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Legally Parked Car Illegally Blocking Right Turn Lane

January 8, 2016 Featured 13 Comments

Good communications is vital to the success of any organization — especially a municipal bureaucracy. But Saturday morning I observed a car that, based on the signage, was legally parked. It was also illegally parked within the right turn lane.

This Ford Escort is parked at a numbered spot and behind the 'no parking to corner sign. It's also blocking the right turn lane. WB Olive just East of Compton
This Ford Escort is parked at a numbered spot and behind the ‘no parking to corner sign. It’s also blocking the right turn lane. WB Olive just East of Compton

It appears the road surface got reconfigured, but nobody bothered to inform the Treasurer’s office — the independent citywide elected position that’s also responsible for parking. Or maybe they were informed and the parking czar refused to give up the metered spot?

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones campaigned on the idea of changing Missouri law to return parking responsibility to a city department, most likely Streets.  This is a good example of why the city should handle parking, not an independent banker. Of course, until folks think about what they’re doing problems like this will still happen — assigning blame would be easier if all within one department.




Currently there are "13 comments" on this Article:

  1. RyleyinSTL says:

    “…The parking czar refused to give up the metered spot?”


    You’re right though, if streets was in charge of this presumably they would have pulled that last marked spot rather than just retrofit it to the new system absentmindedly.

    • Mark-AL says:

      Running an efficient parking enforcement division is much different from building replacement concrete curbs, patching asphalt, and re-striping parking lanes. What makes anyone think that the Streets Department has the expertise–over the Comptroller’s Office, for example, to take over the City’s parking? Or the Recorder of Deeds Office? Who in Streets necessarily has the experience and knowledge to maintain the 7 parking garages that the city currently owns, staffs and operates, day after day, 24/7 in some cases? Who at Streets or at the Comptroller’s office has the ability to select and maintain the appropriate revenue control equipment for the garages? Whichever city department actually serves as the City’s parking czar is unimportant. Hiring the right people to administer the day to day activities of parking is the issue. It seems that Tishaura has little or no interest in parking. So maybe she should run a midnight basketball camp with her daddy.

      • Municipalities provide a wide range of services to its citizens. I doubt any other city has parking the responsibility of 1) a banker, or 2) an autonomous elected official.

        • Mark-AL says:

          Interesting comment. I think the previous treasurer initially parlayed his banking knowledge and business acumen into garage development by establishing public-private partnerships that ultimately benefited the city’s downtown and surrounding communities by providing parking opportunities for local retail shops, businesses and condos. I wonder where the Laclede Gas Building workers would have parked if the 7th & Pine Garage hadn’t been developed? Certainly not in the Famous Barr Garage! Where would the loft residents at Nine North be parking today without the 9 North Garage? That garage turns an otherwise parking nightmare into a pleasant dream. I’d even speculate that the Federal Reserve might be gone from downtown STL if Mr.Williams had not built and eventually sold the Feds the Syndicate Trust Garage. He previously had taken the heat for first removing the annex building, something the Feds might not have spent time on! The Euclid Avenue (Argyle) Garage serves a vital role in providing convenient parking for local condo residents, business patrons and employees. Could some of the Chase residents live as conveniently next door without it? So, really, the treasurer’s banking experience is a +PLUS+, provided that experience is being used to assist in local business development, parking support included. With Larry Williams it was. No comment on what’s going on today in the Treasurer’s Office. Being an elected “autonomous” official certainly leaves plenty of question marks, but the democratic “leadership” from STL City Hall is at the root of most of the inherent negatives found at 12th and Market. And remember: many of the same under-qualified nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of aldermen, committeemen, other elected officials who worked under the previous treasurer’s administration still work there today. Maybe their city-provided cars are gone, but their fat asses are still occupying desks. Mr. Kroenke is right about several things, including that STL needs a total overhaul if improvements are expected. To play musical chairs with parking administration is downright silly!

          • I hope your aware that cities worldwide make strategic investments, such as shared structured parking, to facilitate private development. A fractured municipal organizational chart isn’t necessary. In fact, a more streamlined government could produce a more desirable outcome — with coordination of zoning (form & use), historic standards, parking, etc.

          • Mark-AL says:

            I’m well aware that cities all over the US, Europe and Asia participate in structured parking. I’ve worked on several of those projects. My comments are about STL. Not Kansas City, Denver, Munich, LA, New Orleans or even Memphis. Someone has to take the initiative and get the ball rolling. In St Louis, it was Larry Williams (PAST TENSE) who did that. Private investors were obviously unable or unwilling to take the chance. But he did! Successfully! What one single accomplishment has the current Treasurer made toward business expansion in STL? Just name ONE! Initially it’s difficult to attract private, exclusive ownership in a garage located in an underachieving locale. But once an area shows enough improvement to attract private, exclusive investors, then the market should (should) drive itself. Why isn’t that happening in STL?

            If STL could somehow dump ownership in all the garages to a private owner(s) (NOT hire a private management company to run the garages because I can provide hundreds of examples where this was done with disastrous, expensive consequences), then maybe all parking operations could be turned over to Streets, since the challenge of administering STL parking becomes little more than patching asphalt and curbs and restriping spaces in surface lots and collecting money from the meters and pay/display boxes.

  2. Mark-AL says:

    If I recall, the Treasurer’s Office’s policy is to tow a car after it has accumulated 5 unpaid parking tickets, and so the treasurer has hired at least a few boot crews that drive around town all day, entering license numbers into a computer searching out cars that have accumulated five unpaid parking tickets. When they find one, they place a boot on the vehicle, then call a towing company….which can lead to a potentially dangerous encounter if the car’s owner/operator returns while the crew is installing the boot. All this seems a bit complicated and unnecessarily expensive for the city. I wonder if the city were to cut to the chase and tow even first-time parking violators (not for expired parking meters), if the problem of illegal parking in St Louis might all but go away. In Frankfurt, even first time parking violators are towed by pistol-toting body-builder types, and then the owner of the vehicle has to stop by the local police station to negotiate release of the vehicle and pay the fine. Putting teeth in the bite might solve this problem.

  3. In general, I assume stupidity before malice when both are equally likely. I’m guessing no one told the treasurer’s office the street was being restriped.

    Parking probably should be a separate office under Streets, a sibling to Refuse, etc. That’s how, for instance, Boston does it: the Office of the Parking Clerk is under the Chief of Streets, Transportation, & Sanitation, who supervises basically anything that touches a public right of way (street construction and repair, refuse pickup, snow removal, even the bike share program). That would avoid problems like this.

    • Mark-AL says:

      You’re right. It might (might!) prevent confusion. Although a simple memo addressed to the Treasurer’s parking division from the streets division would (might) be a simple solution to that problem. (And I suspect that memo already exists but got lost in the shuffle.)St Louis is unique, however, in that their parking division oversees not just street parking, but also public garage parking, which demands a whole different level of expertise. I wonder if a department used to dealing with salt purchases, asphalt repairs and paint striping is equipped to maintain PT parking garages which employ revenue control equipment to minimize loss control and garage organization. I wonder if they’d be equipped to devote all the attention needed to deal with (often difficult) parking customers/situations: (complaints, lost parking passes, employee personnel issues, special event parking, car break-ins, elevator maintenance, fender benders, daily cleaning, building exterior maintenance in general) on a daily basis. A bit of confusion MIGHT be an easier issue to deal with than the damage that might be done to a complicated PT structure whose maintenance is ignored, either out of ignorance or apathy. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it–especially when it’s not really broken, but maybe needs just a lube job.

  4. JZ71 says:

    Bigger picture, guys, is this an actual, real, “problem”? Has anyone been unable to turn right because a car is parked, here?! Yeah, it shows that someone wasn’t “looking at the big picture”, but c’mon, there are far bigger battles to fight . . .

    • There are always bigger problems that can be addresseed, doesn’t mean the smaller ones shouldn’t also be addressed.

      To your point, I don’t know that a dedicated right turn lane is even necessary. My guess is that was a way to indicate where bikes continuing WB should be positioned — with right turning cars to their right.

    • Mark-AL says:

      The ability to turn right, left, or to proceed straight is not the issue. The issue is whether an entire department, one that is unique to any other department, should be shuffled around from one fiefdom to another just…..because…!

  5. Mark-AL says:


    Louie Sullivan’s 705 Olive building is close to getting a new lease on life. I wonder if the proximity of the City’s parking garage directly across the street may have played a role in the possible development?


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