PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Kristal Glancy parked her car legally, but when she came back, it was gone.
Glancy: “I thought my car was stolen.”
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “You thought it was stolen.”
Glancy: “I thought someone stole my car.”
But really her car was towed to make way for valet parking by a company called Tri State Valet, which KDKA found has claimed most of Market Square and its side streets for valet parking.
Councilman Daniel Lavalle: “The valet has been parking those cars on the street, sometimes within a half block walking distance
Sheehan: “And people are getting towed out of Market Square.”
Councilman Daniel Lavalle: “And then people are getting towed.”
On Thursday, Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant said the police would conduct performance inspections of all valet parking operations in the city to ensure they are in compliance.
But that’s not all; Tri State is owned by Robert Gigliotti, a close personal friend of former Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper.
Unauthorized parking aside, KDKA found Tri State has monopolized large sections of Downtown Pittsburgh for on-street parking – under six variances issued by the police chief’s office.
In addition to Market Square spots, the chief’s office issued variances for valet parking at Morton’s Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Vallozzi restaurant, the Duquesne Club and the Wyndham Hotel.
In each case, the valets claim long stretches of streets as their own.
While there are variances for other valet parking companies in other parts of the city and only one other downtown, the chief’s office limited those operations to two, three or four spaces for drop-off only. In contrast, Tri State’s variances are for six, eight, or in the case of the Wyndham, 12 spaces.
Chief Bryant said effective immediately all valet operations will be limited to four parking spaces citywide, and Councilman Lavalle said the reforms should go even further.
Establishing procedures, regulations and licensing standards for valet permits, as well as some fees associated with them — right now the city gets nothing.
“I think there has to be some giveback to the public,” said Lavalle.
So, reforms are in the works to eliminate favoritism, to make sure the public is protected and to see that the cash-strapped city gets at least some revenues from valet parking.
KD Investigation: Valet Company Gets Special Treatment From Former Chief Harper? (3/27/13)
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