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The Things You Hear & See In An Urban Environment, Part 2

July 27, 2016 Featured, Parking Comments Off on The Things You Hear & See In An Urban Environment, Part 2

Last month I posted about seeing a car get repossessed from below our balcony, see The Things You Hear & See In An Urban Environment (w/Video).  That event happened on the evening of Monday May 19th.  A little over a week later, at 6:30am on the morning of Tuesday May 27th I saw & heard a tow truck in front of an SUV in the lot to the North. My thought was it was going to be towed away for non-payment.

View from our balcony, see in the upper left corner
View from our balcony, see in the upper left corner
Here's a crop of the image above
Here’s a crop of the image above

I quickly realized the flatbed tow truck had dropped off the SUV on the lot!

By June 3rd I was surprised it was still there , unmoved. Not ticketed or booted.
By June 3rd I was surprised it was still there , unmoved. Not ticketed or booted.

Here we are two months later and it’s still there! No tickets, no boot!

— Steve Patterson

 

Line For Post Office Parking Garage Two Blocks Long

Recently I saw a line of cars Eastbound on Market waiting to turn right onto 16th to park in a parking garage. For the Blues playoffs? Big concert at Scottrade Center? No, shift change at the main post office. Seriously.

At right a white car waits on 18th St to turn right onto Market St, 6:50am on 5/26/2016
At right a white car waits on 18th St to turn right onto Market St, 6:50am on 5/26/2016
Thew line of cars you see aren't parked on Market, they're in the outside drive lane in a line to access the USPS parking garage
Thew line of cars you see aren’t parked on Market, they’re in the outside drive lane in a line to access the USPS parking garage
These cars, between 16th-17th, are also waiting. The parking is on the upper level(s) of the addition to the main post office shown in the background
These cars, between 16th-17th, are also waiting. The parking is on the upper level(s) of the addition to the main post office shown in the background
This view shows cars waiting next to a line of cars parked on the street
This view shows cars waiting next to a line of cars parked on the street
Looking East from 17th the waiting cars are now against the curb because parking isn't allowed on this block
Looking East from 17th the waiting cars are now against the curb because parking isn’t allowed on this block
When a car exists another is allowed to enter. Supervisors don;t wait in line, they come up from 16th and enter upon arrival.
When a car exists another is allowed to enter. Supervisors don;t wait in line, they come up from 16th and enter upon arrival.

A postal employee waiting in line told me this was a routine shift change…waiting for parking. Another said the garage has about 300 spaces…and exposed rebar. I was unable to determine when the addition was added to the East of the main post office. I’d guess 1960s or 70s.

While I did see some workers arrive via Madison County Transit, more need to consider public transit, car pooling, etc. All these running cars, polluting my neighborhood, waiting to park is unacceptable.  Recently I posted about intersections that bookend the post office, on 16th & 18th.

— Steve Patterson

 

Privately-Owned Convention Center Parking Garage In Questionable Condition

Our publicly-owned convention center, known as America’s Center, surrounds the privately-owned parking garage at 701 N. 7th Street. The garage, built in 1964, is attached to the former Stix, Baer and Fuller/Dillard’s department store building — now a mixed-use building. The pedestrian bridge over 7th St still exists, but is closed.

The garage was more than a decade old when the Cervantes Convention Center was built across Convention Plaza, previously Delmar. In the early 90s Cervantes was expanded South to Washington Ave and the dome was built to the East. That’s when the garage became surrounded on the North, West, and South. Convention guests can park in the garage and go directly into the convention center.

I photographed from the garage in August 2010, and again last week. During my recent visit I noticed damage I didn’t see nearly 6 years earlier.

The dome can be seen un the background in this August 2010 image
The dome can be seen un the background in this August 2010 image
Pedestrian entrance on North 7th Street
Pedestrian entrance on North 7th Street
Rebar exposed along East edge
Rebar exposed along East edge
Thus is just under the top deck
Thus is just under the top deck
More
More
And more
And more

I’m not not qualified to evaluate the damage or integrity of the structure, so I emailed the last four images to reader Mark-AL, an engineer who specializes in parking garages. From his reply:

It’s a garage restoration contractor’s pot of gold! It’s a classic case of garage neglect, where the operator has failed to protect the decks with a sealer or coating and has allowed water to infiltrate the deck, rusting the rebar mats and (probably) the post tensioned cables. The rust on the bottom mat steel has resulted in spalling concrete and general degradation, resulting in loss of deck strength and homogeneity. The upper level of rebar mat is most likely in equal or worse condition, and only god knows how the post tensioned cables are holding up, even though they are likely plastic encased. If the concrete deterioration is widespread and into the PT cable anchorage zones, it is probable that the decks lack the elasticity and plasticity required of the original design, resulting in increasing frictional losses–all of which says that the decks are no longer ready for prime time!

What we don’t know is if the operator is responsible for maintenance, the current operator might not have had the contract very long — we just don’t know. We do know from the lawsuits, regarding the garage at Tucker & Locust, that an operator can only do so much for a structure at the end of it’s useful life. That condemned garage is three years younger than the convention center garage on 7th.

City records show only one inspection — on July 2, 2008. The four violations were complied on June 23, 2010. This morning I’ll be emailing this post to officials at city hall (including the building inspector), Kitty Ratcliffe at the Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the current operator, SP+. They can be the ones to determine if the garage is safe to use.

— Steve Patterson

 

Parking For A Renovated Railway Exchange: Old Garage Or Internal?

Let’s assume Hudson Holdings moves forward and buys the Railway Exchange for redevelopment, see Friday’s post: Cautiously Optimistic About the Future of the Railway Exchange Building, parking may be an issue.

The Railway Exchange occupies city block 128, bounded by Olive, 7th, Locust, and 6th. It contains 1.2 million square feet but not a single parking spot. In the early 60s buildings to the South were razed so a 1,000-car garage could be constructed.

The parking garage for the Railway Exchange building was built in 1962, per city records. Shown here in 1966 while the Kiener West garage is getting started. The Railway Exchange is in the background. Scanned from my collection, photographer unknown
The parking garage for the Railway Exchange building was built in 1962, per city records. Shown here in 1966 while the Kiener West garage is getting started. The Railway Exchange is in the background. Scanned from my collection, photographer unknown
Looking from the former department store into the bridge over Olive St connecting to the garage
Looking from the former department store into the bridge over Olive St connecting to the garage, January 2011

b

6th & Pine corner of the garage
6th & Pine corner of the garage
7th & Pine
7th & Pine
7th St focus group at 7th & Pine on May 1, 2012
7th St focus group at 7th & Pine on May 1, 2012
A little further up the group is under the only ramp into the garage. The ULI TAP recommended the ramp be removed and access be gained another way
A little further up the group is under the only ramp into the garage. The ULI TAP recommended the ramp be removed and access be gained another way

The garage has lots of issues:

  • It’s 54+ years old
  • It has low heights
  • Looks dated inside & out
  • Is awkward to use as a motorist
  • Is unsecure — elevators open onto the sidewalk

Using some of the building’s square footage for parking is an option, especially the basement level. The problem? The building doesn’t have a back side. All four facades are finished and face public streets.

West/7th St facade
West/7th St facade
North/Locust St facade
North/Locust St facade
East/6th St facade
East/6th St facade
South/Olive St facade
South/Olive St facade

Last year parking came up for the Mark Twain Building in Kansas City, another future project of Hudson Holdings:

According to Chuck Reitzel, a project manager with Ebersoldt + Associates Architecture, Hassenflu is not planning parking on just four floors. Reitzel, who is Hassenflu’s architect for the Mark Twain project, said parking is planned on six levels: the lower level, first floor, a mezzanine level, and floors two through four.

The parking would be accessed off of Baltimore Avenue through a new garage doorway cut into the northeast corner of the building, Reitzel said. He said a driveway would proceed from the entrance through what his now retail space occupied by Goodden Jewellers, with a circulation ramp allowing motorists to access higher levels.

See the facade they wanted to cut open for garage access here, next door is a parking garage.

Back to the Railway Exchange…

When the indoor mall St. Louis Centre was built North of the Railway Exchange in the 80s it included a dock with elevator/tunnel connected to the basement. This might be better suited for those moving in/out of future apartments than accessing for parking
When the indoor mall St. Louis Centre was built North of the Railway Exchange in the 80s it included a dock with elevator/tunnel connected to the basement. This might be better suited for those moving in/out of future apartments than accessing for parking

Another option is to raze the 1962 garage and start over with a modern garage, or perhaps just a new structure to go under Olive St into the building.  Either would be very expensive.

I favor building the modern streetcar project that was floated a few years ago, it would run on 2-3 sides of the Railway Exchange.  T

he ground floor of the Railway Exchange should be active habitable space — restaurants/retail– not parking. No garage access/curb cut should be permitted either. Already too many garage entries to negotiate as a pedestrian downtown.

— Steve Patterson

 

Deplorable Surface Parking Lot At 1601 Locust Cited, Fined

Yesterday I posted about a privately-owned surface parking lot that has used 75o square feet of the public right-of-way for years, see Deutsch Family Has Profited From Public Right-Of-Way For Nearly Two Decades. Today’s post is about another privately-owned surface parking lot five blocks West.

The lot at 1601 Locust St. is next door to my condo building. When the original condos were sold, and when I bought a couple of years later, in 2007, the lot was under control/ownership of Loftworks  — the developer of Printer’s Lofts. The plan was to construct a new building and connect to the existing two. However, the economy fell out and Loftworks lost control of the lot.

Paving issues, from May 2013
Paving issues, from May 2013
Another from June 13, 2014
Another from June 13, 2014
From April 29, 2016. The car in the background has been booted for non=payment
From April 29, 2016. The car in the background has been booted for non=payment
Also from April 29, 2016 -- a close up at one of the pothole ponds
Also from April 29, 2016 — a close up at one of the pothole ponds

I first complained about the condition to the Citizen’s Service Bureau in 2013, have done so twice since then. Each time the complaint has been marked resolved. I’m told by 5th Ward Neighborhood Improvement Specialist Sharie Taylor that the owner has been sent multiple violation letters. In an email to me she wrote:

[The inspector]  currently has this property under notice and will be doing a reinspection in the near future. If the owner has still not complied, then they will receive fines for each violation. Unfortunately, beyond that, the city can’t do much to force the owners to fix the lot.

I asked about court, and she confirmed that’s the next step if fines aren’t paid. My motivation, however, is maintenance & upgrades. Upgrades, not just new asphalt? Yes, because two other problems exist. The one disabled spot is not identifiable:

Faded wheelchair symbol in 2013, lacks vertical sign
Faded wheelchair symbol in 2013, lacks vertical sign

What remained in 2013 is no longer visible. The other issue is people parking on the 16th Street sidewalk — easily prevented by wheel stops.

September 2013
September 2013
June 2014
June 2014
The worst I've ever seen, from April 4, 2016
The worst I’ve ever seen, from April 4, 2016
Also from April 4th
Also from April 4th
April 27th
April 27th
April 28th
April 28th

Again, wheel stops along 16th Street would prevent cars from pulling so far forward they overhang the sidewalk or have tires fully on the sidewalk.

Unsatisfied with the city’s pace, I faxed the owner, Kathleen Bonan, manager of Saylor Properties #1, LLC, which has the same address as the law form Bonan, Bonan, & Rowland: 116 E. Market St. McLeansboro IL  Faxed? Yes, no website or email could be found for their law firm.

There are a lot of Bonan’s in McLeansboro, like Hunt:

One of southern Illinois’ largest contributors to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign fund denied pay-to-play politics were a factor in his appointment to the state Department of Employment Security. 

Since 2002, Hunt Bonan, owner of Market Street Bancshares, the holding company for Peoples National Bank, made personal contributions to Friends of Blagojevich totaling $20,375, according to the State Board of Elections. Contributions listed as provided by Market Street Bancshares total $124,225. 

Bonan is one of six residents from either Mount Vernon or McLeansboro to receive appointments during the governor’s six years in office. (State Journal-Register)

He and his brother bill are part of People’s National Bank.

On August 8, 1988, shareholders Bill Bonan, an attorney, and his brother, Hunt Bonan, formed a bank holding company for the purpose of acquiring 100% of the stock of Peoples National Bank. The holding company was named Market Street Bancshares, Inc. as a reference to the location of their family law firm, Bonan & Bonan, on Market Street in McLeansboro. At the time the holding company was formed, Peoples National Bank assets totaled $50 million. The original Board of Directors of the holding company was comprised of:

Bill Bonan, Chairman of the Board, Secretary and Treasurer
Hunt Bonan, President
Frank Bonan, Attorney at Law – Father of Bill and Hunt Bonan
Duane Baumann
Steven Epperson
Richard Rubenacker
Bob Prince
Don York

I don’t see financial hardship being a reason for the condition of the lot.

Later this week I plan to stop by the offices of the operator, SP+/Central Parking, located at 720 Olive, Ste 1650. Between them and the owners this mess needs to get addressed!

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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