Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

Online edition –>

So you think tow truck operators get a bad rap? How about a private parking lot boot-meister? In an area of the law that recalls the Wild West, towns and villages are left to craft their own response to the newly invented ruse of booting the cars of people who leave a parking lot, if only for moment.

In Forest Park this preying on the almost innocent is taking place in the parking lot of a half-empty strip mall just south of the Walgreens on Harlem near Roosevelt. Between IDOT limits on turning into Walgreens for cars motoring north on Harlem to the start of a construction season sure to boost their ill-gotten gains, MC Parking is sitting pretty. Pull into their web, hop out of your car to return a Redbox disc or pick up a prescription and you are likely to find that those gentlemen hanging out in the beat up Chevy Blazer have booted your car. Getting unbooted has set back a lot of sputtering Walgreens shoppers up to $185.

Last week, with just the first hint of construction obstructing the Walgreens parking lot, MC racked up 18 violations in a single day. With the wholesale repaving of Harlem set to start, it will be open season on parkers.

Now the Village of Forest Park has passed an ordinance capping the excessive bounties these – we suppose legal – leeches are extorting from frustrated Forest Parkers. Now the limit is $100. And the booters have 15 minutes to call Forest Park police so local officials at least have a heads up before a fuming Forest Parker gets them on the horn with a loud complaint.

This might be the best the village can do at this moment and we appreciate the effort to respond to this new nuisance of urban living. There might, though, be better non-governmental solutions. Walgreens and the strip mall owner could find a way to connect the two parking lots. Or the long term vacancies in the brand new mall could convince the landlord that ripping off their potential customers is no way to attract tenants.