Saturday, October 13, 2012
The parking lot at 400 Whitehead Street has been a bone of contention forever. The rules for the after business hours use of the lot have changed over the years and confusion has been total. For a while you could park there and then you couldn't and then they said people going to the Tropic Cinema could park in the post office lot and then they decided they couldn't and people got towed. The postmaster said it was a liability issue and that people were blocking access for legitimate after hours post office box users and on it went.
Now it is official with large signs and everything. The chair was empty so I looked around. All I could see was lots of big fat signs encouraging the unwary to park. Hmm....The thing is if you park on private property in Key West the owners can have a contract with a tow company to haul your vehicle away. The tow company calls the police department to make sure the vehicle isn't stolen (they don't want to be in receipt of stolen property) and when we clear it they take it to their yard. The bill is hundreds of dollars. Please don't park in lots that say "Tow Away Zone." if you do and you get towed don't call the police expecting them to pull your chestnuts from the fire of your own making. Use legitmate parking.
I did find the attendant, a young Eastern European fella and I had him explain the rates to me, which he did with a smile after I assured him I was looking for information about car parking and not to park my (wife's) Vespa.
For regular folk it's ten dollars for all day coverage, and for Tropic Cinema members with membership cards it's three dollars. Cool. Guess what, we have Tropic membership and we used the service when we went to see The Master a rather dull take on Scientology. We had a classic Key West moment before the movie started. The manager came into the theater and asked anxiously if we were all there to see The Master. Yes we nodded like rows of bobble toys. A few got up and said no we are here to see... And they got ushered out to their respective screening rooms...Apparently someone gave the volunteer at the box office the wrong list or something got muddled and they caught it just in time. We giggled and enjoyed the moment.
When we finished strolling Duval Street we found the parking lot is being well used.
The parking lot was packed on Columbus Day and I expect it will be packed this winter. Finally this ongoing irritation of a desirable place to park and a massive source of towing anger seems to have been solved, to everyone's satisfaction.
So now we can all frolic on down to the corner of Whitehead and Eaton and find easy parking and not run the risk of getting towed. What a sensible solution all round.