The Council's Considering Upping Towing Fees -- But Valet Parking Proposal Stalls, For Now.

The

Dallas

City Council will

consider

raising

the

fee

drivers pay to

reclaim

towed cars

in November,

but

a proposal to

revise and update

valet parking regulations remains on the back burner. More about that after the jump.

But following a

rate increase approved in February for emergency wreckers,

the council's Transportation and Environment Committee yesterday told the

Public Works and Transportation

department that, yeah, they're fine with increasing the

private-property

tow rate

for standard passenger vehicles

by

27 percent.

(Here's the briefing for a recap of the recommendations and the reasons for 'em.) If green-lighted,

the fine

will be

upped from

$95 to $121. Still, council members insist, the

anticipated

fee

is

lower than tow rates in other

major

Texas cities, including Fort Worth.

Linda Koop, who says most of the tows in her district are vehicles left behind by drug dealers

at apartment complexes, says she wants the rate increase to edge out

predatory towers

who tack on

extra

fees

and

practice

other

unsavory

towing

tactics. For

any "bad towers"

skulking around City Hall,

Koop

made her point clear:

"For those of you in the audience, you know who you are," she said. "We're not going to tolerate it anymore."

A task force

briefing on valet parking codes, which we touched on yesterday,

promoted paid valet as a time-saver and more "efficient" use of parking spaces. The

briefing also

reinforced that free

parking

required by the city

is bad,

because

it encourages vehicle-dominated transportation and "subsidizes" auto usage.

When PWT Associate Director John Brunk suggested paid parking would encourage carpooling, council woman Angela Hunt said until Dallas becomes a more "walkable" community, that's a pipe dream.

Both Hunt, whose district contains 70 percent of valet services in Dallas -- and council member Carolyn Davis dislike the idea of companies using free parking spaces for paid valet near adjacent residential areas. Streets clogged by drivers avoiding valet and paid parking could cause problems that existed on Lower Greenville for years .

"I don't want these folks being pushed into my neighborhoods," said Hunt.

Expect a public meeting on the subject sometime within the next few months.


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