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The Worst Place to Park in Easton?

City officials frustrated by towing situation at downtown parking lot.

It's a Saturday night. You've come to Easton to eat, drink or socialize. You're driving around, looking for a place to park, and you spot it: the Bank of America building, and its parking lot.

Leaving your car there might seem tempting, but it's a bad idea.

People who park in that lot -- who aren't there on business -- are finding their cars towed by property owner Riverstar Properties, and paying a $240 fee to get them back.

Easton officials say Riverstar has every right to do this. Still, it's a situation that's frustrated them for some time. 

“It’s like a trap,” City Councilman Jeff Warren said at last week's council meeting.

He and his colleagues had just heard from Nanet Peterson, a Bethlehem resident who had come to Easton on business.

Peterson -- a mental health clinician -- had banking to do at Bank of America, but also had to take some paperwork to the nearby public assistance office. She went to the public assistance office first.

“I was in there for 2-3 minutes, and my car was towed away," she said.

Mayor Sal Panto told Peterson her story is a familiar one, but that the city's hands are tied.

“It is a private parking lot. There’s not a whole lot we can do," he said.

At the same time, city officials say this is the type of thing that can keep people from revisiting Easton. The mayor told the story of a man who visited from Scranton, had his car towed on a Friday night, and had to wait until Monday to retrieve it.

It's a situation that could lead to legal action, former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes told the Express-Times last week.

Holmes' restaurant and the Bank of America building are next to each other, and have a shared parking agreement. Still, Holmes told the newspaper he's had at least three customers who have had their cars towed.

Although many people who get towed are parked in the lot illegally, Panto said the signs in the lot can be confusing.

He said the city is hoping to work with Riverstar. At the very least, he'd like to get the company to notify police when they've towed a car, so drivers don't think their cars have been stolen.

 

 

another point of view January 13, 2013 at 03:21 PM
A number of questions: 1. Peterson said that she was "in there for 2-3 minutes, and my car was towed away," ("there" refers to the public assistance office.) Hard to believe that in three minutes, someone spotted her car, called a tow company, the tow company responded immediately, the tow company drove to the parking lot, loaded her car and took the car away. The best time I ever saw for loading a car on a tow truck or flatbed was ten minutes. 2. Now that we are convinced that the time in the public assistance office probably exceeded several minutes, how much real time was spent in the bank. Of course, if it was only a deposit or cashing a check, it would be a couple of minutes. If you were applying for a mortgage understandably for several hours. 3. For the rest of us law abiding slobs, we do not park in private lots unless we absolutely have business there. We park in legal spaces, pay the meter and pay the ticket. And, we don;t come up with absurd excuses: " I parked there so I could run into another business for a couple of minutes."
another point of view January 13, 2013 at 03:21 PM
4. Mr. Warren should not be shocked. As a public official he should encourage individuals to follow the law and use the meters that he approved. He should encourage visitors to respect personal property rights. 5. As far as Mr. Holmes is concerned, his issue is personal with the property owner. It is hard to follow Larry's moves. He sold, moved away and then back. That's OK, but the parking issues are his, not government's.
Andy Novick January 13, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Get a bicycle and park anywhere for free!
chrispossessky January 13, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Riverstar's motive is obviously to make as much money as possible from unsuspecting customers. If it was a good corporate citizen, it would either make signs bigger and more ubiquitous or make the first step a warning, instead of using a tow company that is going to cost someone a couple hundred bucks. Further, city government is not hamstrung because they can easily pass an ordinance dictating how property are to address trespass like this.
Andy Novick January 13, 2013 at 06:50 PM
go Get a bicycle and park anywhere for free!
Sam Kimball January 13, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Why don't they just chain off the parking area after business hours close?
Jonathan Gerard January 13, 2013 at 09:02 PM
After their businesses are closed, they ought to allow people to park in the lot at night. It would help the restaurants on Ferry Street at no cost to anyone.
P Berger January 13, 2013 at 11:22 PM
I was just going to state what Sam Kimball said... Parking is extremely plentiful in the garage and not expensive, well lit and secure. If you try to cheap out, you're going to have to pay the piper.
Amend January 14, 2013 at 01:54 AM
They can't chain off the lot because of the shared use with Larry Holmes. Obviously Mr. Haver is within his rights, with the exception of Mr. Holmes' patrons, but that doesn't mean that he isn't being a overly enthusiastic jerk that lacks community spirit. Kinda like Ebenezer Scrooge.
Andy Novick January 14, 2013 at 02:45 AM
hey, get a bike and park for free!
Boxed In January 14, 2013 at 03:12 AM
Parking headaches are a sign of a prosperous business district. Shame on the city for not being pro-active in these matters. Shame on those who ignore the warnings and complain when they get burned. We didn't hear much about this until Larry moved back in. I think the public is going to be caught in the middle of a turf war between neighbors. Shame on Larry for abandoning the city when things got tight and then crying foul when he shuffles back in with his tail between his legs. Yeas, he does try to help the city, but he is also high maintenance anymore. The parking problem is only going to worsen in the short term. Somebody will need to step up soon. I would hope the churches could start turning to their empty lost as sources of fundraising. Start manning their lots and charging half day and full day rates on the weekends. Just a thought.

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