12 On Your Side: Shockoe Bottom parking questions

A viewer asked for clarity to confusing parking issues in Shockoe Bottom.

Keila wants clarity about parking lots and parking attendants, after a couple incidents in Shockoe Bottom got her questioning how to identify a legitimate parking attendant and who sets parking prices.

Basically, there are two parking options in the bottom: street parking — where you feed the meter to park — and parking lots. Some with honor boxes.

Keila asked — if there are honor boxes, why is she putting five bucks in someone's hand?

"It kind of makes me curious why an attendant would come stand in that parking lot to take money."

The incident that inspired Keila's email happened at night at a lot near Havana 59. She pulled into a numbered space and was searching for the matching honor box.

"Shortly after that, a gentleman came running from down the street from the Farmer's Market area to come over and ask for $5."

Keila wants to know how legitimate attendants can be identified.

"He was dressed in regular street clothes, like you and I would be. So, it kind of made me suspicious as to who he was. All he could produce for me was parking tickets that I could put on my dash board but nothing stating that he works for the City of Richmond."

Another nighttime incident at a parking lot adjacent to Have a Nice Day Cafe got her thinking — what dictates parking prices?

"The price was almost double what I typically pay."

First, the false assumption that the city owns those lots. Main and 18th, and the fenced lot near Have a Nice Day Cafe, are privately owned.

Both are managed by Richmond Parking. The company answers the question about attendants and honor lots by saying:

"Everybody is not honest. Weekend nights are busy. Parking attendants are there for security reasons. Most wear Richmond parking uniforms, but all have tickets for the driver's dashboard with a receipt. Customers choose whether to leave cash in an honor box or with an attendant."

On parking prices, at the lot adjacent to Have a Nice Day Cafe, Richmond Parking sets the rate and said, "It's always been $10. The parking lot was a crime area and sometimes the crowd changes the rate."

A man was shot dead in the parking lot one weekend, last October.

"Parking meters are suspended on the weekends, does the same thing go for honor lots as well? So, just having some clarification on that would be helpful."

No. Parking meters are controlled by the City of Richmond. The city does not set rates on private lots which are towing enforced. If you park without paying, they can tow your car.

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