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An argument in favor of shared parking

November 12, 2009 Car Sharing, Downtown, Parking 9 Comments

Last Sunday I was walking from my place to the London Tea Room. I went the long way to look at old cars lined up on 17th for the Veteran’s Parade.  So I crossed through CPI’s parking lot which is just North of my building.

I noticed a driver get into an SUV after pulling two notes off the window.  Pulling away I saw the car pictured above with the same notes. Basically CPI doesn’t like residents from surrounding buildings parking on their lot overnight.  I was very pleased to see the notes could be easily removed rather than those requiring elbow grease and a razor blade.

But it brings up a question about how we use our land.  The above image shows their parking lot thinning about 4pm on Monday. Washington Ave runs left to right in the background.  !7th Street and CPI’s building are on the left.  This is one of four parking lots for CPI.

The parking lot continues over to 16th Street (right).  The massive Ely-Walker building is across 16th. It has underground garage parking but I think some residents have more than one car per unit.

What I’d like to see is shared use of the lot.  For a fee, a fixed number of residents could be allowed to use CPI’s lot from 5pm -7am weekdays and 24/7 on weekends. I hate seeing this lot sit mostly vacant evenings and weekends.

Ideally CPI would do well to explore ways to reduce the number of employee’s vehicles each day. Offer employee’s $25/month if they didn’t bring their car to work.  This would prompt some to look at transit or carpooling.   The money paid out to employee’s would come in from fees collected from others using the parking on off hours.

A CPI-sponsored WeCar vehicle (car sharing from Enterprise) could help employees that use transit or carpool if they need a car to run errands at lunch.  The many residents living in this part of downtown might become members as well.  The nearest WeCar to us is 7-8 blocks away.  With a close WeCar some 2-car households might drop down to one and some one-car households might go to zero.  A sponsor covers the cost each month if a vehicle is not rented by members often enough each month.

Promotional video from Enterprises’ WeCar program:


Know that I’m not picking on CPI — they are a good neighbor.  I’m just suggesting ways in which they might alter how they view the land around their building used for car storage.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. stljmartin says:

    They actully have a total of 4 parking lots, down from 5, within a block of the building. One on each side of the building, and then across the street NorthWest and one due north of the lot you are looking at.

  2. Chris says:

    What is CPI?

  3. john says:

    Most parking spaces are dead spaces. A 180 sf spot is filled with a vehicle that sits there useless most of the time and is usually only moved twice/day. But in the StL region, our economy is so dependent on cars that we have boxed ourselves into a desperate corner. Even Pfizer before they announced the elimination of 600 jobs in Chesterfield this week was busy resurfacing its parking lots at its research facility a few months ago. All those tax credits to keep jobs here has once again backfired on the County.

    You see Steve, whether you accept it or not, you live in a city where residents believe that parking is more valuable than livable communities. WeCar does not change that – in fact it supports it.

  4. jimmyz says:

    If there were money to be made, especially in today's tough economic climate, I suspect that CPI would already be doing so. But, I'm guessing that they've crunched the numbers and what revenue would be generated simply doesn't offset the cost of managing it, plus there's always the issue that some “guests” will bend the rules, intentionally or not, and not be out of their space whan a “real” employee needs one – it's just easier to say no . . .

  5. Dave says:

    I'm an employee of CPI. I can tell you part of the issue is that there are multiple shifts that work here, sometimes as many of three during this time of year which means that many more spaces will be used by employees overnight than you might realize. Managing all these different shifts, parking spaces, etc… would likely make sharing these spaces outside of CPI difficult to manage. I also believe that the lot one block north of Washington is shared at times with Windows on Washington.

    However, I will put this in our company suggestion box and state that your blog brought it up. You never know but management might be open to it. CPI certainly could use some extra income in this economy.

    • I'm thinking we are talking 5-10 cars at max. I do see people at CPI at all times – nice to have the activity. By limiting the sharing to 10 vehicles the guards will quickly learn who those belong to.

    • stljmartin says:

      I put in a bid a few years back, so they have looked at it. JimmyZ might be right for that moment in time. At the time the Fondue restaurant was abusing the availability of the spaces, so they were looking to limit that abuse, as well as pick up a little additional revenue. Either way CPI can always reach me through http://secomintl.com

  6. Your downtown neighbor says:

    I like your site, however I must say the tone is quite negative and almost hostile. Instead of simply pointing out the faults of things, perhaps you could offer well-researched, viable solutions. Sometimes “best case scenarios” are not viable. It seems as if you really dislike most things around STL…aside from Citigarden. For a change of pace, perhaps you can talk about some things you do like with STL.

    • Best practices are well-researched viable solutions. Books are devoted to best practices as they offer communities insight into knowledge learned by others. Ignoring best practices is foolish.

      I like WeCar even though I can't use the service.


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