Update at 9:45 a.m. Aug. 4: This story has been updated to include comment from the general manager of Crockett Row.
It's a well-known fact of urban logistics: The hotter an area gets, the harder it can be to access. That's something visitors to Fort Worth's buzzy Crockett Row -- a recently re-branded section of the city's West 7th cultural district -- are finding out "immediately," Fort Worth Weekly reported this week.
"Immediately" is the language on signs in parking garages within the five-block area along Crockett Street between Foch Street and University Drive. It details how quickly shoppers must visit one of 30 official merchants in order to avoid having their car towed. (Here's a map of Crockett Row, including the five parking garages in question, and parking guidelines from crockettrow.com.)
Crockett Row's official merchants abut older, popular unofficial ones that customers often visit within a single trip. Cocktails at one spot, dessert at another? Not so fast. Multiple customers have reported being towed within minutes of parking, usually because they believed they had to visit an official merchant within the four hour window.
Crockett Row's Facebook page has received dozens of negative reviews since last fall, when the parking issues seemed to increase, according to the Weekly. Property manager Vestar reportedly changed its policies on Oct. 23, replacing free two-hour garage parking with a flat rate of $20 per day.
Another change took place on April 14, requiring an immediate visit to an official merchant for validation to receive four hours free parking, due to increasing parking shortages, Vestar's General Manager Max Holderby told the Weekly. He also said the company has won four out of five court cases initiated by customers whose cars were towed.
Though a lack of street parking is also a concern, most online complaints specify garage parking in particular. Some say policies are ambiguous and others suggest attendants can be duplicitous, even "predatory." Many report having to pay upwards of $300 to retrieve their vehicles, which are sometimes damaged in the towing process.
We've reached out to a representative for Crockett Row for comment and will update as additional information becomes available.
Updated, Aug. 4: Crockett Row General Manager Max Holderby responded to our request via email. He writes:
"Crockett Row is aware of recent concerns regarding the current parking policy. Crockett Row is a 5-block development that was built with privately-owned garages to accommodate Crockett Row customers, tenants, employees, and the apartment residents of the Lofts. Crockett Row has been happy to support the overall West 7th district with parking over the years, but the district's tremendous growth has brought with it significant challenges because many neighboring businesses have opened with limited-to-no parking for their customers. Approximately 3,800 cars pass through Crockett Row's garages on an average night. Crockett Row simply does not have the capacity to provide parking for additional businesses outside the Crockett Row development.
"Parking is an issue for the West 7th district as a whole because there is no city requirement for neighboring businesses to provide parking for their customers, so many businesses have no parking.
"As such, Crockett Row is working closely with the Cultural District Alliance, city officials and neighboring businesses to find a solution that that accommodates all visitors and improves the West 7th district experience as a whole."