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Peabody Opera House Valets Caught Driving On 14th Street Sidewalk

April 12, 2012 Downtown, Featured, Valet Parking, Walkability 13 Comments

Last Sunday I was heading home on the bus just before 1:30pm in the afternoon. Something big was going on at the Peabody Opera House because traffic was backed up. At first I was happy to see cars weren’t being parked on the east sidewalk along 14th like the previous time I came through the area during an event. But, I was soon shocked — the valets were driving on the sidewalk to park customer’s vehicles diagonally on 14th.  Here are the pictures I got from the bus:

ABOVE: Stopped traffic on 14th, beyond the temporary stop sign you can see cars parked on the road diagonally
ABOVE: Two cars are parked on the road but in the background you can see a vehicle on the sidewalk, it was being driven
ABOVE: I spotted a 2nd vehicle passing the bus on the sidewalk!
ABOVE: Valet about to drive off the sidewalk onto the road
ABOVE: The bus was moving now and we caught up with the sidewalk-driving valets
ABOVE: The 1st vehicle I spotted driving on the sidewalk just after the valet parked it on the road

I posted one of the images to Twitter and Facebook then once home emailed a few to various city officials. I’ll email this post to people at the Peabody. Sidewalks are for pedestrians! They are not overflow parking or private driveways. If I have to sit in my power chair in the middle of that sidewalk  to get this to stop, I will.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "13 comments" on this Article:

  1. Msrdls says:

    You’re right. No one should drive on sidewalks. It’s potentially hazardous to pedestrians AND it could result in a collapse if the sidewalk is a structural deck and is underdesigned for a vehicle. And I can’t imagine that anyone would volunteer his car to a vehicle valet–ever! These guys are rushed to ditch the vehicle ASAP so that they can get back for the next one. In the meantime, I wonder if they’re as careful with the vehicle as the owner is.

  2. Justin says:

    Completely Absurd!
    Thanks Steve for voicing the needs of pedestrians.

  3. JZ71 says:

    One, I agree it’s against the law, is potentially unsafe and sets a very bad example.  Two, obviously no one is enforcing the current laws.  Three, I agree with Msrdls, I’m not sure why anyone would trust their vehicle with a valet.  But four, if pedestrians aren’t using the sidewalk, what’s the big deal?  It would create much bigger traffic issues if the valets were backing into the spaces from an active travel lane.  We have laws for a reason, but sometimes common sense trumps the strict interpretation of any law.  (Trust me, I struggle with the casual level of enforcement when it comes to many laws around here, but this one doesn’t bother me that much.  I’ve driven by, you were on the bus, neither one of was walking, and apparently no one else was, either.)

    • Douglas Duckworth says:

      Uh have plenty of parking. Sidewalks are for people.

    • aaronlevi says:

       not a post goes by that you don’t come into the comment section to disagree with whatever is said on this blog. what is the address to your blog where you have all of the answers?

      • JZ71 says:

        I enjoy a great discussion.  If every response is “I agree”, things can get pretty boring.  Reread what I said here.  My first three points were in complete agreement.  It was only in my fourth/last one that I questioned why this is a priority. Earlier this week, Steve was advocating that we selectively ignore laws on graffiti vandalism, here, he’s advocating for more stringent enforcement of existing traffic laws.  I get it, we have laws and they all should be fully enforced, but there is simply no way that will ever happen, so it gets down to priorities.  Is driving on an empty sidewalk a bigger sin than throwing cigarette butts out the window?  Should our Police go after people who roll through stop signs, smoke in bars or kill people in drive-by shootings?  I know what I think, I want to encourage other readers to post what they think . . .

        • I want to see attitudes & laws change with respect to handbills. Smart cities have places where these are allowed and encouraged.Cars have plenty of roads, they don’t need sidewalks too.

          • JZ71 says:

            “Smart cities have places where [handbills] are allowed and encouraged.”  Yes, they’re called biilboards, and most progressive cities are trying to reduce their presence, not to encourage their proliferation!

  4. Sam says:

     “But four, if pedestrians aren’t using the sidewalk, what’s the big deal?”

    Seriously? So because you don’t see someone using the sidewalk as frequently as you’d like we should just give cars free reign of our sidewalks?

    “We have laws for a reason, but sometimes common sense trumps the strict interpretation of any law.”

    I think you’d have a hard time making that argument in court.

  5. Douglas Duckworth says:

    Steve I’ve seen city employees park on that sidewalk as well.

  6. Mark Brown says:

    Just plain disrespect of the city. This should be stopped and they should be ticketed or fined if they are caught driving on the sidewalk. This is ridiculous.

  7. JZ71 says:

    But isn’t the fundamental problem here is that a city street is being used for valet parking, especially diagonal parking (which takes out both a parking lane and a drive lane) in the first place?!  IF there were no valet parking on 14th, then there’d be no need or reason to drive on the sidewalk, at all!

    This all gets back to the “need” to provide valet parking and whether (or not) the city should be permitting the use of public streets for just drop-off and pick-up, or, as is the case here, using public streets on a regular basis for a private enterprise (storeage of vehicles / valet parking)? 

    I have no problem with using or closing city streets for true special events, and I really don’t object to dedicating 2, 3 or 4 exiting parking spaces to valet drop-off and pick-up, but I draw the line at making a public steet into a quasi-private parking lot (which is what this is becoming).  If the Peabody wants to provide valet parking, let them negotiate a contract with a nearby lot or garage, and use it to store valeted vehicles.  Parking on public streets, here and elsewhere should truly be on a true first-come basis.

  8. Sidewalks are for pedestrians only how can one drive on that path.If any accidents occur who would be responsible for that?


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