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45 Minutes in the Parking Garage


I spent 45 minutes starring at the exit gate at the Tech Village Parking Garage yesterday afternoon. Here's how it went down.

My brother and his family were in town visiting and we went to Pizza Lucé for a late lunch. We got our cards validated at the Looch. Then we went to the card machine in the lobby to run them through there. It spat both of them out without any transaction. I shrugged and figured that since they were validated maybe we just had to take them to the gate. At the gate the machine there also wouldn't read the cards.

Okay, don't panic. Here's a helpful button marked "press for assistance" so I did. Nothing. Occasionally the little red light would light up and I'd hear a hopeful beeping noise, but nothing.

Okay, still, don't panic. There's a phone number here on the ticket and on the sign on the gate. 218 591-8931. I'll try that. No answer.

Oh wait, my brother found another number on the booth. 218 730-8931. Oh, there is no such number anymore.

Hmm... Can I panic yet? I call the police. A helpful lieutenant calls me back and he says he'll come over with a pass card and let me out. About 10 minutes later he comes and swipes the pass card. Nothing. His card doesn't work either.

I decide to skip panicking and watch in amused disbelief. The helpful lieutenant calls someone, apparently some working phone number, and from the conversation he's advised to disable a gate and break me out. Finally he forces an entry gate up, setting off alarms, and we get out.

Has anyone else had this problem with the ramp? Is it Lucé's validation that screwed it up or is it just the system?

I will add that some people were able to get out of the ramp normally while we were sitting there waiting for liberation.


Holy Cats! That's the post that the Bitching category was made for! I probably would have been breathing into a bag (I have a fear of parking ramps) so you can at least be proud that you handled it so well.

I would so totally turn the Volvo into Knight Rider/Speed Racer and bust through the gate! Take that, stupid pay-for-parking garage!

This happened to me once too about a year ago. I called the number and apparently it was some weird maintenance guy who knew nothing and had no control over the parking garage goings on. So I stuffed my ticket into a little groove on the side of the booth and I wrapped a dollar around it for parking and drove out between the concrete barriers - another advantage to owning a scooter.

Last year, as I was exiting that parking ramp, I got stuck behind someone having trouble getting the gate to open. All the windows of the booth were covered in blinds, but in between the slats we could see someone in there. So we knocked, and knocked, and knocked on the window, and finally after about 5 minutes the worker came out, did something to the machine, and got the gate to open. Then she went back inside the booth.

By that time, my free parking validation has expired, so when I moved up to get out, the machine asked for money. I did not want to pay on principle, so I started knocking on the window again to get the worker's attention. Again, she waited about 5 minutes before acknowledging me and coming out to get the gate up.

I haven't been back in that ramp since.

I work in the Tech Village thus I have a parking pass which helps to bypass such issues. That being said, there are constant problems with both the pay station at the skywalk entrance and the gates themselves. I guess that's the price we pay for the city replacing humans with machines. Though I have no evidence, I would venture to guess that the cost of installing the pay station, maintaining it (there is usually a repair man working on it several times a week) and the card reader at the gate has to cost more than paying someone to work during business hours.

I would recommend parking in the Fond Duluth ramp

We ran into what I assume was a technical issue when we painted Luce last month. We would park in the ramp from 7am-4:30pm and only be charged $1 when exiting. But this only worked if you took your ticket directly to the exit and paid by credit/debit card there. My brother-in-law was taking his ticket to the machine by the skywalk to the Tech Village, and he would get charged full price there.
I can't tell you how nice it was to work down there for 8-17 hours and only pay $1.
And if this is still going on Barrett should probably delete this post, before the Man gets wise and ruins a good thing.

I worked in the Tech Village too, but didn't buy a pass 'cuz I didn't drive everyday. I've been stuck there a few times with similar problems. The ticket thing in the "lobby" refuses to read one of my credit cards (which works fine everywhere else). and there have been 3 or 4 times when I've put my little paper ticket in the slot, and it just gets stuck. Like it didn't go in far enough to be read, but too far to pull it back out.
A couple years ago, there was a line to get out late one night because someone was having trouble with it. They decided to back up, and ... I dunno, go back to their parking spot? Well, they managed to tear the fender off their van on either the post next to the card reader or the reader itself as they backed up and turned. That messed things up for awhile. The mysterious attendant appeared and just let the line of cars out.

I had problems there when they first installed the machines. My ticket didn't work one time and another my ticket got eaten. Luckily, both times, it was in the middle of the day and someone was in that booth and let me out. I haven't parked my car there since. Call me a luddite, but I prefer people to machines in such situations. I park at the Casino ramp or that ramp on 2d Ave. West.

How ironic that this is happening at the "Tech" Village

A friend of mine, who shall remain unnamed, had the same problem. She and the friend she was with finally lifted the gate to get out. They really had no other choice. The gate was kind of sagging the next day...

Good thing you weren't charged a fee by that police officer. You know that could of cost you a lot. You really would have had to take matters into your own hands.

I've had that problem at least three times there; I will never park there again.

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