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Clemens Mansion Was To Kickoff McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration Project

November 17, 2012 25th Ward, Accessibility, Featured, Grad School, MLK Jr. Drive, Parking Comments Off on Clemens Mansion Was To Kickoff McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration Project

It was three years ago today that many gathered on the lawn in front of one of the most historic properties in St. Louis: The Clemens Mansion, located at 1849 Cass Ave.

ABOVE: Blueprints for the adoption of the Clemens Mansion to senior apartments was on display on November 17, 2009
ABOVE: St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signs a bill for Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration project

From The Beacon:

Mayor Francis Slay put his ceremonial seal of approval Tuesday on the first step of the $8.1 billion plan to redevelop a large portion of north St. Louis, but he remained noncommittal on what developer Paul McKee considers a key part of the project.

The signing ceremony for two bills passed by the Board of Aldermen — the bills were actually signed into law by the mayor on Friday — took place under a tent on the front lawn of the Clemens House, one of the most visible properties in the McKee project area. (St. Louis Beacon)

Initial work had begun on the renovation but work stopped when part of the financing fell through, I believe a low-income housing tax credit. Soon much of McKee’s project will have a final airing in court.

The state Supreme Court has set Nov. 28 as the date for oral arguments in the lawsuit that has blocked McKee’s massive NorthSide Regeneration project for more than two years. There’s no telling how long after that a ruling might come down, but that ruling will help the project advance, McKee said. (stltoday.com)

Disclosure: I was a very minor consultant on the Clemen’s Mansion project, assisting with accessibility and starting to look at traffic calming and walkability along a larger stretch of Cass Ave. Hopefully the project can be completed in the future.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Move Parking Out of Treasurer’s Office

August 22, 2012 Featured, Parking, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Move Parking Out of Treasurer’s Office
ABOVE: Entrance to the Treasurer’s office in city hall

During the democratic primary Tishaura Jones noted that no other city places the responsibility for parking management under the office of treasurer. I didn’t check other cities to verify this claim but it seems valid.

In the poll last week it became very clear readers agree with Jones about removing parking from the treasurer’s office:

Q: Parking Management, Planning, & Revenues for St. Louis Should:

  1. Made part of a city department subject to oversight by the mayor and board
    of Aldermen 58 [90.63%]
  2. Be kept within the “county” office of treasurer 6 [9.38%]
  3. Unsure/No Opinion 0 [0%]
  4. Other: 0 [0%]

Moving responsibility for parking will require changing Missouri law, as Jones indicated during the primary.

Missouri statues Chapter 54 establishes the office of treasurer for each county and details the office responsibilities. The office is about handling the county’s money (St. Louis is a city-county), not parking meters and garages. Except for the City of St. Louis.

St. Louis is a “constitutional charter city” which has its own chapter, Chapter 82. There are numerous  statutes relating to the office of treasurer such as:

82.485. 1. The treasurer of any city not within a county is hereby made and constituted supervisor of parking meters. (full statute)

and

82.516. For such services as supervisor of parking meters, the city treasurer may receive the sum of sixteen thousand dollars per year from the parking fund, as approved by the parking commission. (statute)

Nice salary bonus for handling parking!

Tishaura Jones will face two challengers in the November 6, 2012 general election, a Green and Republican. Jones is expected to win. The winner will be sworn into office in January 2013.

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Parking Management, Planning, & Revenues for St. Louis Should…?

Last Tuesday State Rep Tishaura Jones won the democratic nomination for the county office of treasurer. On November 6th she’ll face Republican Timothy Bachmann and Green Anthony Stevens in the general election. Given the St. Louis political landscape Jones will easily be elected.

ABOVE: Entrance to the Treasurer’s office in city hall

During the primary campaign Jones differed from her three opponents on the issue of parking falling within the responsibility of the treasurer’s office:

No major city in the US has a “Parking Czar” that controls the building of city garages and where parking meters are placed. The primary function of the Treasurer’s office should be to collect, manage, and invest the city’s funds…period. If elected, I will work with other city elected officials and the Missouri Legislature to transfer this function to the appropriate department and concentrate on increasing the return on investment of the $1.5 billion currently under management. (tishaura4treasurer.com)

Is this why Jones defeated her three opponents? Would moving the responsibility for parking to another part of city government just shift problems? Would development deals be easier or harder? Will city & neighborhood leaders better be able to plan the parking component?

The poll this week asks for your take.  Vote in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson

 

On-Street Parking On Washington Ave

Regular readers know I’m a fan of on-street parking. It forms a nice barrier between moving traffic and pedestrians. It also helps up road width. Linear parking is so much better than surface or structured sparking.  A few years back there were efforts by officials to keep the full curb-to-curb width of Washington Ave for moving vehicles. After some battles, parking is permitted on both sides between 10th-11th and the south side from 11th-Tucker (12th). In true St. Louis fashion, this is being addressed block by block rather than a well-planned coordinated effort.

ABOVE: Cars parked on Washington Ave east of 7th Street

The other evening I was pleased to see cars parked on Washington Ave. east of 7th. There are no signs prohibiting parking so it seemed to just happen organically. There’s also no parking meters.

ABOVE: Cars still parked on Washington Ave a couple of hours later.

If retail is going to open and survive on-street parking is a must-have.

— Steve Patterson

 

The Future of 18th & Washington Ave

Last week I went to the MetroBus stop on the NE corner of 18th & Washington Ave to catch the #97 Delmar bus westbound. The normally full parking lot behind the bus shelter was empty except for a for lease/sale sign.

ABOVE: Lot is listed by L3 Corporation but it's not listed on their website (click to view)

The lot is owned by a couple in Glencoe Missouri but had been leased by Consumers Program Inc, aka CPI, located across the street.

ABOVE: CPI is located at 1706 Washington Ave in a structure built in 1912

Presumably CPI didn’t renew the lease to save money, having employees use one of the three parking lots they own. One is city block #831 bounded by Washington, 16th, St. Charles St and 17th — this is the block directly east of their building. This block once was occupied fully by a building that was part of Brown Shoe.

ABOVE: Entire block of surface parking east of CPI's building shown in the background

CPI’s other two lots occupy two more corners at 18th & Washington — the SE & NW.

ABOVE: The SE corner held the 10-story Marquette Hotel until it was razed in 1988
ABOVE: CPI's largest lot occupies city block 2002 bounded by Washington, 19th, Lucas and 18th

Three of the four corners are surface parking, the fourth corner (SW) is occupied by Mulligan Printing.

ABOVE: SW corner of 18th & Washington is the only one left with a building, occupied by Mulligan Printing

Mulligan Printing’s 5-story building was built in 1928. The closed up windows at the street level are unfortunate but at least the building massing is good — far better than a surface parking lot.

What is the future of this intersection? Will it always be mostly surface parking lots? The planner in me would like to see form based codes to replace our old use-based codes. Instead of detailed regulations depending upon the original intended use of any new construction, a form-based code would require a minimum height, the building pushed out to the property line, windows and doors at sidewalk level, etc. The architectural style, just like the use inside, of any new construction is of little concern me.

In the future I’d like to see the current situation reversed with buildings on three corners and only one corner with surface parking. It might take 40 years to happen but it’ll never happen under our current zoning.

– Steve Patterson

 

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