$5 To Walk & Tailgate?

Cleveland Pit Pedestrian Sign Here’s a question: Would you pay $5 to walk through a parking lot that used to be a city impound lot?

Before you scream “F#&% NO!” at your computer screen, consider this. That is exactly what is going on in Cleveland at a popular tailgating spot known locally as “the Pit”. The management company of this parking lot started charging people to walk into the lot to join friends who have already paid $30 to park. This management company is charging tailgaters arriving on foot a $5 fee. Are you serious? Parking lots now have cover charges?

Cleveland’s a Plum: A $5 pedestrian fee to tailgate for a browns game? Gimmie a break.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cleveland to look into operator’s tailgate party $5 admission fees
Waiting For Next Year: Cleveland Lot Now Charging Pedestrian Tailgaters

If you chose not to read any of the above linked articles, let’s set the scene. We’ve already heard by now about the outrage Cleveland tailgaters had regarding the famed Muni lot charging $5 more this year and opening the lot three hours later than in years past.  A few weeks ago Cleveland tailgaters staged their own passive aggressive protest by showing up at the Muni Lot gates at the regular 4 am time. In fact, so many showed up before the gates opened that the traffic congestion forced Cleveland Police to open the gates at 6 am just to avoid traffic snarls and creating a completely gridlocked downtown area.

Now another parking lot east of the Browns’ stadium has decided that if the Muni Lot can squeeze more money out of tailgaters, why can’t they? Already charging $30 per vehicle was apparently not enough for Network Parking, the management company that runs “the Pit”. Network Parking instituted a policy that those tailgaters that arrived on foot and planned to join other tailgaters already parked, needed to pay $5 per person. Although many thought it was a joke, Network Parking attendants held hard and fast to their new rules. When pressed for answers by Channel 19 in Cleveland, Network Parking issued a statement that justified, in their eyes, the $5 charge for foot traffic. It stated in part,

“increased costs to maintain the lot along with additional expenses to cover 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.”

Here is a follow up story that breaks the news that what the parking management company is doing is actually allowable and is not breaking any laws.

It’s absolutely unbelievable the greed, utter disrespect and disregard tailgaters are receiving these days. When did the memo go out telling everyone but me that tailgaters are this bottomless pit of cash? Is it our fierce loyalty to our teams that allows us to be taken advantage of this way? I’d be interested your thoughts.

You know who else would be interested in your thoughts? Joel Cole, President of Network Parking. I think he would love to hear from not only local Cleveland tailgaters but from any and all of you tailgaters from around the country that want to let them know that this type of treatment is unacceptable.

Feel free to call him at: (216) 736-7190 and I would encourage you to ask for him by name. If he is unavailable, make sure to leave a voicemail giving him a piece of your mind. After you have done that, feel free to follow that up with an email that will go directly into his inbox. Please email him at: jcole@networkparking.com. Also feel free to CC Bonnie Brodnik, Vice President Marketing & Administration (BBrodnik@networkparking.com) and Phil Soeder, Controller (psoeder@networkparking.com) on your email as well.

It’s about time we as tailgating nation stand up and take a stand on abuse and mistreatment. You may not tailgate in “the Pit” or you may not even tailgate prior to Browns games. But be careful of being apathetic and inactive now. If you are, please don’t complain when some outrageous policy and rule change affects you and your tailgating crew.