Home » Accessibility »Downtown »Parking » Currently Reading:

Sidewalk Reserved for Circuit Attorney’s Office

January 5, 2007 Accessibility, Downtown, Parking 22 Comments

Walking along 14th Street between Market and Walnut, across from the Kiel Opera House/Scottrade Center one finds an unusual sight, cars parked on a sidewalk. This is not, by the way, some fluke I happened to catch. No, this is routine parking for city employees, mostly those in the Circuit Attorney’s office. I have driven past this numberous times and not really noticed but recently Ecology of Absence did a post on this subject so while I was down there today I snapped a few pictures (ok, 24 in total).

14thsidewalk - 01.jpg

Above you can begin to see cars along the sidewalk, taking up more than half its width. Vehicles are also parked in the right turn lane. The adjacent Municipal Courts building (left in above image) is currently vacant and awaiting renovation into a hotel.

14thsidewalk - 17.jpg

In total six vehicles were parked along this stretch of sidewalk, all displaying a notice on their dash indicating “official business.” All were from the Circuit Attorney’s office except for a couple which were from the Sheriff’s office and one from the St. Louis Redevelopment Authority. The SUV above was my favorite, the owner did a great job of centering the vehicle so as to make it hard for someone using a wheelchair or mobility scooter to get by.

14thsidewalk - 02.jpg

Above is an example of the type of authorization shown on the dashboard of these vehicles. I can see allowing some liberty on the streets when out on official business but not as a license to park on the sitewalk.
14thsidewalk - 21.jpg

This is the best shot, the sign reads, “Reserved Parking Circuit Attorney’s Office Only. Tow-Away Zone.” So you or I should not park on the sidewalk or we might get towed for preventing other vehicles from parking on the sidewalk. All this across the street from the home of the St. Louis Blues and a block from a major transit hub, what must visitors to our city think of us?

I sent an email to Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce before 3pm this afternoon asking for any comment on this issue, at this time I have not heard back from her.

[UPDATE 1/8/07 @ 3pm: St. Louis’ KMOV Channel 4 is doing a story on this issue on their 6pm news (1/8/07).  See follow-up post.]


Currently there are "22 comments" on this Article:

  1. michael says:

    easing back to st. louis from florida
    what happened or is happening to the kiel opera house?
    is it still just an empty hulk?

  2. Maurice says:

    Now here you go Steve…uncovering (or making public) an obvious flagrant abuse of power. Yes, parking is tight downtown and no one likes to walk too far for anything (regardless of what office they have)….but is it necessary to block the entire sidewalk? NO

    Why aren’t they taking the metered spots like the police do just around the corner.

    Even if the sidewalk is not used much during the day is absolutly no excuse. This is just plain carelessness and….well you get the picture.

    Oh, and I think they are suppose to be redeveloping the Kiel but I really don’t recall anything since Breckenridge pased away.

  3. john says:

    Mainly a picture of one but others clearly abusing public property. It’s probably just a few of those urban folks who don’t know how to parallel park or too lazy to walk a block or two… the city is loaded with them. Good luck… but it is “authorized” abuse!

  4. Tom says:

    Parking is not tight downtown. There is plenty — maybe not at the Front Door. I was in an office on the 12th floor of a downtown building. the top floors of all of the parking garages were empty. The Circuit Attorney should get the cars off the sidewalk. I have been by there before and usually it is the Sheriff’s office vehicles that are parked on the sidewalk.

    Joyce should concentrate on getting convictions of the thugs and delinquents that plague St. Louis and its reputation.

  5. Josh says:

    Maybe the solution here is that if cars are allowed to park on sidewalks, pedestrians should be encouraged to walk in traffic lanes.

  6. urban anarchist says:

    I have a tendency to bump into side-view mirrors a lot and leave them pointing at odd angles when I find vehicles on the sidewalk . . .

  7. Martha Graham says:

    what a bunch of lazy-ass Saint Louisans! No wonder we’re all so fat.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — The offices of the Circuit Attorney’s office are located two blocks to the East, the SE corner of Tucker & Market in the old federal courthouse.  So, the owners of these cars are walking a decent distance.]

  8. Jim Zavist says:

    Still no excuse – they make good money, and they should expect to pay for the privilege of parking downtown, just like private-sector employees. Or, better yet, just use public transit!

  9. equals42 says:

    I paid $95 to park downtown WHEN I LIVED THERE. To think these people get to park for free on a public sidewalk by putting a Xeroxed “official business” paper on their dash is crap. They should take Metro or pay like the rest of us. There is plenty of Parking in the area during business hours due to the Center next door. Does the attorney’s office get charged for the repair of those curbs and sidewalks (which were not designed for vehicle traffic)?

  10. bab says:

    This is a personal pet-peeve of mine as a longtime downtown resident. I have been stewing a long time about the parking ‘priveleges’ of City employees. It is an example of the beaurocratic ‘wink-nudge’ insider-only mentality at its best.

    Any time I walk over to City Hall for business, I note just how much of the available PUBLIC parking around City Hall is abused by those with the photocopied “Official City Business” documents. Hundreds of parking meters on Chestnut, Market, Tucker, 13th, Pine, etc, etc are blocked from public use all day, every day by this provincial process.

    When all the meters are taken, city employees deign themselves important enough to park in crosswalks, at the end of accessible ramps, and in turn lanes.

    How convenient that city employees get themselves free parking at the public’s expense whilst the public, stripped of spaces provided for their use, are forced to pay much more at the City Hall lot in order to do civic business.

    I am reminded of the board members who years ago were abusing their ‘Board of Education Emergency’ stickers to park wherever they wanted, day in and day out. Who ever heard of a ‘Board of Education Emergency’ anyway? What kind of rubes do they take us city residents for? Simply infuriating!

  11. pk says:

    There is plenty of city owned parking in the parking lot directly behind the old criminal courthouse where the sidewalk parking is located, and those signs have been there for years, as the circuit attorney’s office used to be located in that buiilding before the move to the carnahan courhouse in 2001. Why not allow the employees to park in the lot, or would that take up too many spaces and eliminate city revenue? There are so many different signs and plackards in windows taking up parking meters, I dont see the difference.

  12. pk says:

    and to clarify, I don’t think the acutal attorneys get these parking spaces…they are for the investigators who come and go all day. I believe most of the attorneys park at the Keil garage and walk. They do pay for parking.

  13. sorta puts the whole flap about Steve parking his tiny little Honda Metro on the sidewalk into perspective, eh?

  14. Bill says:

    There are not enough parking downtown, those empty garages you speak of are owned by At&T and not for the general public. I work downtown and have to feed the meter ever 2 hours, I wish the city would make the meters up to 8 hours I would still pay the same but I wouldn’t have to go and feed it 4 times a day. The city has a large plot of land just across the street from the Civil Courts Building to the east with what they call “ART” rip that rusted pile of scrap metal out, pave it and charge city employees a monthly fee, hell do a payroll deduction from our pay checks if you want to, I’m willing to pay $50.00 a month if this was done, the first few months the city would recoup the expense of blacktopping the lot, and striping it, the rest would be 100% money in the city’s pocket. If you figure they could get 100 parking spaces on that lot and they could figure 100 X’s 50 a month =’s to be $5,000 a month, X’s 12 =’s to be $60,000 a year, let keep going after 5 years it jumps to $300,000.00 I could go on and on. That pure profit for the city, they may have to clean some snow off every now and again, but think if some one parked there that wasn’t supposed to be they get towed, and well that more money in the city’s pocket. Look I’m not a very educated man, but come on people take a look at the lot. Lets help our city workers and get that pieces of SH-T out and start putting some money in the city’s pocket (as if they need any more) it would at least help out some employees. Just a thought let me know what you all think. If your not familiar with the “ART” I’m speaking of go downtown and take a look. Oh yeah one more thought, most city employees are off work at 5pm not all but most, so on nights there is a Cardinals game rent the spots for 5 bucks, 100 spot X’s $5.00 well you get the picture. Thanks for letting me vent. I just get so frustrated when someone like me can figure out how to help the parking problem and make the city some money………

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Well, I am no more a fan of paved surface parking lots than I am of the art, “Twain.”  Gee, if only they had put underground parking along the Gateway Mall between 9th & 11th. 

    The real solution is to look at all the parking downtown — on-street, surface lots and garages.  There are many streets downtown that don’t have on-street parking yet there is plenty of width to do so.  Furthermore, there are streets that could handle angled parked rather than simply parallel.  Nobody is taking the lead in good parking management practices  in downtown St. Louis. 

    For your situation I suggest you look for places where you can do a monthly lease on a parking space, there must be something you can get for $50/month.  That would free up the metered space for people like myself that need to come downtown on a short term basis.] 

  15. Bill says:

    Well , I must say Im impresed with such a quick response by UrbanReviewSTL, But if there was a paved parking spot instead od the “ART” there would be revenue for the city. just a thought maybe channel 4 news can do a story on that…..

  16. Bill also says:


    I noticed you let Bill 1 slide on the fact that as one of our faithul civil servants he gets up from his desk 4 times a day and takes a 20 minute break to go feed the meter, which of course costs him more money and requires more walking than just parking in a lot somewhere there is space. And let’s be realistic all the city employees are gone at 5 (except Barb G who retreats to her coffin in the basement)

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Yes, I let that one go — I just didn’t feel like attacking a new reader yesterday.  Today, however, is a different story.  How many city employees do we have doing such a thing?  Are their bosses “unaware” of this practice?  On the positive side it does create activity on the street, at least the appearance of pedestrian life.]  

  17. Isn’t “meter feeding” like that illegal as well? I sure as he** got a ticket for it when I worked for CPI/Fox Photo up at Washington & 18th. Even though I had plenty of time on the meter I came back to find a ticket for having been there more than 4 hrs.

  18. Craig says:

    Bill 1, the site on which Twain now sits will be the terminal for the new Market Street airport. Haven’t you seen the plans?

    By the way, take a walk around Twain. It is really a good piece of art (and it would be a lot better without the marks from spray-paint removal).

  19. Bill says:

    Bill also, why the personal attacts, I do go feed the meter 4 times a day, and be sure it doesnt take 20 min, I am allowed breaks and a lunch break and that is when I feed the meter, on my time, so do accuse me of stiffing the city for feed the meter when its my time, Im not out there on break and then go feed the meter when I am at work. I take eception to that. There maybe some people that do that, Im sure more than a few but untill you kbnowlets try and be acurate about who does and does not.

    Im sorry I just get alittle hot under the collar when I am acused of not doing my job, I don’t work close enough to city hall to park on that lot, but for those that do by all mean park there its only $1.00 per hour.

    People should not be parking on the sidewalks it makes the city look like a bunch of bums, but untill the city does something about the parking problem things like are going to continue long after we are gone. I reafirm my earlier post and say rip out that scrap metal and put a parking lot in.

    Thanks for listening, Hope I didn’t ofend anyone, I I did I appolgize.

  20. If anything, St. Louis needs LESS parking and MORE green space. This place looks like ass. I worked downtown for years (and wish I still did) at all kinds of locations and never had any trouble finding parking readily available and for under $2/day. The particular style of “art” may not be your cub of tea, but a plain grassy field with a few benches would be 100x more desireable than another slab of blacktop IMHO. If you have any doubts as to the negative effects of lack of green-space in our environment, look no further than the Oct 2006 issue of National Geographic magazine discussing initiatives in Paris for parks and green space, along with the backing studies.
    If you’re having trouble finding parking downtown OFF-STREET, I contend that either you are not looking hard enough, or are just plain lazy.

  21. GMichaud says:

    How about a mass transit system that works?
    Downtown Helsinki has next to zero surface parking lots. Cities like Helsinki, Stockholm and Berlin fully 70% of the people take transit to the center.
    I want to add that I suggested on the Citizens of Modern Transit blog that they support having EWGCC include several streetcar alternative lines(along with the light rail alternate) in their southside study. I thought if citizens had a real choice between light rail and say a loop route for streetcars, people would get excited about the streetcars.
    What I have found is that Citizens for Modern Transit should be called Citizens for LIght Rail and of course their partners at EWGCC are only interested in light rail. (I guess the big suburban land developers are looking forward to trains to Chesterfield etc)
    No one is paying attention to the inner core transit system. All of this is funny because CMT also has a blog wondering why the area surrounding the transit stops for the new light rail are dead.
    I guess they never considered that city planning and all facets of transit need to be considered when installing new rail lines. (It never ceases to amaze me how these people end up in positions of responsibility)

    Without viable mass transit, that leaves downtown a parking lot, very attractive to all, visitors and residents alike. Hell, let’s just tear down the rest of the buildings downtown and make parking really easy.

  22. doug says:

    Just one note. The city prosecuting attorneys by and large make little money. Low 30’s to start and typical city increases after that. Especially whne you figure in teh cost of law school loans, $95 a month for down town parking is quite a bit. Most hold down 2nd jobs and of course there is high turnover in the office. Of this is more do to excess lawyers in our society, the city is just following economics and taking advantage of the situation.
    Anyway, I do not think that parking on the sidewalk is good. I think the city should take steps to provide some sort of parking for city employees. But I do think that rather than taking it out on the employee’s cars who park, (as suggestedby one post) e-mails should be sent to the people at top such as the city attorney, Joyce, who does make a pretty hefty salary and the benefits of a political position.


Comment on this Article: