PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They parked legally in Market Square, but got towed away to make way for valet parking.
“I thought my car was stolen,” one woman said.
Brett Weinheimer’s car was still there, but he had a $96 citation on his windshield.
“I walked over to the valets and said, ‘are you guy responsible for this?’” he said. “They said yeah, you’re lucky we didn’t have your car towed.”
Like the others, Weinheimer says there was no warning that the spaces were being reserved for the Tri-State Valet company.
“I said there weren’t any signs posted,” he said. “They said, ‘we just posted them … we own both of these curbs.’”
Incensed — Weinheimer took his video camera to Market Square the next day to prove the injustice.
“It’s 4:34 and they’re posting these signs,” he says as he’s recording. “Then they’re going to call police to ticket these cars. The people have absolutely no warning that this is going on.”
“No Parking” signs need to be posted 24 hours in advance, but Weinheimer proved that these weren’t.
“You guys post them about the same time every day? 4:15 OR 4:30?” he asks a valet in the video.
“Yeah,” the valet replied.
Since we aired our stories, Tri-State has been put on notice by their employers, the Market Square Merchants, and the city has reduced the number of spaces they can use for valet.
The towing has stopped and traffic court magistrates have begun tossing some tickets. But Weinheimer — who owns Jimmy John’s Subs on Liberty Avenue — says the damage has been done.
“How many people who came downtown to support our business have been ticketed or towed?” he asked. “And now won’t come back to support the businesses.”
Tri-State says they’ve reined in their valets, but rejected this suggestion made by Weinheimer.
“That valet service should be reimbursing people who had their cars towed,” he said.