Parking lots tow non-customers

Some businesses put up signs in their lots to deter unlawful parking.

by Kelly Gulbrandson

Last week, fliers from the Minneapolis Police Department appeared on cars in the Prospect Park neighborhood regarding city parking regulations.

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To find out what to do if your car is towed, go to: impound-lot

The fliers said complaints from residents about illegal parking in the neighborhood had increased, and that residents should be aware of city parking ordinances.

Many University students occupy neighborhoods affected by these ordinances. On and around campus, where space is limited and commercial properties are dense, students might also experience parking problems.

Some campus property owners have had problems with non-customers parking in their lots, and have put up signs informing people that non-customers’ cars will be towed from those lots.

Nancy Rose Pribyl, president of the Stadium Village Commercial Association, said parking availability is an issue for incoming businesses because of the limited space in the area.

“The neighborhood was designed to be more for foot traffic, but with the influx of daily customers and visitors, parking has become more of a problem,” Rose Pribyl said.

Ashley Nordaker, a shift supervisor at Hollywood Video in Dinkytown, said the property’s owner decided to work with a towing company because the store has too many customers parking there to accommodate non-customers.

Rose Pribyl said while students often think there is a financial connection between businesses and the towing companies that service their lots, businesses don’t receive money when cars are towed.

However, being towed from a parking lot could leave a student with a bad impression of a company.

Recent University graduate Nicolas Stephens said because his car was towed from the Hollywood Video parking lot, he hasn’t been back to the store.

“I went inside for 10 minutes to use the ATM and when I came back, my car was gone,” he said.

He said he had to pay $275 to get his car from the impound lot, on top of a $30 ticket.

Stephens said he has also seen attendants watching some business’ parking lots.

While the Stadium Village Commercial Association has considered eliminating parking meters on Washington Avenue to increase traffic flow, Rose Pribyl said doing so would negatively impact businesses.

“People coming to visit people or going to restaurants during (sporting events) would have a hard time finding a place to park and would go elsewhere,” she said.

While the City of Minneapolis’ Web site lists the stipulations of city parking ordinances, University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson said University police can’t tow cars from a business’ parking lot.