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Free Parking at Downtown TD Bank Comes to an End

Once a Safe Haven For Those in Need of a Space, Bank Says It Will Tow Non-Customers
Downtown drivers will no longer be able to park in the TD Bank. Molly O'Brien

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—TD Bank, located at 70 Bayard Street, will begin enforcing stricter rules about who is allowed in their parking lot, beginning today.

The bank has been warning people who park there for weeks that anyone who is not "in the bank conducting bank business" will be towed starting November 4.

Fliers left on car windsheilds who have been left in the parking lot said, "As 'America's Most Convenient Bank', we have made this decision because we respect your time and are committed to providing you with a legendary banking experience."

TD Bank acquired the former Commerce Bank in October 2007, five years after Commerce Bank re-opened the New Brunswick branch in an old vacant bank building next to City Hall.

Former Mayor John Lynch Jr. served on the Commerce Bank's board of directors and was instrumental in bringing the branch to the Hub City.

And Lynch wasn't the only political boss associated with the bank.  Notorious unelected boss George Norcross was an executive at the bank and spun off the insurance business.

Though it was once policed by uniformed New Brunswick police officers compensated by the bank, police rarely towed any cars or directed individuals not to park there.  Eventually, the bank stopped paying for the off-duty officers and the lot became a free-for-all.

According to an analysis by Patch.com's Joe Malinconico, TD Bank once ranked third behind PSE&G and Verizon for most money spent on off-duty police.  The bank spent $100,417 in 2010, "mostly for an officer to prevent non-customers from using its parking lot."

Shortly after the City Council and Mayor James Cahill approved an increase to the rate charged for "extra-duty" officers, the bank stopped using their services.

As a result, the parking lot has slowly become a hotspot for savvy drivers trying to find free parking in the crowded downtown.

"Any questions please stop in and speak with a member of our management team," reads the flier from TD.

A source has indicated that the bank plans to ask each customer doing business if they are parked in the bank and to describe their car, in order to determine who to tow.