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Parking Battle Close To Home

August 4, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Transportation 8 Comments

I often write about parking issues, like the Arcade building needing additional parking to get renovated. Closer to my loft I’ve written this year about the former CPI parking lot to the north of my building. Today’s post is even closer — the small private lot that’s park of my condo association. On Friday July 25th I noticed some commotion outside, out on the balcony I see more cars than usual and two police vehicles.

View from ,my balcony on Friday July 25th.
View from ,my balcony on Friday July 25th.
Police officers talking to a person whose car is blocked and a person who blocked.
Police officers talking to a person whose car is blocked and a person who blocked.

The tenant in the commercial space of my building, upset that residents of our two buildings sometimes park in “their” lot, parked in a way that blocks resident’s vehicles. Some condo owners, myself included, have read the condo docs over and over concluding the spaces in this parking lot are a common use area, not deeded to the owner of the commercial spaces. The parking below is common use but our spaces are legally deeded to us. The original developer, who retains ownership of both commercial spaces, insists the parking lot is for use by commercial tenants only. The other commercial space is vacant.

Here’s what I see going on:

  • A lot of my neighbors, single & couples, have just one car which they park in their garage space. Lots of other couples have two cars, with some having spaces for both.  Still, we have many 2-car couples where one vehicle must be parked outside.
  • The tenant used to share the parking lot when the other commercial space was occupied, but since it closed a couple of years ago they’ve decided all spaces are theirs.
  • When the developer gets a new tenant for the vacant space this tenant will need a strategy for reducing the number of employee vehicles.

Personally I think my neighbors (residents & tenant) need to take a serious look at bicycling and/or public transit. When you live/work in suburbia abundant free parking is a given, but when you decide to live or locate your firm downtown you can’t continue to have the same expectation. My husband and I have one car between the two of us. We’re hoping Enterprise CarShare will add some vehicles west of Tucker for those rare times we both need a vehicle.

On Washington Ave, a block north, we have the #94 & #97 MetroBus lines, with #10 on Olive, a block south. Two blocks east on 14th we have the #32, #31, & #74, the #99 downtown trolley stops a couple of blocks away. Within a 1/4 mile are more bus lines. Sure, there are couples that work far away in opposite directions, but I bet among residents and the tenant’s staff are people that could fairly easily use public transit.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    This is a microcosm of urban parking, and you’d have a different perspective if you two had two vehicles, instead of just one. The fundamental issue, here, is residential tenants parking in a lot designated for the commercial tenants and their customers. Just because one of the commercial spaces is vacant does not give the residential tenants any right to park there (because it’s “common area”), anymore than it gives the commercial tenants or their customers any right to use your elevator or access to the corridor outside your front door (which is also “common area”). And I’m guessing that the police getting involved is the culmination of an escalation of multiple polite (and not so polite) requests for residents not to park there. Yes, your neighbors “should” ride their bikes and use Metro, but for whatever reason(s) they choose to own a vehicle that has no designated parking space. Expecting other (commercial) tenants to “let it slide” just because the spaces “aren’t being used” is a gamble, and it looks like it’s up to the either the developer or the HOA, and not the police, to figure it out and lay down the law to all involved.

    • Yes, it is a microcosm — one that’s likely repeated in many places. If you recall a few years I wrote about a dispute between homeowners and a condo developer on Hadley — over parking/use of the public right-of-way.

      Here the legal designation for commercial use is debated, it appears to be a common area. We all pay for snow removal and when repairs are needed we all pay for them.

      I agree, the parties need to resolve this rather than block vehicles and get the police involved.

  2. Greg says:

    The easiest solution would be to mark the non-deeded spaces as maximum 1 hour (or 2 hour) parking. Problem solved.

    • At this point many think all are non-deeded. But the commercial tenant has a lease saying the parking is for them and the other commercial tenant, currently vacant.

      • JZ71 says:

        The lawyers need to decide / clarify, and any enforcement needs to be consistent and constant. Random blocking / towing / booting may feel good, at the time, but just inflames the situation if only happens sporadically.

  3. Izzy Goldsteinberg says:

    Sounds like hoosiers are parking where they don’t belong. Tow them.

  4. gmichaud says:

    I pretty well agree with what you are saying Steve, we need a transit orientated city that does not rely on the automobile (and walking and bike which go together with transit) . It is not the job of free enterprise to shape such a city. On the other hand city leaders completely, almost totally fall down on the job as evidenced by the recent Post-Dispatch commentary by a person from England who worshiped the Cardinals, but could not find his way around St. Louis. In the same way St. Louisians are faced with an incoherent urban policies not unlike our visitor from England experienced. In turn this leads into the spectacle of revenge parking.


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