Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Towing Fiasco: No-Fault Ride

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Towing Fiasco: No-Fault Ride

Article excerpt

"IT'S NOT my job."

The late Freddie Prinze got tremendous mileage out of that line in the 1970s in the television series "Chico and the Man." Prinze used it to signify that whatever had happened wasn't his fault.

Prinze is long gone, but several others seem to have picked up the mantle.

On Friday evening, various motorists - as many as 100 or as few as 21, depending on with whom you speak - found their cars had been towed from a gravel parking lot across the street from the Forest Park MetroLink station.

Public parking in that area is not plentiful, and MetroLink riders have been using the lot for parking since the station opened a few weeks ago.

Their decisions to park there weren't unusual. I've lived in that area for a dozen years, and I know the lot has been used for parking by residents and workers for at least that long. It has gone unused otherwise. There have been few problems with the lot being used for parking. While a few construction proposals for the lot have been considered over the years, they've all fallen through. So, people kept parking their cars there.

Until Friday, that is.

That's when people returning to the lot found it empty.

People like Cliff Aaron.

Aaron had been to Busch Stadium and had seen the Cardinals lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As if that wasn't enough to sour his mood, Aaron returned to the Forest Park station to find his car gone.

"It doesn't make any sense to me," he said. "We didn't see any signs - and we looked - when we got here. And now we find out that it's private property, and we were towed away. Well, excuse me; I don't carry a plat map with me when I drive around."

One woman - who had gone to the ball game with her daughter - was dismayed by what had happened.

"My daughter is extremely meticulous," she said. "She checks everything. And she called Bi-State on Friday to ask where to park. She was told by the employee that she should park on the lot."

The Bi-State Development Agency runs MetroLink. The agency's officials deny that any of their employees said such a thing - to that woman's daughter or to anyone else. That response comes despite claims by numerous motorists that the transit company had told them the same thing. …

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