West 7th businesses team up for new parking options

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on May 7, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 8 at 7:37 AM

FORT WORTH — A coalition of business owners in Fort Worth's West 7th business district is teaming up to solve a parking problem.

The West 7th Business Association is putting together a plan for valet service to fight the area's reputation for towing and complicated parking rules.

Jordan Johnson, the vice president of the group, said by June, customers will be able to drop their cars at the Pour House and let the valet find a legal parking spot for $5.

"We're encouraging you to leave your car, spend an evening or a day here, then pick it up," Johnson said.

He is looking for a second drop-off location, so customers could potentially leave their car in one area, walk to another, and have their car delivered.

Johnson said vacant lot owners have volunteered their spaces to be used as secure parking lots.

He has also contacted Fort Worth ISD about Farrington Field, which already leases 150 spaces to a computer company. The school district said the talks are preliminary, and it is waiting on a formal proposal.

Pour House manager Eric Tschetter wants more customers in his restaurant — not more warning signs on the doors.

"There's other businesses in the area that do not want people parking in their lot, and I understand that, too," Tschetter said. "I respect that, but it's going to take everybody working together."

West 7th is still making its name as a night spot. It doesn't want to be known as Fort Worth's tow-away zone.

The tow company under contract with Montgomery Plaza says it tows 15 to 20 cars per night. Customers who park in the lot and leave for another business are subject to towing fees than can cost more than $200.

Fort Worth police and state investigators are taking a closer look at illegal towing on West 7th. Some companies were allegedly skipping safety rules in order to tow more cars more quickly.

The West 7th Business Association is aware of the towing reputation, and it believes the valet service could be a short-term solution. A parking garage is not likely to be built in the near future.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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