Some getting the ‘boot’ at City Market parking lots
September 19, 2012
CARBONDALE – Some motorists who have parked their cars for more than two hours in shopping centers in Carbondale and El Jebel have been surprised to find their cars “booted” when they returned to the lot.
And they have been even more surprised by the $200 fee needed to remove the boot, a mechanical immobilization device clamped onto the front wheel.
The booting policy is in effect at the Orchard Plaza shopping center in El Jebel and the Carbondale Square shopping center in Carbondale. Both shopping centers have City Markets as their anchor stores.
Carbondale resident Annie Bickley said her car was booted in the El Jebel parking lot Sept. 9 after she parked it there to go on a dayhike with friends.
“Apparently there are signs posted … but they can’t be very noticeable as I have not seen them,” she wrote.
Red and white warning signs have been posted at the entry points to the two parking lots warning shoppers and others of the two-hour parking limit.
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In her letter, Bickley threatened to boycott the City Market and other stores in the El Jebel shopping center.
“Some people are very angry, and the next person is understanding and accepts it,” said Thomas Albright, owner of TnA Booting LLC.
The company patrols parking lots, marking car tires with chalk and, if the car is still in place after the designated time has expired, applies the boot.
TnA Booting, which Albright started last year, has a contract to monitor parking at the Carbondale Square and Orchard Plaza. The parking enforcement began in January in El Jebel, and two to three weeks ago in Carbondale, Albright said.
Albright said he is in talks with City Market officials about providing the same service for the Glenwood Springs City Market parking lot.
“There’s a contract in the works,” he said, “but nobody’s signed it yet.”
Albright, a Glenwood Springs native and former general contractor, said he started the booting business in late 2011, but didn’t have any clients until January.
He currently has five accounts in the valley, three commercial contracts and two with apartment complexes, he said.
He explained that his customers do not pay him, nor does he pay any of the boot removal fee to the shopping center owners. He also charges an added $50 to de-boot a car after 6 p.m.
“A lot of people don’t understand. It’s a private lot, and the businesses there need that parking,” Albright said.
That sentiment was seconded by Neill Taylor, whose property management company, Four Hands LLC, is the agent for Carbondale Square and signed the contract with TnA Booting.
“I don’t do this for me,” Taylor said. “I do it for my retailers.”
The manager at the El Jebel City Market, Kevin Braklow, declined to comment on the booting policy, referring a reporter to the King Soopers/Kroger corporate office in Denver.
A community relations specialist at the corporate office, Kelli McGannon, did not return a call requesting comment.