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Halliday St. Illegal Parking Pad Fiasco Ends, Portion of Street Likely Given Away

OK, so here is what you do if you buy a property to rehab that has no parking. First, you pave over any bit of yard that exists on a Saturday when you won’t get caught. One of two things will happen, you either get left alone and get to keep the parking or “compromise” and get the alderman to give you a portion of the publicly owned right-of-way for you to include with your property.

I first blogged about this in June of last year (post) and a fourth time in August 2007 (post w/links to other posts). Last month, after wearing down the neighboring residents, something finally happened. The pad, illegally placed in the front yard, began to be removed.
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Now, this sounds wonderful. As we can see from the image below…
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…the pavement is now gone from the front yard after a six month prolonged process. The developer had promised parking to his buyers and rather than face the music for such a commitment the city is going to come along and bail him out — by giving him part of the public street.

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This quiet one-way street in the Tower Grove East neighborhood is about to get some angled parking for the condo residents. I personally have no objection to the switch to angled parking or even issuing them permits for their exclusive use of those spaces. My issue is with the city vacating a portion of the street so it can be given over to private residents. Late last year Ald. Conway confirmed with me that he was trying to get Todd Waelterman, Director of Streets, so sign off on the vacation. I have not received a response from Waelterman that this has indeed happened.

In a city public space, the collective street, sidewalk, etc…, should be valued highly. It is these public rights of way that service as connectors to all privately owned land. It is the use and arrangement of these spaces that define a street as part of a walkable community or simply as a suburban arterial road with no redeeming public value. Cities like St. Louis need to treasure our publicly owned land that we have in our streets and alleys.

 

Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. john says:

    The common question in your stories is this: “Can’t we do better than this? The subsequent question should be: Who’s responsible?
    – –
    Yes public spaces should be valued highly and I would add well-managed. Accountability is a responsibility that must be forced on elected leaders/appointed officials and is not a natural by-product of our local politics.

     
  2. mark r says:

    Yes Public spaces should be protected but we live in St Louis where it seems OK for those we have elected to sell streets and park land as well. Where is the backlash and public outrage ?

     
  3. Bridgett says:

    I live here on Halliday. I am happy about the idea of angled parking (it tends to freak people out, they might slow down or stop going down our street as often or as mind-boggling fast). Five angled spaces at the bottom of the hill is something I am looking forward to. And on Victor, they have assigned parking for the buildings. I can see your difference here, that we are essentially letting the owners of the condos have the spaces. This whole thing, this whole 10 month ordeal–it made me tired. It made me want to move. We got rid of the parking pad, almost essentially all by ourselves. So many residents here were scared off by the alderman and by the developer from taking a public stand. It was so hard to stand alone on this. But, in the end, I am happy to have the concrete gone. TGE’s political power has been so chopped up, it matters very little how incensed we are or how angry we are with our alderman. He has Shaw and that’s all that really matters. I know this sounds hopeless but there seems to be so little that we can do to remove him. Backlash and public outrage, Mark, you should have seen the meetings I’ve attended about this. Oy vey. But in the end, it’s just public outrage. Who really cares when your election is sewn up by Flora Place and people who vote for you because they recognize your last name?

     
  4. Jim Zavist says:

    I agree completely . . . what’s it gonna take to change things?!

     
  5. James says:

    Ok, now that the city has vacated that portion of the street, I expect the condo association will have to manage all maintenance and cleaning? I sure hope I don’t see the street cleaner going down that stretch or see pot holes getting filled in.

     
  6. studs lonigan says:

    I too live in TGE and followed this tiresome, rancorous and divisive issue closely from the start. Not since the dispiriting tear-down-houses-for-parking behind the BreadCo. battle years ago has there been such internecine hollering and carrying on.

    While I share Bridget’s frustration with aspects of the neighborhood’s political configuration, I think that the concrete is being removed and the curb/tree lawn restored precisely because we are a relatively educated and organized community. Had this illegal concrete been allowed to remain through apathy, inertia, political intimidation or anything else, it would have been an embarrassment to those who care about responsible development and urban design as well as a slap in the face to all residents who love this neighborhood. We pay close attention to development in our midst and when someone slaps our collective face on a highly visible and historic corner, we don’t dig it. If certain arrogant, cynical and contemptibly passive people now know that, I guess all the biffin served a public purpose.

     
  7. Brent says:

    So if I park in an angled space when I want to stop by TG park that means I’m gonna get towed?

    From your pictures I can’t tell, did the concrete that blocks the curb get removed as well? The drainage blockage that caused always bugged me.

     
  8. What exactly is the reason for the vacation of the street? I see no reason why the street would need to be legally vacated to accommodate parking for the condos unless the plan is to convert the street into a parking lot.

     
  9. Chris Cleeland says:

    Of course, one “fair” way to do this would be to change the entire block to angled parking, and have “resident-only” permits issued. This is done in many cities in areas where parking is at a premium. In order to get a permit, one must prove address and pay a small fee.

    Is this completely a done deal, or is there still time to grouse at someone? I’m in kind of a grousy mood…

     
  10. “In order to get a permit, one must prove address and pay a small fee.”

    The permit fee could be a sly way to create an incentive to reduce the number of vehicles per household…

     
  11. Joe Frank says:

    Residential permit parking districts already exist in the City of St. Louis. There’s even one in TGE: the 3200 block of Hartford, put in place several years ago to discourage faculty and students at Roosevelt from parking on the street out front. I assume “vacating” would only apply to the northernmost 10-12 feet of pavement on Halliday adjacent to this building on Grand. The rest of the street would remain public. Sounds like a reasonable compromise, if I’m reading it right. The condo owners should not have to suffer unreasonably because of an error by the developer.

    [SLP — I fully support the idea of issuing parking permits for these condo owners and adjacent residents.  What I do not support, is transferring ownership of a portion of the street to the condo association or individual owners.]

     

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