GoTriangle warns customers that Southpoint mall could begin towing

A depiction of the reserved park-and-ride spaces at Southpoint mall, which have began a dispute last week between the mall and GoTriangle.
A depiction of the reserved park-and-ride spaces at Southpoint mall, which have began a dispute last week between the mall and GoTriangle. Courtesy of GoTriangle

GoTriangle is warning customers that the Streets at Southpoint mall could begin towing cars from reserved park-and-ride spaces, after the mall installed new parking restriction signs over the weekend, the public transit agency said in a release on Monday.

GoTriangle’s latest warning comes after the transit agency and the mall publicly feuded over Southpoint’s decision to place fliers on cars saying that park-and-ride spaces may only be used from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday – and that violators would be towed.

GoTriangle brought its complaint to the City of Durham saying the notices violated the mall’s agreement with the city, which requires Southpoint to mark designated spaces and place signs that clearly indicate parking restrictions.

Under an amended agreement with the city in 2008, the mall must provide 147 park-and-ride spaces as well as signs designating which spaces are reserved for park-and-ride customers during weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An email from Patrick O. Young, the director of the Durham City-County Planning Department, on June 8 agreed that Southpoint would be in violation if they towed cars without clearly-marked signs.

But, over the weekend, the mall began to put up signs in the parking lot that would allow them to begin enforcing the time limits on the spaces.

GoTriangle said it was still concerned about how the mall will determine whether a vehicle belongs to a transit customer or mall customer before towing it or how it will work with customers parked in designated park-and-ride spaces who return on a bus that arrives after 6 p.m. or who go to shop or dine in the mall after arriving.

A representative from the Streets at Southpoint did not immediately return a request for comment.

At a Durham City Council work session on June 8, members of the city council said it would like to revisit parts of the agreement between the city and the mall. City Councilman Charlie Reece specifically referenced the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. time restrictions on the spaces.

“It puts folks at a disadvantage who work alternative hours,” Reece said. “Some of the working folks who are taking public transit typically work at least one job outside the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. timeframe.”

The Southpoint park-and-ride location is one of the transit agency’s most popular locations for parking, though an average number of daily users at the location was unknown.

Additionally, the Streets at Southpoint recently expressed interest in reducing its number of park-and-ride spaces from 147 to 100 – a move that would require a new site plan, according to the email from Young.

More park-and-ride spaces are located nearby at the Renaissance Village shopping center in front of the Home Goods store along Renaissance Parkway. It has 67 reserved spaces.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes