a $5 pedestrian fee to tailgate for a browns game? gimmie a break.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

network parking... where should i begin?

i've publicly slammed network parking and their practices on this blog on more than one occasion, culminating with a 7 item list of incidents that occurred during my tenure of parking in their crittenden court lot.

but what happened this past sunday officially tops the cake.

my friends and i have been tailgating for browns home games in "the pit", a lot owned and managed by network parking, for years.

so as i headed to the pit to tailgate for the browns/bengals this past sunday morning i was beyond surprised to see that there was a network parking attendant collecting a "$5 pedestrian fee" from tailgaters to hangout in their parking lot.

essentially a $5 cover charge to walk through a parking lot - a slab of concrete.

when i was asked to pay the fee, i laughed, said no way, and walked away. but i didn't get far... the attendant called a couple of cops over because there was a group of about 15 people (including my friend and i) refusing to pay.

it's not the $5, it's the principle.
you simply can't start charging a "pedestrian fee" the second home game of the browns season - isn't the $30 a spot enough to make a profit, network parking?

people weren't prepared to pay the fee to cross through the popular tailgating lot. i personally didn't have any cash on me, and upon telling the attendant that he simply shrugged, refusing my entry. i ended up having to have my friend kayla pay.

when you go to a club to see a band, you expect to pay a cover. when you park your car in a parking lot, you expect to pay to do so. but when you want to go tailgate before a football game with your friends (who did pay for a spot) you don't expect to have to pay $5 to walk.

it's ridiculous and a racket.

so when i tweeted and facebook updated the new situation in the pit i wasn't surprised with the reaction i got.

so far today i did an interview with 19 action news, went on air on Q104 with tim richards and got mentioned during WMMS's alan cox show.

it's nice to know that i'm not the only person out there who thinks the $5 cover charge is a joke.

here's my spot on 19 action news.... gratuitous shot of me walking/strutting included, fyi.

watch the video here.

love it.

when approached by 19 action news network parking supplied the following statement:

"The Pit is one of the premier Browns' tailgating parking lots in the City. Network Parking welcomes all tailgaters and all pedestrian visitors attending tailgate parties. In an effort to continue serving our pedestrian visitors attending tailgate parties, we wish to address some of the additional expenses and current liability issues related to tailgating cleanup and crowd control, such as off duty Cleveland Police officers, porta-johns, large dumpsters, clean up equipment and clean up personnel. By implementing these required additional services and addressing the added costs associated with them will only make for a better environment and allow us to continue serving our valued tailgating patrons through the Brown' remaining football season."

blah, blah, blah.

take note they don't mention the actual "
pedestrian fee" once - crooks i tell ya.

honestly, i don't know what i'm going to do this sunday to tailgate. i love the pit, it's where i go, it's where my friends go, but i just don't think it's right what network parking is doing and from their statement it looks like they aren't planning on stopping the fee.

so who knows.

i'm not about to start a pit boycott, but i just wanted to make sure i shared with you all what they are doing.

so what do you think? are they right? are they wrong?
would you pay $5 to walk through a parking lot?


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  1. I actually heard on the radio this morning that Network Parking didn't even have the permit to be able to charge people!

  2. I can not believe this new fee. We were just as surprised when they raised the parking amount this year, but this? Come on. I haven't been down yet this year, but we're headed to the The Pit on Sunday. It's our favorite lot! So we won't stay away, but this is totally ridiculous. If you do end up going, let me know. :)

  3. Their mistake was charging Matt Zone....Cleveland has enough problems... Parking is one....

  4. It was pretty exciting hearing you mentioned on the radio yesterday!

    I wont even pay $10 to park for an indians game...and they are a good team!

    I wonder how they are enforcing that pedestrian fee.
    Is this place gated with barb ware or something?

    I think its a rackett, but if it were something I were accustomed to doing already, I'd probably pay. Thats why they do it, they know people will pay! just like our smoking tax. that paid for that stadium we cant smoke in.

  5. I was there, too. I happened to not be charged. I walked down around 10am..all my friends after that were charged. Was this an idea these brilliant parking attendants came up with on their own mid-morning?! Hoping this was the first and last time they are charging pedestrians.

  6. We have tailgated on the hill of the pit for years. We were at the top of the hill this past Sunday, so we got to witness the whole thing unfold. It was the MOST asinine thing I've ever seen.

    After a while, the cops that were standing there came over and talked to us. They thought it was a joke as well, but what could they do. They were hired (off duty) by Network Parking and it was their job to be there.

    We got there just after 9a and they were not enforcing it. Around 10a, they stationed a couple of people at the top of the hill along with the officers. They probably collected from about 60% of the people that were walking through. The others either kept walking or talked their way out of it (not sure how.)

    Our friend, who takes the train downtown, got dinged for it....after we paid $60 for two spots. 2 mini-vans that only held 5 people total, so it wasn't like we were having a party for 100 of our closest friends!

    My husband called Network when we got home and talked to someone about it for a long time. I'm glad there is more noise being made about it. We'd hate to move our spot since its been our home since the Browns came back to town (we've been season ticket holders for a long time), but it is just a racket.

    The Burke lot is looking better and better.

    Cheers for being the voice of the pedestrians!

  7. Hope you don't mind....I linked to your post on my blog.


  8. haha I love the strut through the dilapidated parking lot. Love love love it. Go get em.

  9. where are those boots from? I need a new pair.

  10. Don't hate me, but ... while I haven't ever heard of a pedestrian fee like that before, I do think it's kind of valid. The more people hanging out in the pit not only means the need for more facilities (i.e., port-a-potties) and a bigger mess for them to clean up after the game, but it also means potentially higher insurance premiums to prevent something from going wrong (more people = more likelihood for things go awry). At our local botanical garden, they charge a per-car charge up to a certain number of people and then charge $$ for anyone extra in the car. Change sucks (especially unannounced change), but I gotta say, it makes sense to me.

  11. i wonder if they'll start charging $10 for bikes...

    let me know what you end up doing this weekend. i have friends in from CHI and a group in the Muni Lot...we can just go over there.

    and if i do pay $5 to go to the pit there better be toilet paper in the port-O-pots, and hand sanitizer...

  12. Did you ever knowwwwwww that you're my heeeeeeeeero!!!!!!


  13. I love the strut. Seriously.

    But also, I do think that's ridiculous. Especially if they're charging per car, too. What if all of you piled into the car that paid for the spot instead of walking in separately? You wouldn't get charged extra then, would you?

  14. People pay to park in prime spots like this so they can tailgate with their friends. The already steep parking charge should cover all of those expenses they're referring to, no?

  15. I was a first-hand witness as well.
    @Nilsa, your argument is valid, as long as they impose a limit on the number of people in the car. Our LR holds 7, and the van next to us a similar number. We had five people, instead of our max 14. One person in our group was "smart" enough to ride the train, but got stuck paying.

    Yes, there are "squatters" who come park in the pit without a car, and roll in their coolers. Likewise, some beverage distributors are taking up a lot of space throwing huge parties. I could see them charging on a case by case, such as these.

    NP is already charging a premium for us to park.

  16. Sorry to pervert conventional wisdom here, but I think you're wrong.

    I think they're well within their right to charge folks a pedestrian fee. Contrary to your characterization, you are not simply "walking through the lot", implying you were paying for the privilege of crossing their property. You're going to use the premises--premises you haven't paid to use. If someone runs you over in their car while they're drunk, most lawyers would sue not just the driver, the the lot owner for allowing a party atmosphere to go down. Lots of drunks = lots of trash, which is a cost they incur. You'll need a place to recycle beer (if they're going to accommodate tailgaters, they need to provide some base level of service), so they need to put up portapots and clean them out (people tend to get squicked by overflowing toilets). Lots of people = risk of interpersonal problems, so you need to provide security.

    Simply put, if you were just walking through, then yes, the fee would be unfair. If your presence is going to cost the lot owner money, through direct and indirect costs, then they have every right to charge you. Where they slipped up was calling it a "pedestrian fee". What they should have done was lowered the price of parking a vehicle (to, say, $20), but charge a $5 per person entry fee. That way, cars are paying for car facilities, and people are paying for people facilities. Then we'd have shades of the drive in movie clown car scenario, but it would at least be a bit more fair.

  17. I agree this is totally bogus.

    It's nothing NEW that people are walking to the muni lot instead of driving, so there are no NEW costs that need to be covered! They haven't added any new porta johns as far as I know, so there is no base level of service that is being stepped up to justify a charge.

    Liability insurance that the lot owners MUST have will cover any incidents of disorderly conduct that they would possibly be liable for!

  18. ridic. you guys should start meeting up w/the payers-of-the-car-fees folks right outside the lot, pile into the car, and drive in for the group $30 fee.

  19. That is absolute bullshit! I can't believe that. Apparently they're taking their cues from the airlines and hotel industry. Between baggage fees on flights and resort fees at hotels, it's all a friggin' racket! This is why we're in a recession. No one can afford to do anything fun!

  20. Love the strut. Good thing you were wearing nice boots, baybay.

    And... THAT"S A RACKET. Like, seriously, effing absurd. Good for you for getting everyone all pissed off. This is rifdiculous.

  21. Ironic that you mention it, because while tailgating at the Chargers/Cardinals game last Sunday, we were discussing the new Texans policy that you can't tailgate without a ticket to the game. Also seems like a bit of a racket! We did some calcs, and even at $25 a pop, they are making over $1 mil per game in parking alone!

  22. Such a ridiculous fleecing. That is so ridiculous yet not totally surprising. I hate stuff like this.

  23. regarding Krista's comment, that is more NFL policy, and I can see it coming eventually in Cleveland, this is probably a start, could be something the Browns and NFL are leaning on the lot owner to do/try? The lots here at Soldier Field are cleared around kickoff, you can tailgate without a game ticket, but cannot remain in the lots during the game.

    NFL games are becoming more and more the No Fun League

  24. Parking in this town is a racket. When I think of all the historic buildings that have been replaces with surface parking lots in downtown Cleveland, it sickens me. I don't tailgate, I don't go to football games. I cannot think of a single event anywhere that I would pay $30 just to park. I get that they need to pay for the porta johns, insurance, etc, but at $30 a car there is plenty of income to cover those expenses.

    Unless they plan on projecting the game, they cannot really continue this kind of charge, can they? Then again, most people paid....

    I envision a queue of hotties standing on the road outside the lot asking for a ride in so they don't have to pay next time!

  25. Only the Cleveland Browns, one of the worst teams in American sports with the most rabid fans, could get away with this. For now.

  26. Dear Network Parking,
    My brother and I are Siamese twins and share the same set of legs. We are on a tight budget, so are curious if it is per head or per pair of legs?
    Please let us know.
    Jim and Jon

  27. I was collecting donations for the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk that was going on at the same time at Tower City. The parking attendant tried charging the other volunteer and I, and we said "we're doing charity! you can't charge us." And he didn't. But he hesitated.

  28. Making you pay to walk!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard!

  29. I heard about this very briefly on twitter. WOW. I wouldn't ever pay that. It's ridiculous that they are trying to cash in on people tailgating.

  30. that is so ridiculous, i would not want to pay that at all. boo to the network!

  31. Yes...most people associated with the Browns are morons.....the parking lot people are no exception!

  32. I ended up being accumulating contributions to the Alzheimer's Association's Memory space Stroll that had been taking place simultaneously on System City. The particular airport parking attendant tried using asking for one other volunteer as well as Dina J. Ely I, as well as most of us stated "we're carrying out nonprofit! you cannot cost us all. inch As well as he don't. Yet he hesitated.

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