Harpers Ferry Warnings and Dangers

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Harpers Ferry

  • Beware the $100 no parking scam

    by civilwarbuff7123 Written Nov 1, 2011

    My wife and I were recent first-time visitors to Harpers Ferry this past week on Friday, October 28th around 1pm; unfortunately it will be our last. Shortly after arriving in town, we received a parking ticket where we had parked on Shenandoah St., off of the roadway and on the grass, across from Virginius Island to take some quick pictures of the scenery; the no parking signs are not visible as you are driving, because the signs are parallel to the roadway so that in order to notice them, you would have to be looking to your right while you are driving, instead of straight ahead. They should be mounted perpendicular to the roadway, making themselves obvious to the driver. That argument was lost on the ranger who ticketed us; certainly had I known it was a no parking area, we would not have parked there. So instead of having lunch and beverages and souvenir purchases in this quaint little town, we decided that our $100 ticket was enough money spent in Harpers Ferry and promptly returned to Gettysburg, to which we make multi-day trips several times a year.

    I was also curious as to why the ranger asked if we were visiting, I mean we had Pennsylvania plates and I had a camera in my hand. And what was the need for my social security number? We were also asked if we were carrying any firearms and also asked where we were staying. Perhaps if I’d mentioned we were staying in town, we would have just been given a warning?

    The way those no parking signs are positioned strikes me as kind of intentional and I’d imagine a good source of revenue for tickets issued to first-timers to this park. With 254,329 visitors(2007 figures were the latest I could find), I can imagine what kind of revenue must be derived from rewarding visitors with usury $100 parking tickets. My own conservative estimate of HF’s ticket revenue is probably over $320,000 per year.

    I'm finding more and more articles about this same thing online from other "lawbreakers" and can’t imagine this being very good PR in this day & age of quick news dissemination.

    Thanks for listening.

    Regretfully from two Pennsylvania residents and Civil War buffs who won't be back to this historic town.

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    • National/State Park

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  • Some notes for drivers coming from NoVA

    by jaydock Updated Aug 10, 2009

    I noticed that a fair amount of people from my area of Northern Virginia like to visit to Harpers Ferry, especially since the town is really only about 5 minutes from the WV/VA border. Here's a few things I've learned while visiting over the years.

    1. NoVa drivers who take the Route 9 to Route 671 to 340 way to Harpers Ferry, calm down and slow down! From Route 9 on, most of the roads are one lane going each way. There are varying speeds, winding roads and unexpected turns. I wouldn't recommend the common practice of going at least 5 miles over the speed limit and definitely would always put a few cars lengths in between you and the person in front of you, no matter how slow they may being going.

    2. Drive smart. Don't tailgate at all, period. You are putting everyone in danger and showcasing what a jerk you are. On the other side of that, if you have that jerk now barreling down on you, don't panic and don't ignore them. Whenever it is safe and convenient for you, just pull over to let them pass. If you are an insecure driver and decide you want to go below the speed limit, please pull over once in awhile to let the growing line of cars behind you pass. I have seen so many near misses because of both aggressive and panicky drivers. The combination of one lane roads and narrow shoulders means there is little room for correcting errors.

    3. Due to the abundance of farms, there are many tractors and other bulky, slow-moving vehicles that use the roads. Most are only driving short distances and oftentimes periodically pull over to let the cars behind them pass. Don't tailgate them or attempt to illegally pass them, it's incredibly dangerous and selfish. Sit back, let your foot off the pedal and enjoy the scenic view. At least you aren't stuck in Beltway traffic.

    4. On most of Route 671, trucks have a lower speed limit of 45mph, while regular vehicles are allowed to go 55mph. If there is a truck in front of you, you now have to go 45mph, deal with it. At some point you will probably get the opportunity to safely & legally pass them (dotted lane on your side of the road + no oncoming cars = freedom!). If you tailgate and the truck stops short, when the two vehicles collide whose do you think will be victorious?

    5. Watch out for deer, especially during dusk & at night. There's not much you can do to prevent them from leaping out in front of your car from the bushes, but it helps to be alert to the fact that they are out there.

    6. Keep in mind that once you cross that border you are now dealing with WV law enforcement. They won't necessarily give you the same amount of slack about speeding or other driving violations. Once you actually enter the park, go the speed limit and drive gently, especially if you are driving though town. Tourists have a tendency to use the roads as sidewalks and don't give much thought about walking right in front of moving cars, so you don't want to risk hitting someone.

    That's all I can really think of for now, most of this is common sense anyways.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park

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  • Beware Hog Alley, A Poorly Marked One-Way Street

    by jaydock Updated Aug 9, 2009

    Hog Alley is the short street connecting two streets parallel to each other, High St. and Potomac St. Basically they sort of make a sideways capital "H", with High St. being the higher one, Potomac being the lower one, ad Hog Alley connecting them in the middle. It is also one of the most poorly marked one-way streets I have ever encountered. Cars are only allowed to use when going down from High St. onto Potomac St. However, if you are driving onto Potomac St. from the main street (Shenandoah St.), it is basically impossible to notice or see the one-way sign on Hog Alley. This is because some genius put the sign on the side of the alley that only outgoing traffic on Potomac St. can see. Since Potomac St. is a dead-end, the majority of people entering it completely miss the sign because it is not on the side facing incoming traffic.

    The cops are extremely strict and have zero issues with giving out tickets & fines for any car going the wrong way up this road. You can try to argue until you are blue in the face ("I didn't know, I didn't even see the sign." "The street is poorly marked." "I'm not from around here/I'm a tourist."). They do not care one little bit and you will be getting a hefty fine if you make this mistake.

    I would venture to guess that this sign placement was purposefully done to allow tourists to make this mistake over and over. I guess they make some good money off of it, but I personally find it very deceptive and dishonest.

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  • Greggor58's Profile Photo

    Car Parking....

    by Greggor58 Updated Nov 2, 2007

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is LITTLE on street parking available....do not park along Washington street or you will be ticketed and TOWED.....quickly we were told.

    Where we parked the first time....we were told that they TOWED a zillion cars in that very spot the weekend before we were there..there were no signs indicating that this particular spot was actually "private property" so we had NO idea that we were parked illegaly.

    You need to park only in designated areas.....there is a large parking lot away from town where you can leave your car....and you are shuttled in and out of the town area.

    WE managed to find on street parking that was good for two hours at the bottom Street...I think it was called East Ridge Street.

    We were there during the week....not over the weekend....so this worked for us....we simply moved that car after the allowed time and had no problems...

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    • Museum Visits

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