Police begin towing cars near Sunset Rock - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Police begin towing cars near Sunset Rock

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Police on Lookout Mountain have started towing visitors to Sunset Rock who park in the wrong spots.

In the past two weeks, police have towed four vehicles and handed out 20 parking tickets, according to Lookout Mountain Police Chief Randall Bowden.

The orange cones and warning signs are easy to see on West Brow Road, but police say many Sunset Rock visitors are ignoring them.

"We have nine signs within 1/10 of a mile, saying 'No Parking. Tow Away Zone'," Bowden said. "We're writing citations, we're having to tow, because the residents are calling, saying these people are blocking my driveway, or I can't get to my mailbox."

The portion of land that includes Sunset Rock is owned by the National Park Service. The popular spot has just nine parking spaces and is surrounded by other homes. At times, both sides of the street are lined with cars that are parked illegally.

"At night, at sunset, it's busy, even during the week. But the weekends are extremely busy," said Peggy Schumpert, who has lived near Sunset Rock for 40 years.

"In fairness to the people that want to go to a beautiful place like Sunset Rock, I understand why visitors want to come," she said.
But safety issues are a concern, both on the road and at the rock.

Schumpert notes recent accidents, where people have fallen from Sunset Rock, and emergency crews have lined the street.

In those cases, cars blocking the road become more than just an inconvenience.

"I mean, it's hard even for a car to get through. So if you had an emergency, it would be difficult," said Schumpert.

Bowden hopes the town and park service can work together to find a fix for the parking problem. But until then, police will turn to the tow trucks for help.

"Usually, it would be one or two people parked where they shouldn't be. But we've had 10-15 (illegally-parked vehicles) spread out in the community," Bowden said.

A parking ticket costs $62 and a towing bill can be up to $100. When the lot is full, police suggest parking in other areas near Sunset Rock, like the Town Common area or Point Park.

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