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Vespa Petitioning to Convert Some Auto Parking to Two-Wheel Parking

Vespa is the most well known of scooter makers and you’ll see plenty of the Italian jobs on the streets of St. Louis. But they are also pretty determined to create an even bigger market for themselves and their competition. They realize parking is an issue keeping more people from using a small and efficient scooter over the family SUV. Enter the Vespa Petition, or Vespatition:

Parking for All! Sign the Vespatition to convert some automobile spaces to two-wheel spaces!

By signing the Vespatition, you are promoting the conversion of some automobile parking spaces to two-wheel spaces. The results will be publicized and sent to your local mayor.

Just as parking spaces for compact cars and handicapped parking stalls have increased efficiency and convenience in urban and suburban communities, officially designated two-wheel parking facilities can do the same.

Government agencies should consider removing the two-wheeler from the four-wheeler parking space and placing it in its own, scaled down zone. This is a simple concept that can be embraced by city councils, urban planners, local merchants, contractors, shopping center management and private businesses whenever parking for motor vehicles is provided.

Here are some suggestions for motorcycle/scooter parking that we are proposing:

Street-legal parking – convert a number of existing parking spaces every couple of streets to motorcycle/scooter parking

•Spaces can be metered or un-metered
•The smaller size of two-wheel vehicles allows them to fit into unoccupied areas on streets and sidewalks, creating efficiencies in urban planning and increasing city revenues (if metered).
•Six motorcycles, scooters or limited-access motorcycles carrying from six to twelve people can be parked in the area normally taken up by one automobile. If, however, no motorcycle parking facility is provided in the area, one would possibly find those six motorcycles occupying up to six separate automobile spaces.

Convert unused space – cement curbs of a certain size can be converted to two-wheel parking. A specialized parking area for motorcycles and scooters not only leaves more space for the automobiles, but also caters to the riders’ needs by providing a well-lit, convenient and secure location in which they may confidently leave their vehicle. Such facilities can be small in area and can usually be located near a building entrance or at the end of a parking island.

Parking garages – designate parking spaces in municipal garages for two-wheel vehicles. Create a more equitable rate structure for two-wheel vehicle parking in private garages.

Sidewalk parking – permit scooters and motorcycles to be parked in designated areas on sidewalks and locked to structures which currently accommodate bicycles.

Designating scooter/motorcycle parking is one of the most urban things we could do in the St. Louis region. This ranks up there with actually having designated bicycle racks! This petition from Vespa is part of their Vespanomics website — a platform on oil dependence and how two-wheel transportation can help with the issue. It only has a few links to their main website — it is not a thinly veiled attempt at the environment just to sell you a scooter. In fact, Vespa has done a good job overall about being inclusive of other competing brands.

Local and national government leaders are charged with establishing transportation policies that address both short-term and long-term problems, are environmentally responsible and truly benefit the American consumer. With the support of federal, state and local governments, new options like scootering can bring immediate and substantial economic and environmental benefits to Americans and the communities in which they live.

To facilitate the adoption of scootering, U.S. Mayors and other elected officials should consider providing dedicated parking for scooters and motorcycles.

Now is the time to broaden the dialogue about America’s addiction to oil and its dependency on foreign imports in a way that includes technological as well as behavioral solutions.

I ask that everyone of you reading this take a minute and click on the above link to sign the petition. Doesn’t matter if you have a scooter or not or where you live. Just fill out the form to help support a more friendly policy toward parking for two-wheeled vehicles.

Of course if Vespa sends this to Mayor Slay they are kinda wasting their time as the Mayor’s office has little control over parking in the city. Our planning agency has little say either! No, parking in St. Louis is the responsibility of the Treasurer! Yes, Treasurer. Presumably accounting types know best when it comes to parking. The logic being parking is a revenue source so that belongs to the Treasurer. Not sure when this became part of the city’s charter but it is F’d up if you ask me. Larry Williams has been Treasurer of St. Louis since 1981. As you might expect, he ran unchallenged in the last election in 2004.

While we are on parking, we need to switch from individual meters and marked spaces to the more free-flowing parking model of progressive cities and institute a “pay-n-display” system for paying. The reason is short cars like mine do not need anywhere near as much as a Chevy Suburban or a Hummer. With more and more shorter cars around we can likely squeeze in another space per block. With four sides to a block and a good 40 blocks in the CBD we could easily get another 160 cars right in front of local businesses. Of course, using some of this newfound space for scooter/motorcycle parking would be wise.

Related Prior Posts:
•St. Louis Region Needs to Address Parking for Scooters & Motorcycles, April 2006
•Parking on Washington Avenue — Finally!, February 2006

Again, please sign the Vespatition!

– Steve


Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. travis reems says:


    First, let me say I completely agree with you about the “pay and display” style of which I blogged about after returning from my trip to Seattle. It seems like an ingenius way to handle parking.

    Now, on to the scooter-only parking. Frankly, this seems nonsensical. Why would we dedicate parking to such a small minority of vehicles, when those vehicles can use the general parking spots already available?

    Further, the comparison of the scooter-only parking spots to compact-cars and handicap spots is illogical. Compact car spots are designated as such due to limited parking depth, in which a larger vehicle could not park. I see no reason that scooters could not use the spots. And, the handicap spots (and progressive expectant mother spots) are for classes of individuals that need parking near the entrance of a location or need additional space for wheelchair access.

    Using parking spots to encourage greater use of scooters or motorcycles is irresponsible public policy. We should not limit access to parking for those that drive larger vehicles in order to push people to drive smaller vehicles. While I agree with you that people should drive as small a vehicle as they can to suit their needs, I disagree with you that it is the place of government to force people to do as we would like them to do.

    [REPLY Travis you missed the point entirely! First, our current pre-designated spaces can accommodate 5-6 scooters/motorcycyles. Would you rather 6 scooters/motorcycles take up six parking spaces or one? If anything is nonsensical it is using up valuable space to park something that will fit in a much smaller area.

    This brings up the pay-n-display, which you like. With that we don’t have designated parking dimensions so a motorcycle can fit in where they have room. However, designated areas are still better as pay-n-display is a challenge for a motorcycle as someone can easily steal their time receipt.

    Encouraging the public to drive smaller and more efficient vehicles is brilliant public policy! If 5% of the people that visit downtown would switch to two-wheel transportation (bike, scooter, motorcycle) we’d see less need for costly parking garages and less pollution. How can you possibly be against that? – SLP]

  2. Jim Zavist says:

    Creating small spaces out of unused/unusable (for auto parking) areas makes a lot of sense. Reducing the total number of existing spaces can work on a small scale. Still, the more “special” spaces we create (accessible/disabled, pregnant mom, motorcycle, “curbside to go”, valet, bus, loading, press vehicles, etc., etc.), the more likely we’re creating a net reduction in total spaces actually being used efficiently, and the more we’re reverting to a “class” society (and away from one based on equality) . . .

    [REPLY – OK, two issues — net reduction in efficiency with so many reserved spots and a class separation. One at a time.

    It is possible to get to a point with a net loss. We see that now with 20-25 public spaces taken nightly in a two block area of Washington Ave for valet parking. You wanna talk class separation start with public parking being reserved for those using valet parking at high-end restaurants?

    Good public policy around parking can find an equitable balance. Right now we have parking galore for cars & trucks. Period. We have a handful of bike racks in the entire downtown area. Maybe 10 public racks at most. Pathetic! Again, we already have class separation and it favors the more affuent motorist.

    I also think it is possible to have too much parking — to the point where walking or public transportation doens’t make sense for people. Portland, for example, is wise to set limits on parking in buildings rather than have auto-centric minimums.

    On the class issue, until things are balanced a bit more I see the only class getting favored parking is the auto driver. Everyone else is out of luck. – SLP]

  3. travis reems says:

    Regarding your statement, “Encouraging the public to drive smaller and more efficient vehicles is brilliant public policy! If 5% of the people that visit downtown would switch to two-wheel transportation (bike, scooter, motorcycle) we’d see less need for costly parking garages and less pollution. How can you possibly be against that?”

    Again, I am in favor of reductions in the use of fossil fuels, related pollution, and costs associated with parking, but I am against using public policy to force others to agree with me or merely comply with my beliefs on those points. However repugnant it might be to you and me, residents of St. Louis have as much right to drive and park their gas-guzzling bohemuth Hummers as do hybrid, compact, and scooter owners. In fact, I drive as small a car as I can with space for a carseat for my 3 year old daughter in the backseat, but I have no right to require this of others.

    [REPLY – Right now public policy encourages the use of private cars over the use of bicycles, scooters or motorcycles. Do you not see that? Making room for others — balancing out — will not force someone to give up their car but simply allow those that wish to use a scooter or bicycle the same opportunity for secure parking at their destination. – SLP]

  4. First we need to address the valet parking issue, because that is the biggest problem on Washington Avenue.

    On Saturday, Lucas Park Grille was taking up an entire block on both sides of the street for valet.

    That should be illegal.

  5. Hans Gerwitz says:

    Agreed, we need to control the valets (and often needless construction blocking) and expand the parkable area of Washington… the eastern blocks where it is forbidden have no traffic in those lanes during rush hour anyway (because drivers know they’ll not be able to merge back into traffic).

    It’s only sensible that St. Louis address scooter parking as M|W starts outfitting so many residents with 50ccgas scooters.

  6. travis reems says:


    I know you are an advocate for the use of scooters, non-motorized transportation, and walking. And, while it may appear by my comments that I am an advocate of motorized vehicles, I am not necessarily. I, too, believe that there is room for all modes of transportation in our City.

    You asked in your response if I see that current public policy encourages use of private cars over bicycles, scooters and motorcycles. To answer that let me separate out the motorized from the non-motorized.

    I would agree that the way many of the streets and highways are built in the city, there are areas that are not bicycle or pedestrian friendly, but at the same time I believe there are pathways around those areas for those that wish to cycle or walk.

    That being said, I do not believe at all that there is a preference in public policy for cars and larger vehicles over scooters, motorcycles, and smaller vehicles. There is no reason that a person using a smaller motorized vehicle cannot use the same pathways and same parking spots that are used by users of larger motorized vehicles. There is no restriction, and therefor no preference in public policy. Sure, it is a waste of space for a smaller vehicle to occupy a parking space that could accomodate a larger vehicle or several smaller vehicles, but that is not a restriction, nor a preference.

    Again, we support the same principles–lowering emissions, lowering parking costs, etc.–but where you and I differ is that I do not believe it is the place for government to force our shared beliefs on others, no matter how repugnant their use of fossil fuels or parking space might be to us.

    [REPLY What forcing????? You are suggesting parking six motorcycle/scooters in six parking spaces rather than have five auto-sized spaces with one being divided into 5-6 scooter/motorcycle spaces. Is that forcing someone to drive a motorcycle???? – SLP]

  7. Maurice says:

    I’m with you on this one Steve. It totally makes sense. The resistance is the same as it was years ago when the handicap spaces came out. Yes, Lets make the city more 2 wheel friendly.

  8. Jim Zavist says:

    1. I agree – more bike parking should be provided.

    2. Creating smaller spaces (“compact car” spaces) probably won’t encourage people to buy smaller vehicles – you’ll just see more folks taking two up spaces to reduce door dings.

    3. Motor scooters vs. motorcycles – I see plenty of motorcycles taking up full spaces, and while somewhat inefficient on the face of it, it’s just as fair for them to do so as most autos, since most autos are carrying only one or two passengers, as well. As you’ve pointed out before, motor scooters (under 49 cc) are considered to be motorized bicycles. While I don’t like seeing them parked on the sidewalk, they can legally do so, so their available parking is relatively unlimited, especially compared to the highly-limited, on-street parking for licensed motor vehicles, especially downtown.

    I still support the concept of creative uses of otherwise unused or little-used spaces. I just have a problem with the proliferation of designated spaces of all types, since they’re the ones most likely to be unoccupied when everything else is filled up!

    [REPLY I think you are concerned that every single city block is going to have 5-6 scooter/motorcycle spaces. I would love to see a day where that was completely necessary simply out of demand but we are a long way from that. It can start by utilizing the unused spaces and then continually evaluating demand (or potential for demand) and go from there.

    The compact spaces thing for me is mostly in context to on-street parking where my car is several feet shorter than many SUVs. By having the pay-n-display system so that people take up only the space they need we’ll fit more cars in or maybe a motorcycle or two. This is simply a better use of our on-street space than our current one size fits all approach.

    Motorized two-wheelers range from being very small (Puch brand mopeds) to very massive motorcycles, with many choices in between. Scooters range from 49cc all the way up to large 500cc models. You are not going to park a 150cc+ registered scooter on the sidewalk just as you would not a smaller motorcycle.

    Parking gets people to think about alternates. If you see the one really convenient space in the parking garage designated for hybrids only that gets you thinking. Same for bike racks, you see bike racks up and down the street with bikes locked here and there and it subconsciously gets you thinking about cycling. Some motorcycle/scooter parking here and there and a person seeing gas over $3/gal might decide to get a small scooter or motorcycle for their commute to work, now that they have a place to park it. – SLP]

  9. Becker says:

    I guess this is proof that you debate anything. I still don’t see how this could be anything but a good and sensible idea.

  10. Mike says:


    You miss the point. It is our right as Americans living in the strongest country in the world to have our automobiles dominate the roads. Everything we do should be designed first and foremost for the comfort of automobile drivers. Who cares about the convenience of five or six scooter riders when ONE auto driver may be inconvenieced? I think it’s in the Bill of Rights somewhere.

    [REPLY ROTFL!!! For those that are sarcastic impaired, this is a good bit of humor from a person who’s main mode of transportation is a red Vespa. Thanks for the laugh Mike! – SLP]

  11. Joe Frank says:

    For a number of years, WashU has issued motorcycle/motorscooter parking permits for only $15/year! There are dedicated motorcycle-only spaces located conveniently at the bottom of Brookings steps, right next to the shuttle stop actually.

    Similarly, UMSL has designated motorcycle parking spots, although some of them are in funky locations like under parking garage ramps (or at least used to be), and the fee is about 1/2 that of regular parking fees.

    It would be quite sensible to mark a few spots of metered parking downtown as motorcycles-only, with the meters places a little closer together as a result.

  12. travis reems says:

    To Joe’s point, I can definitely see the benefit of marking scooter or motorcycle-only spots where other vehicles could not fit, like compact-only spots are marked now. It would be a net addition of spots, would allow for specialized parking, would not reduce the ability of any vehicle to park in existing spots, and could generate additional revenue to the City. This sounds like a good idea.

    [REPLY You are still stuck in the not giving up any car spaces mode of thinking. This fails to consider that as more and more folks commute by scooter or motorcycle we will have a decreasing need for full-size auto spaces and an increasing need for motorcycle spots. – SLP]

  13. Jim Zavist says:

    When it comes to private facilities, let the market determine what’s best. Has anyone talked to any of the privately-operated public parking garages or parking lots to see if they’re interested in adding dedicated cycle parking and/or explained the cost-benefit ratio to them? If there’s money to be made, trust me, it will be implemented. What it sounds like now is you want government-mandated indirect coercion, and I can’t support that. You say subliminal clues like hybrid-only parking will create change. I say that it only generates simering anger.

    To see true private enterprise at work, check out http://www.omalleyscorner.com/foxden/index.php3

    [REPLY Private parking is not governed by the free market. The municipal code dictates how much parking businesses should have, the eisle widths, the parking space dimentions, etc… Issues such as fencing, landscaping and such as also highly regulated relative to parking. If you want free market fine — remove all parking restrictions entirely but don’t tell me that offering incentives or requiring a few motorcycle spaces is all of a sudden an intrusion into the free market.

    Besides, I bet most of the private lot owners, as well as the city folks, had never thought to accommodate scooters or motorcycles. Most seem oblivious to anything other than what they’ve always done. – SLP]

  14. Jim Zavist says:

    With pay stations, it’s no longer necessary to have parallel parking spaces striped at a certain length, as is now the case with meters. It’s actually an advantage to have a shorter car, since you can squeeze into smaller spaces. My only gripe with the pay stations in Denver is the cost – they charge more per hour than the meters they replaced, and while they take credit and debit cards, there’s something like a $2 minimum, as well.



  15. publiceye says:

    Sounds good. I know that Treasurer is getting ready to install some PAD test units.

    Some questions, though:

    What is the replacement cost of a vandalized pay-station? What wireless infrastructure do they require? How much cash does each one hold?

    [REPLY You are the one with a contract with the Treasurer’s office (per Mayor Slay campaign finance reports) perhaps you could answer questions.

    I know know the answers. Clearly the machines are more costly than a basic meter. And other criteria probably depends upon if you accept credit/debit cards or not. In all the cities I’ve visited I’ve yet to see one of these vandalized. – SLP]

  16. amber says:

    I know this really isn’t about the Vespatition (which I did sign). I ran into your blog a few weeks ago when I was looking around at purchasing a scooter. I did purchase a Stella a few weeks ago and am preparing to get my Motorcycle license. I was wondering if you have any advice about the best way to go about getting licensed, and what I need to do this. The Missouri DMV website is highly unhelpful when it comes to local resources for lessons and such. Any advice you may have would be appreciated. Thanks!

  17. Matilda says:

    ohh…nice post but really?/? 😛


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