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Political Insider Blocks Path of Sidewalk with SUV, Defense Caught on Video

October 26, 2007 Accessibility, Downtown, Parking, Politics/Policy 39 Comments

Arriving at City Hall this morning I spotted an SUV parked smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk along Tucker Blvd — in such a way that someone in a wheelchair or mobility scooter could not pass by:


That is my scooter (aka motorized bicycle per state law) in the very far left. As you can see, it is parked way out of the line of travel along the sidewalk. The black Acura MDX, however, is directly in the path of pedestrians and anyone that might be using a mobility device to get around. Who would be so insensitive as to park in the pedestrian path?


Getting in closer we can see that it really would be a challenge for some to get around this vehicle.


From another angle we can see the challenge someone might face.


From the rear we can see how close the planers are on the right, forcing pedestrians to alter their direct course. So again, who would do this?


The placard on the dash indicates a member of the Metropolitan St. Louis Taxi Commission — on official business! I had my thoughts but I couldn’t confirm it because I have no way to track vehicles.

Once at the Board of Alderman meeting my suspicion was nearly confirmed. Taxi commissioner, political insider, political consultant, and lobbyist Lou Hamilton was coming in and out of the BoA chambers. Still, this was not proof that this vehicle was his.
However, I was downstairs on the phone in the rotunda of city hall when Hamilton was heading to the exit. I quickly ended my call and headed out the door. Hamilton stopped just outside, to light up a cig, and I continued to my scooter. I had my camera out and was ready. I think he spotted me but I wasn’t about to leave. I figured I could wait him out.

The video explains the rest pretty well:


Not blocking the sidewalk? The pictures and video seem to show otherwise!

Basically the aldermen were afraid to be seen getting into his SUV to head to lunch — can’t say that I blame them. Let’s see, it was back in 2006 that Ald. Florida, Gregali and Kirner were part of a motorcade that included Hamilton, this was first described by Dave Drebes on March 3, 2006 and later by the RFT on April 5, 2006:

The aldermanic trio weren’t the only local VIPs who received special treatment on February 24. Public relations executive and mayoral lobbyist Lou Hamilton and his wife, Mayor’s Ball chair Tricia Roland-Hamilton, departed city hall that evening in a dark SUV with a blue light flashing atop its dashboard.

Lou Hamilton could not be reached for comment.

I didn’t see any emergency lights on Hamilton’s Acura, maybe it is his wife’s vehicle?

Hamilton is chairman of the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission — the very commission that continues to have a taxi stand set up in front of our convention center. Despite repeated private requests & public blog posts to remove the taxi stand, it has not happened. It seems clear that chairman Hamilton doesn’t place much value on pedestrians but and is willing to use his ‘official business’ placard to justify parking directly in the path of pedestrians. This personal philosophy must be why the taxi commission, under his leadership, has refused to yank the taxi’s off the sidewalk.

For the purposes of disclosure, Hamilton’s former company, Vigilant Communications, was hired by Ald Dorothy Kirner when I challenged her for the 25th Ward seat in the Spring of 2005.


Currently there are "39 comments" on this Article:

  1. john says:

    Can anyone say “auto-dependency and parking” issues aren’t creating other problems? Law violations? Too funny… thanks Steve for exposing the truth! But I have pictures of even police doing this and blocking sidewalks as they get their coffee and donuts. No doubt StL is govern by auto-dependencies to an extreme. And yes most auto users expect, and demand with aggresive driving, special privileges. Perhaps the majority of commentators are part of this addicted group but won’t confess to it. To do so would be to admit that they are part of the problem and a major cause of why builders create these ugly/poorly designed developments with large parking lots. Any bets?

    [SLP — So true!  The funny thing is, and I should have pointed it out, the beige building seen in the background when Hamilton gets into his SUV is the where the offices of the Taxi Commission are located.]

  2. Jack says:

    [sarcasm]Obviously where the SUV was parked wasn’t really a side walk, but a former exit ramp. Besides, who in their right mind would be out walking in the rain, let alone using an electric mobility scooter in the rain. Sheesh![/sarcasm]

    Its a shame that city officials can bend and break the law as they see fit. Like when police cars pull up to a light in the right-turn lane and zoom through the intersection when the light changes to green.

  3. Nick Kasoff says:

    The reason he was forced to park there is that we don’t have enough parking at city hall. I’m sure if you had checked, you’d find that there wasn’t a single open space in the entire lot, or at any of the other public lots within a reasonable distance from city hall. It is shameful that you would mock a public servant who was forced to make such a terrible sacrifice while on official business. What we need is a multi-level parking lot next door to city hall. Or if that is too expensive, there are two square blocks of unused land, along Tucker just to the north of city hall, which could be turned into surface lots. (To see this area, click on the map link below – it’s the area labeled “Aloys P. Kauffman Park”)


  4. Even with the plethora of parking downtown city officials park illegally? Hey Steve, next time I get a parking ticket I am using this to show selective enforcement.

    [SLP — That won’t get you very far in traffic court.  What you need to do is create your own placard.  Be creative — make it look real.  I have more examples from January when employees of the Circuit Attorney and Sheriff were parking on the sidewalk along 14th — see that post.  Of course making false parking placards is as bad blocking the sidewalk — neither is actually recommended.]

  5. David says:

    I have a question. Steve, how do you come across issues like these? Do people call you? Or do you just stumble onto them? You should actually recruit people and give them cameras to follow the major city officials through out the day making sure they act ethical from the moment they step out of their house. Kind of like a quasi-paparazzi for St. Louis.

    [SLP — I just go about my life and I see things along the way.  The last thing I want to do is organize a local paparazzi for this kinda of stuff.]

  6. stlmama says:

    Although the bottom parking lot for city hall is usually full by 9, I have never seen the upper lot (most easily accessed by turning in on the west side of city hall) completely full and I go by it and/or use it routinely. No one is forced to make a terrible sacrifice (I hope that was sarcasm because it makes no sense, Nick) and park on the sidewalk, although they might be forced to walk a bit farther than they would like. They could try to enjoy it, since there are people who would love to be able to walk who can’t.

  7. Jim Zavist says:

    Three words – the Arrogance Of Power!

  8. Michael Allen says:

    I wonder why we allow any parking at all in front of City Hall. City Hall is a public treasure, and the front side of it is spoiled with asphalt, parking, gates, guard houses and other unsightly trappings. The image it broadcasts of our city is one of the same carelessness as you capture in the video. Isn’t this city great enough to care about?

  9. Lou Hamilton says:

    Mr. Patterson may be surprised that I am in agreement with him on the issue of where my car was parked on Friday.

    It does occur to me, however, that a few personal choices of Mr. Patterson warrant their own scrutiny. Fair is Fair, Steve-Oh:

    What you failed to detail in your Flog was that your own vehicle – excuse me, “scooter” was illegally parked in a restricted area in front of City Hall – and when referencing the statutory description of “motorized bicycle,” you forgot to self-admit that you deliberately and flagrantly violate city ordinances regulating the operation of such vehicles on city streets by, among other things, failing to follow the following section of the Revised Code of the City of Saint Louis. To wit:

    17.18.060 Equipment for motorcycle or motorized bicycle riders.
    B. No person shall operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle unless such motorized bicycle is equipped with a red or orange flag measuring not less than twelve inches by twelve inches. Such flag shall extend not less than forty-eight inches in height above that portion of the seat occupied by the operator.

    Additionally, Mr. Patterson’s encyclopedic knowledge of City Ordinances apparently fails to include the following items which appear to govern his use of reserved parking spaces within the secured front circle of City Hall where he customarily parks his own scooter:

    17.24.070 Prohibited parking

    Q. At any place where official signs prohibit parking, except for a period of time not longer than is necessary for delivery or pickup of passengers or materials and in no case longer than fifteen (15) minutes or where parking is prohibited during the hours of seven a.m. to nine a.m. or four p.m. to six p.m.;

    Note: there is signage that indicates the area as “restricted parking”

    17.58.010 Area designated.

    The Building Commissioner is hereby authorized to designate parking spaces in the areas located beneath City Hall and the municipal courts building, the area thirty-five (35) feet to the west of City Hall, the area twenty-five (25) feet by eighty-three (83) feet at the north end of Washington Square, the driveway between the City jail and the building directly south of the jail and the area between the City Hall and the west line of Twelfth Street and to issue permits for the privilege of parking vehicles in certain designated spaces therein. Stickers shall be issued by the Building Commissioner for the purpose of identification of permit holders. The Building Commissioner is authorized to require the permittee to place said stickers upon the windshield of the permittee’s vehicle in order that it may be readily identified. All such permits shall expire on January first next following the date of issuance, and may be revoked at any time at the discretion of the Building Commissioner. (Ord. 55422 § 1, 1969: 1960 C. § 884.010.)

    Note: This section of the code regulates parking in the spaces beneath City Hall, as well as to the east and west of the building itself, precisely where Mr. Patterson freely acknowledges having parked his scooter.

    17.58.020 Permit required.

    No person shall park any vehicle on said property in those spaces designated for parking without first having obtained a permit therefore from the Building Commissioner, nor shall any person park any vehicle in any place not designated for such person by the Building Commissioner. (Ord. 55422 § 2, 1969: 1960 C. § 884.020.)

    17.58.030 Violation tag–Issuance.

    The parking meter division of the Treasurer’s office is hereby authorized to issue parking tags when any vehicle is found parked in violation of this chapter. The parking meter division shall notify the owner or driver of the illegally parked vehicle by handing a parking violation tag to him or affixing such a tag on the vehicle. (Ord. 55422 § 3, 1969: 1960 C. § 884.030.)

    Finally, in his attempt to inflame readers of his Flog – I mean Blog – Mr. Patterson again criticizes the Metropolitan Saint Louis Taxi Commission for the location of a taxi stand in front of America’s Center.

    While both this writer, and the Taxi Commission itself may agree with Mr. Patterson’s position that the America’s Center taxi stand is problematic, it is troubling that he conveniently chooses to ignore previous communications with him that pointed out the sections of Missouri Law that established the Taxi Commission and which make eminently clear that the sole authority for designating taxi stands rests with municipal government and not the Commission. Mr. Patterson, engaging in his typical disingenuous pattern, chooses to adopt as fact only that with which he agrees.

    Further, he ignores the ongoing and quite productive efforts of the Taxi Commission and its staff to preserve and increase convenient, safe and logical locations for taxicab stands within our District.

    So Steve, you are right to criticize my choice of parking space on Friday, and I applaud you for your earnestness. However, because you have a troubling habit of reporting things only through your own limited prism, I will have to modify my applause and deliver it with only one hand clapping.

    Oh, and by the way, I was not hired by Dorothy Kirner to run her campaign, I volunteered – because she and her family have been personal friends of mine for more than 25 years, and because I could not stand by and watch you try to bully a 70 year old woman. I figured early on that you would under-estimate Dorothy, but I didn’t realize that your tin ear would so miscalculate the affection and appreciation that her neighbors and constituents have for the years of service and dedication she has given to her community.

    You really do have some good ideas; it’s unfortunate that your belligerent demeanor keeps reasonable people from wanting to deal with you.

    Blog me, flog me, stalk me. Just keep scooting around town in your own inimitable, pedantic ways and you will surely save the world.

    Lou Hamilton

  10. insider says:

    steve, why dont you report these stories when the media parks on the sidewalk? channel 4 parks in front of city hall like that ALL the time?

  11. Adam says:

    “…I could not stand by and watch you try to bully a 70 year old woman…”
    “Blog me, flog me, stalk me.”
    “…I will have to modify my applause and deliver it with only one hand clapping.”
    how dramatic, mr. hamilton! too bad the hyperbole makes it sound cheesy instead of educated. please don’t compare parking a scooter on the sidewalk – out of the pedestrian right-of-way – to parking an SUV in the MIDDLE of the sidewalk, signage or not. so good of you to admit fault. if you’re sincere you won’t do it again.

  12. shocked and in awe says:


  13. shocked and in awe says:

    The ugly concrete building at Memorial and Market needs a visit from you Steve. It is the building (which has Channel 4 & East-West Gateway Council of Governments) is notorious for having cars park on their sidewalks along Memorial!!! It looks like a darn parking lot. I hope you address this if you get time. Cars are parked on the sidewalk during business hours M-F.

  14. Nick Kasoff says:

    A square foot flag at least four feet above the seat? That has to be the stupidest regulation I’ve ever heard.

  15. thoughts from south grand says:

    I like the music on the video clip – sounds kind of “cop show like” these insiders can smoke me, they have been the biggest problem with this town for years and have been keeping the entire region down with their tomfoolery and petty turf wars

  16. dude says:

    Right, wrong, legal, and illegal are 4 different things. I’ll spare listing the differences. That’s great Lou you have the city ordinances to justify creating an obstruction on the sidewalk, which your bitterness from your response does match the arrogance it would take to make such a parking decision. The picture says a thousand words, and when the ordinance was written, I doubt they intended to allow such a maneuver. I’d say you’re making a great campaign of getting those privileges revoked. You were clearly in the wrong. In the video you’re not all smiles and hand-shakes. You look guilty.
    The whole flag 4 feet from the top of the seat… Do law maker’s live in their own world or do they ever step out into reality? I thought crime fighting was supposed to occupy the police force’s resources or at least that’s what the law abiding citizens I suppose thinks. Stopping murders, rapes, drug deals, arsons, larcenies, roberies, or tragic car accidents like the one Thursday night by Lafayette Park. Point is, everyone intuitively knows the city police have something “better” to do. Citing resourceful folks riding 49cc scooters who a slap-stick city administration doesn’t allocate parking for would be a poor use of the city’s precious resources. By the way, you shouldn’t smoke. To quote may Dad, “To pay for some one to give you cancer is a little silly, but to pay State and Federal taxes on it is downright stupid.” Also, bring a umbrella if it rains. I’m assuming you have a law degree. You’d think you’d be smart enough not have people remind you of such things.
    Steve, it’s people like you who the first amendment was written for.

  17. Adam says:

    ok, the definition is “exaggerated statements not meant to be taken literally” but i was using it to mean simply “exaggerated statements.” i assume mr. hamilton did, indeed, intend for his statements to be taken literally. while lyrics like “Blog me, flog me, stalk me” may work in a rock song, they sound pretty contrived in conversation.

  18. Jim Zavist says:

    . . . but it you got rid of those planters, you’d then have room for this AND the occasional wheelchair! 😉

  19. Jim Zavist says:

    And yeah, the law about the foot-square flag is real – it’s there for everyone’s safety, even if it makes the riders of “motorized bicycles” look like dorks! I guess it’s enforcement (or lack thereof) is just another case of priorities and “selective” (a.k.a prioritized) enforcement . . . if you don’t like the law, get it changed or get it repealed!

    [SLP — The square foot flag thing is something I will address in more detail later.  However, this was intended, I believe, to apply to those little pocket bikes that were all the rage a couple of years ago.  They are very small and hard to see — that is entirely different than more grown up sizes.  For example, Yamaha makes a model called the Vino — very similar in size to mine.  They have both a 49cc and 125cc model —- in the same physical size body.  Engine displacement does not affect visibility.  It was poorly written legislation — hastily put together by people that don’t really understand the subject.  Again, the target was those little pocket bikes.]

  20. john says:

    One of the main reasons why the StL region fails to grow and prosper is the attitudes of its people. Elected/appointed/voluntary leadership has selected vision and too often uses public resources to finance personal prerogatives (especially in writting ordinances-codes) that inevitably favors one group over another. Too often the “unfavored” (or unintentionally overlooked if you prefer the StL excuse) group gets literally nothing. Remember Steve’s problem with parking a scooter in Clayton? The community leadership cannot even recognize scooter drivers as a legitimate citizen and therefore writes ordinances which do not address parking for such a vehicle.
    The same story exists for cyclists. Street planners-designers refuse to incorporate bike lanes and other infrastructure necessities into their plans and thus cyclists are discriiminated against on a grand scale. But even worse, this lack of political representation leads to a set of auto drivers which also fails to recognize the rights of cyclists to share the road with them.
    The failure of leadership to educate the public on their rights and responsibilities is the self-destructive management principle that is killing the region. This fact is omnipresent in the marketing-building og the New I64.
    It doesn’t stop there though. Even when MetroLink was being built through my neighborhood, the design plans (approved by both Metro and civic leaders) failed to replace the sidewalks that my children use to walk to school. My wife and I were able to convince the engineers that was absurd and we finally got them installed… no thanks to the elected leaders though.
    Limited vision begets limited results.

  21. dude says:

    Jim, the square flag isn’t going to get repealed. It will just sit on the books unenforced just like our illegal immigration laws.

  22. Lou Hamilton says:

    Hey Dude..you completely missed it.

    My posting was pretty clear. I parked inappropriately. Black and White…didnt try to justify anything.

    What I did (try to) point out was that if I was good for the criticism, then certainly Patterson should be as well.

    What comes across however, is the same old sanctimonious crap that he blathers about saint louis all the time….this is bad, thats bad, the leadership doesent listen….etc.

    When I point out about the scooter flag, which I agree is marginally important, instead of saying, yeah, its true, I should have that on my scooter as long as it is the law, he says he explains that the ordinance wasnt really intended for his type of transit.

    Look, as a subsequent poster said, if you dont like the ordinance, make a case, take it to the aldermen and ask them to fix what you dont like, and if you make a credible argument, chances are they will try.

    Ulike so many of the posters on this site, the aldermen would be the first to admit that their opinions and ideas arent infallible.

    In the meantime, its either a law or its not.
    If its a law, obey it.

    I said my choice of parking was not appropriate, and I wont park there again.

    Can the same be said about Steve?

    Will you acknowledge that in fact the ordinance(s) do apply to you, and abide appropriately until you can get the ordinance updated? Or, like Sherman George, are you going to venue/opinion shop until you can get someone to agree with you?

    Contribute something more than opinion. Otherwise you will remain in the category of a sexual intellectual — in local parlance that translates into “fucking Know-It-All”

    [SLP — LOL, I think I’ve struck a status quo nerve. Anyway, the issue on the flag depends upon where you look. For example, the online definition of “motorized bicycle” reads as:

    17.02.315 Motorized bicycle.

    “Motorized bicycle” means any two-wheeled or three-wheeled device having fully operative pedals capable of propulsion by human power, an automatic transmission and a motor with a cylinder capacity of not more than fifty cubic centimeters, which produces less than two gross brake horsepower, and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than thirty miles per hour on level ground. (Ord. 58448 § 2 (part), 1981: Ord. 57831 § 1 (part), 1979: 1960 C. § 820.295.) (Note:emphasis added).

    So someone with a 49cc scooter that lacks pedals would not assume they need this silly flag thing, right? After all, they looked it up and it doesn’t seem to apply to them does it? However, it seems, the city has failed to update this definition relative to Ordinance 66692 passed in mid 2005 which changed the definition to:

    17.02.315 Motorized bicycle.”Motorized bicycle” shall mean any two- or three-wheeled device having an automatic transmission and a motor with a cylinder capacity of not more than fifty cubic centimeters, which produces less than three gross brake horsepower, and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than thirty miles per hour on level ground, except those devices used by persons with disabilities for the purpose of mobility.

    When a citizen goes online to review the city’s codes they shouldn’t really have to wonder if an ordinance was passed that changed the code but the city failed to update the code per the ordinance. You look it up and confirm what is relevant. The above removes the references to pedals, as those annoying pocket bikes popular at the time, didn’t have pedals. So they removed that language without realizing the consequences of the action. They also, in doing so, exempted mobility devices. Interestingly enough, it is the mobility devices that often have the flags as these are lower to the ground and travel at slower speeds — increased visibility is important to safety. But the aldermen, in their wisdom, exempted these devices while including 49cc Vespas, Hondas, Yamahas, Aprilias and so on.

    Citizens typically work to change legislation when it affects them. To date this has not affected me or anyone else I know. If the police decide to enforce this requirement then we’ll work to change it. It is one thing to ignore a city code that has not been properly updated, was hastily passed and wasn’t even intended for your vehicle as opposed to just being a dumb ass and park in an obvious line of pedestrians.]

  23. Jim Zavist says:

    The flag requirement was put in place based on engine size, not vehicle size. 49cc is a tiny engine, capable of, at most, with most scooters, 30-35 mph. The flag is intended to warn “normal” traffic of the presence of a slower vehcle, not a smaller one. And BTW, the “pocket bikes” are both illegal for highway use and stupid to use on city streets for the reasons you enumerated, primarily being hard to see and being operated my immature people of any age.

    [SLP — Uh, no. I’m reviewing the history now and the flag requirement was not in place when BB24 was introduced in April 2005.  Nor was it there when a “committee substitute” bill was accepted (BB24FS).  The flag thing came about as a “floor substitute” (BB24FS) which means it got added at the last minute on the floor of the Board of Aldermen without the benefit of public hearing on the issue.

    Keep in mind that bicycles are not required to have flags, nor are mobility devices.  Bicycles are much slower than scooters yet are legal vehicles in all states.  Adding a motor to a bicycle or having a motorized assisted bicycle (both on the market) would suddenly then require a flag?  This was a last minute change to a bill without the benefit of a hearing to understand the consequences of their actions.]

  24. john says:

    The suggestion “to change it or get it repealed” sounds easy and simple, but it is not, for the final result depends on the sincerity of leadership.
    The suggestion “not to be in the category of sex…intell…” has been taken seriously by many, including myself. Contrary to recommendations, leadership made the revisions worse not better. It became quite clear, in more than one case, that leaders were trying to favor some over others. Once the process began, they failed to contact me and others involved in order to circumvent the “unfavored” input. Bottom line, supposedly sincere and honest attempts to improve regulations are often thwarted by favoritism and/or ignorance.
    Rule enforcement (not rule writing) is something that cannot be read but only understood through experience and observation. If a law enforcement officer, code official, etc. wants to “selectively” enforce poorly written rules, he has every right to do so. If an officer believes that your scooter is required to have a flag and doesn’t, he can still ticket you.
    The “If it’s a law, obey it” implies that laws are equally and fairly enforced. Ever try to get a law enforcement official to enforce the laws against another law-breaking officer or elected leader? There’s a web site for police oficers who do this and they have a special section titled “Dick of the Month”…wonder what that means?
    In the end, you may win in court like I have but it’s expensive in time and money. But of course those results are exactly what leadership intended. Meanwhile, the region and its people must endure wasteful and insincere government.

  25. “because I could not stand by and watch you try to bully a 70 year old woman.”

    Ha! Quite the victim.

    Regardless of this scooter flag debate, only an individual bereft of common sense would park where Lou did. There is no reason to block pedestrian traffic by parking between sidewalks. We have plenty of parking available.

  26. stlmark says:

    I truly credit this man for reading this post, admitting he was wrong and pledging not to park on the sidewalk again. Yet, my intuition tells me that if Steve had not caught him red handed and brought this to light, he would indeed consider parking there again.

  27. Nick Kasoff says:

    Lou Hamilton wrote:

    > Look, as a subsequent poster said, if you dont like the ordinance, make a
    > case, take it to the aldermen and ask them to fix what you dont like, and
    > if you make a credible argument, chances are they will try.

    Wow, that’s a good one. One of my clients is in the delivered storage business, and we actually tried to “take it to the aldermen” when the city was proposing regulations on that. Operators were totally open to restrictions on how long you could leave them at a home, how much curb space you could occupy, and so forth. The city was intent on implementing a permit program that was so costly that St. Louis residents would pay nearly double what everyone else in the metropolitan area pays. After corresponding and meeting with the bill’s sponsor, the BOA did what they always do – go for the cash. As a result, my client simply does not do business in the city anymore.

    If this is the result that a group of businessmen with the time (and lawyers) to deal with this sort of thing can expect, what hope is there for the ordinary citizen with no connections?

  28. citywmn says:

    I assume people who park inappropriately are exempt from the requirement to use their turn signal to turn left and change lanes and merge into traffic….or perhaps Lou’s blinking signal light just didn’t show up on the video.

  29. Jim Zavist says:

    I guess I got my cities wrong on the history of the flag requirement, but the two points remain the same. One, the flag is required for “safety”, much like how a fluorescent triangle is required on farm equipment and horse-drawn vehicles (but not on horses). Two, if the law is stupid, unfair in its application or not enforced, it should be amended or removed, not left for selective (non-) enforcement. I get it, the flag doesn’t make much sense, and if it does, it should be required on ALL non-automotive vehicles, including non-motorized bicycles, riding lawnmowers and wheeelchairs, to name just few potential members of that universe. Remember, we’re (becoming more and more) the nanny state – we gotta protect people from their own (and others’) stupidity, not require personal responsibility for some of the basics in life, like paying attention while you drive and considering the impact of ones’ actions and actually caring that they may be negatively affecting others!

    [SLP — The flag thing was about safety —- increased visibility for those really really short little pocket bikes that were hard to see as they would whip out of alleys and around corners.  The flag thing got added at the last minute on the floor — after public hearings on the bill.  We could argue that your Miata is not visible to SUV drivers due to being so low to the ground — maybe it needs a flag  to be more visible to Hummer drivers?]

  30. Linda says:

    I parked my 49cc scooter kinda where yours is Steve back in September while doing some biz at city hall. There were no available spots on the street AND (and this kills me) you can’t park in the paid lot at city hall if you have a scooter.

  31. Jim Zavist says:

    Steve – Note, I said “safety” in parentheses. I agree, I don’t think the flag should be required. I think motorists need to pay more attention to their driving, just as I think scooter operators need to use good judgement and not ride on roads where they can’t keep up with the speed limit/flow of traffic. (It shouldn’t require legislation on either side, much like how I voluntarily won’t ride my bike on busy multi-lane steets if there are parallel alternatives.) I also didn’t have any input into the current law nor does it impact me directly. That’s why I would not object to the BoA removing the current requirement as it applies to scooters with engines smaller than 50cc. That said, you’ve been a frequent and ardent advocate for letting motor scooters park on the sidewalk (which I personally object to) because, legally, they meet the definition of a “motorized bicycle”.  Put simply, live by the sword, die by the sword.  You can’t expect the laws to be selectively applied to YOUR situation when you rail against the laws being applied selectively to other people’s situations . . .

    [SLP — I can’t help that nobody has ticketed me for not possessing a flag on my scooter.  I’m tempted to look up an officer and ask him to give me a citation so that I can fight it.  As for the sidewalk parking, you would not object to parking one of my bicycles in the same location?  What if I bought one of Schwinn’s new electric bicycles?  After all, it has a motor!  I would never dream of parking a registered/licensed scooter/motorcycle on a sidewalk but I don’t think most of them warrant consuming a full automobile parking space — that would simply spread us out further and require more paving.  By me parking on the sidewalk, out of the way, that leaves a big space for Mr. Hamilton to park his luxury SUV.]  

  32. Jim Zavist says:

    Steve – you’re forcing me to show my libertarian leanings. While I personally don’t like to see motorized vehicles of any type parked on the sidewalk, I’m not leading the effort for the government to crack down on these transgessions. Mr. Hamilton made a mistake, “got caught” and apologized. Part of the reason it’s become an issue in this forum is that he’s politcally connected and you and other people rightfully expect him to be held to a higher standard. Unfortunately, being the one “that’s pushing the hornet’s nest” puts you in the spotlight, as well. I think it would be great for you to ask to get cited for not displaying all the “safety equipment” required under city law. If nothing else, it would start the discussion about the absurdity of too many local laws, rules and regulations!

    [SLP — Yes, agreed.  I’m in the spotlight and I should be held to the same standard.  I’m not sure if libertarians can draw a line between common  sense and the letter of the law — that is where I am.  Even if no law prohibits an SUV driver from blocking the sidewalk it doesn’t make any sense.  Conversely, even if the law requires a flag because the legislators at the last minute added language they didn’t realize the implications doesn’t mean it is logical or practical.   I’ve gotten a parking ticket too for parking my scooter on the street —- for easily sharing a space with a car.  If I can find it around here I will scan it and post it.  The city, Clayton and others all act like my scooter should occupy a full parking space — a very one size fits all solution.]

  33. john says:

    Rules should be fairly enforced and personally I don’t believe any elected or appointed official should be held to a higher standard. However, read the code and get it straight guys: Clayton rules (unless they’ve been updated recently) does not permit you to park a scooter in a metered parking spot.
    Clayton Code:
    Parking meter space: Any space within a parking meter zone, adjacent to a parking meter and which is duly designated for the parking of a single vehicle by lines painted or otherwise durably marked on the curb or on the surface of the street adjacent to or adjoining the parking meters.
    Parking meter zone: Any restricted street upon which parking meters are installed and in operation.
    Vehicle: Any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, except a device which is operated upon rails or tracks.
    Since a small engine scooter cannot drive highway speeds it is not considered a vehicle in Clayton codes and thus cannot use a parking meter space. Hopefully the community will address the definition of a vehicle.
    As long as attorneys are in control of legislation, it is unlikely that these rules will be simplified.

  34. I will have only one simple question for the BoA when discussing the flag law – why was the current law(s) – the one forbidding non DOT-compliant, non FHSTA-certified vehicles from operating on public streets in the first place – not enforced to handle the “pocket bike” and motorized skateboard thingies issue? There are probably countless ways that the operators of these vehicles could be cited and kept off the streets – afore-mentioned DOT compliance, noise ordinance, “disturbing the peace” or whatever else a LEO could dream up. etc.
    And Jim – if you’re so put off by scooters on the sidewalk, I would advise you to never travel to Europe – you may just pop an artery! lol 😉

  35. quote: “Vehicle: Any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, except a device which is operated upon rails or tracks.
    Since a small engine scooter cannot drive highway speeds it is not considered a vehicle in Clayton codes and thus cannot use a parking meter space. Hopefully the community will address the definition of a vehicle.”

    incorrect. “Highway” is actually defined as pretty much any roadway. not as in “interstate highway system”

    So Steve is correct – a scooter (licensed or not, apparently) is a “Vehicle” and you are required to take up on whole parking spot with your teeny tiny 49cc moped or else face the wrath of the Clayton Cushman servi-car meter-maid brigade.

    Whatever happened to that “Clayton scooter park-in” idea that was being tossed around?

  36. Dave says:

    Just as an added data point, I remember having a 49cc moped from age 14-16 in Iowa. The state law in Iowa states: “A moped must be equipped with a safety flag that extends not less than 5 feet above the ground attached to the rear of the moped. The safety flag must be triangular in shape, with an area of not less than 30 square inches, and be Day-Glo in color.” The flag itself was frequently stolen, usually while parked at the high school, and I did get teased plenty. But I had freedom so to hell with them. But with the St. Louis law, there seems to be inconsistencies in the ordinances which confuse matters. Not to mention use of a 12″x12″ flag? Ok then!

    And Lou, was it necessary to be so crass and insulting? I don’t believe Steve was attacking you, just the behavior and how he perceived it transcending into the taxi stand issue. You might have gained more respect from people had you responded more constructively. As far as the taxi stand issue, what if it went away? How would it affect conventioners and others obtaining taxi service? Perhaps there are no perfect solutions and having the taxi stand there is just the best compromise.

    Blog me, flog me, stalk me? Ha, sounds like Brittany Spears or Christina Aguilera lyrics. Maybe you’ve got something there!

  37. Jillian says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that Mr. Hamilton and his taxicabs are allowed to park on the sidewalk. They are also allowed to park in no parking zones and in front of fire hydrants. It seems to be a common practice in this city. I’m sure this is not the first time Mr. Hamilton has used his placard to illegally park and it won’t be his last. It’s really not about public access and safety….it’s about self-imposed importance and money. What laws, and it’s more that just the parking ordinances, our normal citizens have to abide by are not the same that our leaders and businesses need to abide by. Hamilton says he’s on official business and there was no where else to park. If I’m on official business, say jury duty, am I allowed to park on the sidewalk if I have no where to park? Not if I don’t want my car towed. Look at these car lots around town. Not only do they get to park on the sidewalk or half on the sidewalk, often times obstructing the view of oncoming traffic, they get to do it without using their dealer plates which is required by the State. We’ve got a business in the neighborhood that allow cars to park on the grass when there is ample, legal parking right on the street. In allowing them to do so, it just makes people in this city look like a bunch of rednecks. My neighbor parked in her backyard, on grass, because the business up the street was taking up all the residential parking. Did she get a break? Was the business required to find other parking? No to both. Just another break for yet another business. Bring it up to your alderman. If you are not a business or developer, my alderman doesn’t even want to be bothered. I’ve tried. Couldn’t care less. When I called to complain about a developer and the public safety issue they were causing, the only response I got from my alderman was what the property was going to sell for. That right there showed me where my alderman’s priorities were. Like I said, laws are only for SOME people. If you try to fight it, a simple law written so clearly that even a second grader could understand it, is up to interpretation, according to the police (first hand experience). One last comment for Mr. Hamilton….. It’s a shame that when you respond to a comment, you must resort to spewing your potty mouth. Grow up, accept your responsiblilities and make yourself and your business abide by the same laws as the rest of us.

  38. Steven Smith says:

    The proper way to park on a sidewalk in Saint Louis is not w/ an Acura SUV. The proper way is with a black Lincoln Town Car or Continental, a Cadillac of any model (except Cimmaron) or a late model Mercury Marauder maybe Grand Marquis. Better yet, have a guy drive you around that will make sure that the guys with the cameras take pictures of prettier things like the beautiful City Hall and the Serra sculpture.

  39. Herb says:

    An article from the NYT you may find amusing about pedestrian activism in Athens.


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