Kelly Hall (center) of Capital Parking ATX collects a fine from Emo customers who started their car for illegal parking on June 23, 2022 (Photo by John Anderson)
The purpose of this column is really just to warn: If you leave your car in the mall near Auto area at 2205 E. Riverside to catch a concert across the street at Emo’syou will probably be started or towed very quickly.
Competitive parking in the area has resulted in fans expecting a $100 fee to have their boots removed after shows at the nation live-property. Sold-out show nights at the 1,700-seat venue, Austin’s company ATX Capital Parking Lot usually starts a large number of cars in the Burton Drive parking lot, sometimes more than 50 vehicles. When the Chronicle staff photographer Jack Anderson was launched there on April 15 during a Reversed show, the attendant told him, “Emo’s has a parking problem.”
I witnessed the strange scene last Thursday during a sold-out performance by the Houston-born artist Keshi. Two Capital Parking employees calmly and methodically began driving off and sticking red signs to the cars around 9:30 p.m. When the show started around 10:30 p.m., a group of about 50 depressed young fans and families lined up in the middle of the parking lot to pay boots on at least 30 cars.
After a show at Emo’s, spectators line up to pay to have the boots removed from their vehicles (Photo by Rachel Rascoe)
A rowdy group demanded the attendant take their picture while posing around their boot and rushed in screaming with delight. At 11 p.m., the Capital Parking crew left with a pickup full of yellow and red boots. The process did not go so well in February, after a performance of King Sullivanwhere Pflugerville reside Lanie Matula witnessed a fight between a concert attendee and a boot attendant.
She says bystanders called the cops and the disgruntled driver eventually had two boots placed on his car during the altercation. Matula, who waited in line for about an hour to get started, says she didn’t see any warning signs in the parking lot. Today, the mall has tow and boot warning signs posted at the main entrances, with two placed prominently at the exit on Burton Drive.
“Emo’s parking lot is a shit show,” Matula said. “There were at least 60 people standing in the parking lot, and the guys kicking weren’t nice. It’s a good place, but I don’t go to Emo’s very often because it’s so frustrating to find a place and make sure it’s safe.. I really had no idea not to park there.”
Austin police at the scene after an altercation between a Capital Parking ATX employee and an Emo spectator in February (Courtesy of Lanie Matula)
In response to the the ChronicleIn their request for comment, a rep for Live Nation wrote, “Emo’s does not own or operate the parking lot.”
Emo management did not respond to requests for comment from the the Chronicle. After launching locally on Sixth Street in 1992, the relocated Riverside venue was sold to an Austin-based developer C3 presents in 2013. The following year, C3 Presents sold a majority stake in the company to Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter – making Emo one of several national venues owned by Live Nation.
Capital Parking started in the mall a few years ago. Owner Joe Santiago says he has contracts with several companies in the lot shared by AutoZone, Advance Car parts, Restaurant Kim Phungand La Michoacana Meat Market – as well as with landowners Leung Properties LP. Overnight parking spots are especially important for long-running clubs and live Latin music destinations Carnival Club.
Santiago says a big line of 50 people happens about once a month when Emo’s has sold-out shows, pointing out that Capital Parking didn’t throw anyone on a June 16 dean lewis show the day before our interview.
“It’s not really a big deal unless it’s a big name [concert]and I don’t know if Emo’s wants to pay a premium for more parking if they only do it maybe once a month,” Santiago said. “We go there if somebody calls us and says “Hey, they ‘I’m starting to park.’
“It affects all businesses because there’s trash or crashes with cars that leave Emo drunk. The problem though – I mean come on – is that Austin is growing. Almost everything is now paid parking , so parking is a premium.If these spaces are worth 25,000 [dollars] a year [to a business]and someone takes them on my prime time, that’s stealing.”
Beyond the center with AutoZone, sold-out concerts drive traffic throughout the region, keeping other businesses like J&J Towing busy nearby dairy queen plot. Close to many new constructions, the traffic jam shows how limited local public transport could hamper large musical gatherings, as people won’t be able to afford to get there. The Multi-Billionaire, Citywide Connect Project includes eventual plans for a major transit hub at the intersection of East Riverside and South Pleasant Valley, a 12-minute walk from Emo’s.
Under Texas law, tow and start-up companies cannot pay the companies or landowners who hired them. Capital Parking therefore provides a free service funded by towing revenue. Still, Santiago says he’d be happy to dispense with the necessary personnel and transportation costs during a sold-out show. “I do better on smaller pitches with less overhead – I actually make less money on a big night,” Santiago said.
“Emo’s doesn’t tell people not to park there,” he added. “I saw they had a card, and I literally laughed, because it was just Emo’s and doesn’t even tell you the shops around. When you buy tickets, I literally put there: Ne you don’t park at pizza hut or Auto Zone. If they could do that, it would make my life easier.”
The FAQ portion of Emo’s website states, “If you are driving to the show, do not park in front of where your vehicle will be started and possibly towed away,” also encouraging “all fans” to use the services. carpooling. The same information is included in an email to fans ahead of the event. Their parking map was uploaded in unfortunately low resolution, making it difficult to read business names. Parking is permitted in the adjoining parking lot around and behind Emo’s, except for the red marked areas in front of Pizza Hut and More. Recently, the spaces in front of Taco More had signs taped up that read: “No Emo’s Parking from 6pm to 22pm”.
Signs outside Taco More, which shares a parking lot with Emo’s (Photo by Kevin Curtin)
As for the Capital Parking website, the URL (capitalparkingatx.com) listed on their receipts has been returning a blank 404 message for the past few months – which Santiago was unaware of until speaking with the the Chronicle. He said the company is rebranding after recent May 19 changes to the city code allowing the use of self-release boots, one of Santiago’s many lobbying efforts in the area of state and local regulations. parking. According to the City of Austin website, Capital Parking ATX is one of five licensed local startup companies, which are overseen by the Austin Department of Transportation.
The recent action of municipal Council allows the use of a newly developed 2-pound trunk, which can be unlocked with a code after the car owner has paid online. Santiago told the Council that the self-release technology will not reduce start-up costs, but the fee for a lost or damaged boot will drop from the current rate of $200 to $60. Soon, Emo fans could put their boots in a nearby parking receptacle instead of queuing, but they’ll still pay $100.