Realty, Delancey and Arlington County need to get that top level of the Campbell garage open. It’s a crime that it sits empty while parking is at a shortage. Federal Realty has done a very poor job at managing the parking situation in all areas of Shirlington and from what I’ve heard they aren’t a very good landlord to the retail tenants. The businesses have the most to lose from the parking situation so not sure why Federal Realty won’t fix it???

    • Allan

      Because Federal Realty doesn’t care about anything other than just getting rent from the businesses. They don’t care who is in there as long as the rent gets paid. And, there is always another restaurant who will come in for a few years and try to make a go of it –

      then there are those like Extra Virgin who stick around for a while, but owe boatloads of money in taxes…probably because their first and biggest expense is the rent and they’re struggling to get that paid….

      • I live under the Walter Reed bridge

        Extra Virgin won’t be around because it has horrible food/service and they don’t pay their taxes.

  • Ginger Harden

    According to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions from the Developer, it says that the County is the owner of the garage, and the developer is the tenant and owner in a “leasehold interest”. So who gets to make decisions?

    This is a vibrant community and it has become a destination for people from the greater metro area. It is only natural that there will be parking issues. I cannot think of any place that has so much to offer and no parking problems. Most places like Old Towne, DC, Clarendon, have very strict, limited parking. But they have paid garages. Maybe that will be the solution. I hope not, but, as long as there are wasted, unused parking spaces it may be the answer.

  • Lacey Forest

    I got to Shirlington all the time (generally weekends and evenings for dinner and movies) and never have a parking issue. We generally use the Quincy Garage, but it’s good to know about the Randolph Square garage.

  • doodly

    I saw towtrucks there last night.

    One thing that sucks about that garage is how damn confusing it is. There are signs directing you to different areas, but then there are exceptions painted on the floor for some spaces.

  • nelliebly

    Arlington held a meeting in Shirlington in March on parking in the neighborhood. Very few people went (I did), which was a shame, as it was very informative.

    For example, after 8PM and on weekends, there are 2,587 public spots available (adding together garage and surface). This is ample parking — if people can find it.

    There are five public garages in Shirlington, not two. They are hard to locate because the signs are not prominent. Once drivers do find the garages, they are still confused, as the signs about when to park and where are unclear and inconsistent. And monitoring has found that people are not likely to go up to higher levels such as the top floor, even when the spaces are empty and open for public use.

    The county is asking for input on all of these issues, and has some in the works (such as prominent, consistent signs and airport-style electro signs that guide people to open spots on higher levels). Garages are the future of parking in Shirlington, so it’s key that they be made better. The county is still accepting comments at [email protected]

  • Dirk

    Why does the County keep renewing contracts with towing companies that receive F grades from the BBB?



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