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Poll: Thoughts on Bill That Would Require Bike Parking In Some Cases

St. Louis alderman Scott Olgilvie (I-24) has introduced a new bill that, if passed, would modify our zoning code to require bike parking for some major new construction or renovations:

ABOVE: Bike parking on the campus of Washington University

BOARD BILL NO. 258 INTRODUCED BY ALDERMAN SCOTT OGILVIE, ALDERMAN SHANE COHN, PRESIDENT LEWIS REED, ALDERWOMAN JENNIFER FLORIDA An Ordinance recommended by the City of St. Louis Planning Commission, requiring residential and commercial bicycle parking under the Zoning Code for all new construction or renovations equal to or in excess of one million dollars ($1,000,000);ontaining definitions; bicycle rack construction requirement, bicycle rack site requirements, bicycle parking requirements, exemptions, off-street parking reduction, an administrative waiver provision and a severability clause. (BB258)

From Olgilvie’s blog:

On Wednesday the Planning Commission approved an ordinance that will require bike parking be included in new commercial construction and certain renovations. The bill is a collaborative effort between myself and members of the Mayor’s staff. A lot of assistance was provided by the city’s legal and zoning teams to craft an ordinance that will be effective, yet flexible for existing structures. The idea follows the lead of other cities like Cleveland, Minneapolis, and Portland, to provide secure and convenient bike parking where people will use it: at their work and the stores they visit. The specific amount of parking is determined by the size of the structure, or the number of employees for warehouse, hotel, and industrial uses. The goal is to provide adequate bike parking facilities to accommodate up to 5% of trips – a goal which some other cities have already achieved and surpassed. The rules build upon the bike infrastructure progress made in St. Louis over the last decade, including GRG trails and bike St. Louis on-street routes. (ward24stl.com)

Section Two E of the bill:

The total number of vehicle off-street parking spaces required under the Zoning Code shall be reduced at the ratio of one (1) automobile off-street parking space for each one (1) bicycle space provided. The total number of required automobile off-street parking spaces, however, shall not be reduced by more than ten (10) percent for any newly developed or rehabilitated structure.

The following shows bike rack styles, half allowed and half not allowed:

ABOVE: Ald Scott Olgilvie provided this image showing types of racks allowed and not allowed

I have some strong opinions on this bill but I’ll reserve those until I post the poll results on Wednesday February 8th.

– Steve Patterson


Readers: Incumbent Larry Williams Least Popular Candidate for Treasurer’s Job

January 25, 2012 Parking, Politics/Policy 30 Comments

My weekly poll is completely unscientific but it does indicate how a small segment of the city’s voters will vote this year. At this point, very early in the race for treasurer, it looks like it will come down to Brian Wahby, head of the St. Louis Democrats and Tishaura Jones, my current state rep:

ABOVE: Treasurer's office oversees the city's parking revenues

Q: Who should be elected Treasuer for the City of St. Louis in 2012?

  1. Brian Wahby 77 [39.69%]
  2. Tishaura Jones 53 [27.32%]
  3. Fred Wessels 22 [11.34%]
  4. Unsure/no opinion 17 [8.76%]
  5. Larry Williams 11 [5.67%]
  6. Other: 9 [4.64%]
  7. Another as yet undeclared candidate 5 [2.58%]

Longtime alderman Fred Wessels has his work cut out for him if he hopes to win a citywide election. Thirty-year incumbent Larry Williams would be smart to retire gracefully rather than be subjected to certain defeat. Maybe one of these candidates will run as an independent and challenge the winner of the August Democratic primary during the November general election? Or maybe another person will announce their candidacy?

The “other” answers typed in by readers were interesting:

  1. a white person
  2. Anyone but Larry Williams
  3. Jeff Fisher [new head coach of the St. Louis Rams]
  4. Les Sterman [former head of East-West Gateway and now construction supervisor with the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District]
  5. Who cares, nothing will change with the city anyway.
  6. not larry williams
  7. Not that HACK Brian Wahby
  8. [Ald Jeffrey] Boyd
  9. Anyone other than an establishment candidate

I’m not sure what to make of #1. Why is race important to the position of treasurer? Only after the poll was finished did I learn that  alderman Jeffrey L. Boyd also plans to run for the seat.

My hope is we can get a couple of debates between the candidates so we as voters can learn more about the job, what they think the issues are and how they differ from their opponents. No matter who wins I don’t want them in office for 30+ years.

– Steve Patterson


Got Parking Tickets?

December 27, 2011 Featured, Parking Comments Off on Got Parking Tickets?

If you have outstanding parking tickets you might want to get those paid.

ABOVE: Boots placed on the wheels of a pickup on Washington Ave

With municipal budgets tighter and tighter cities are looking to collect unpaid tickets. In North Carolina the city of Raleigh will be “intercepting” future state tax refunds to reduce the $1.6 million in unpaid parking tickets (story). In St. Louis other methods are usedL

A parking scofflaw is any violator who accumulates at least four outstanding parking tickets (i.e., tickets that are unpaid at least 16 days after the ticket issuance date). The Parking Division’s boot crews are authorized to immobilize (apply a booting device to) any vehicle that is on the current Parking Scofflaw File. Once a vehicle has been immobilized, it is subject to immediate tow. The City uses City-owned and contracted tow trucks to tow tow-eligible vehicles. Possible boot removal: After a vehicle has been immobilized, and until it has been towed, a motorist may have the boot removed once the Parking Division has received adequate proof that the parking scofflaw has paid all outstanding fines and fees for the booted vehicle. For the purpose of boot removal, a Payment Receipt from PVB or a Dismissal Form from PVB shall constitute proof of payment. This option is not available once the vehicle has been towed. Any motorist whose vehicle has been booted must pay the required booting fee, as approved by the Parking Commission. The booting fee of $50.00 must be paid at Parking Violations Bureau before a person can reclaim his or her vehicle. (source)

The penalty is similar in Clayton:

Vehicle will be subject to tow upon accumulation of six (6) or more unpaid tickets or over $150.00 in unpaid fines. Additional fees for towing, storage and impoundment will be imposed. (source)

Really people? Every time I’ve received a parking ticket I think of the 10-12 times I could have gotten a ticket but didn’t, then I pay the fine.

– Steve Patterson


Parking on 14th Street Sidewalk…Again

A few years ago I blogged about city employees parking on the eastside 14th Street sidewalk which resulted on a policy change and keeping the sidewalk open for pedestrians. Last weekend driving home I saw a more egregious use of  the sidewalk for parking.

ABOVE: 14th Street sidewalk as angled parking, across from Scottrade Center & Peabody

I was livid as I watched a pedestrian forced to walk in the roadway. Fourteenth Street has four lanes yet someone decided cars should take over the sidewalk too!?!

ABOVE: Cars & SUVs were parked close together and blocked 100% of the sidewalk

A new effort is underway to plan streetscape changes on 14th from Washington Ave to Clark St., I’ll need to suggest street trees and/or bollards to physically protect the pedestrian space. I shouldn’t have to spend so much time just trying to keep cars off sidewalks downtown.

 – Steve Patterson


Readers Would Change Downtown On-Street Parking

In the poll last week two-thirds of the voters would like to see a change in the on-street parking policy. A third selected no change:

Q: On-street parking downtown should be…

  1. as is, free after 7pm & weekends 46 [33.33%]
  2. free after 5pm & weekends 38 [27.54%]
  3. Other: 10 [7.9%]
  4. paid 24/7: 9 [6.52%]
  5. paid until 5pm, 7 days a week 9 [6.52%]
  6. free 24/7: 7 [5.07%]
  7. paid until 7pm, 7 days a week 7 [5.07%]
  8. paid until 9pm, 7 days a week 7 [5.07%]
  9. paid until 9pm weekdays, free on weekends 3 [2.17%]
  10. unsure/no opinion 1 [0.72%]
  11. removed to provide more driving lanes 1 [0.72%]

The problem? No consensus among the two-thirds that voted for a change. The biggest response for change is lowering the free period from 7pm to 5pm weekdays, keeping weekends free. In my opinion we need to go toward more paid time to discourage driving and to turn over the spaces for use by other drivers.

The other answers provided were:

  1. Set at the precise amount where the supply and demand curve meet by 4 hr periods
  2. free for downtown residents
  3. Priced to promote maximum occupancy
  4. keep as is, but offer monthly parking passes for downtown residents.
  5. congrestion pricing
  6. free after 7pm, Sundays and Holidays
  7. I’ll pay, just sucks when your car gets broken into b/c police sux in the city
  8. Need to install credit card machines. People rarely carry loose change.
  9. variable, based on supply & demand
  10. paid twice current rate to fund demolition of historic buildings

Add any additional thoughts in the comments below.

– Steve Patterson