Rude awakening: Dozens of cars parked near MetroRail stop towed away

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some people who took the MetroRail downtown during South By Southwest were in for a surprise Friday night.

Dozens of cars were towed at the Lakeline Capital Metro station for parking illegally in the middle of the roadway. Austin Police called four tow trucks out to the MetroRail station, and it took them nearly two hours to clear more than 20 cars out of the road.

“I need to know what grounds you have to take my car right now,” said a woman who arrived to find her car being towed.

Finding parking downtown during big events can be extremely difficult. Now, getting a spot miles away at bus and rail stops is becoming a hassle. After the Lakeline Capital Metro station’s parking lots filled up, drivers started parking their cars in the middle of the road.

“They’re blocking the road,” said Austin Police Cpl. Nathaniel Roberts. “They’re basically parked in the road. That is creating a traffic hazard so I have to tow them.”

David Perkins comes to the Lakeline Station every day to get to work, but the trains have been packed this week with people heading to SXSW who were looking to avoid parking hassles downtown.

“Normally it’s pretty busy, but I’ve never seen it to where both parking lots are overflowing and people having to park on both sides of the road,” said Parkins. “I think we all know it’s because of SXSW.”

Without any “No Parking” signs, many folks say they thought it was legal. But police say its never a good idea to park in a roadway.

“I was debating it,” said Jessica Jones. “I was like, ‘should I do it’ and I put my car in reverse. Then I was like, ‘no, I won’t, I’d rather drive around and find a spot.’ It wasn’t worth it.”

In order to find parking, drivers say they had to search for nearly half an hour. It’s a wait they now say was worth it.

“That car right over there that’s getting towed…I’m glad I’m not that car,” Jones said. “My parents would kill me.”

Cars towed from the Lakeline Station were taken to Southside Towing in South Austin. Drivers can expect to pay at least $175 to get their cars back.

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