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Readers want more payment options for on-street parking

ABOVE: brief test of pay-n-display meters on South Grand in November 2006
ABOVE: brief test of pay-n-display meters on South Grand in November 2006

The poll last week was about on-street parking and the answer with the biggest number of votes was more payment options.

Q: On-street parking downtown is free after 7pm weeknights and all day Saturday & Sunday. Thoughts? Pick up to three answers:

  1. More payment options like bills, plastic or via phone 75 [27.17%]
  2. Too many blocks lack any on-street parking. 40 [14.49%]
  3. Extend the 2-hour limit to 3 or 4 hours on blocks with few storefronts. 33 [11.96%]
  4. Enforce the 2-hour time limit but not during events like festivals or sporting events 21 [7.61%]
  5. Perfect as is 21 [7.61%]
  6. Regardless the city needs to enforce the 2-hour limit to encourage turnover 20 [7.25%]
  7. Downtown parking meter rates & times should be the same as other areas in the city 18 [6.52%]
  8. Downtown on-street parking should be free 24/7  – 16 [5.8%]
  9. On-street parking shouldn’t be free on Saturdays 9 [3.26%]
  10. On-street parking should stay free after 7pm weekdays but not on the weekends 8 [2.9%]
  11. On-street parking should stay free on the weekends but weekdays should be paid until 9pm 7 [2.54%]
  12. Other answer… 6 [2.17%]
  13. No opinion/unsure 2 [0.72%]
  14. On-street parking should be removed so we have more room for traffic flow.  0 [0%]

The six other answers were:

  1. lower the costs to visit downtown and more people will come.
  2. Enforce the limit, but get rid of the ugly garages that eat up downtown space
  3. Meter parking should be free after 6PM
  4. On street parking should be free after 5:00 on weekdays and all weekend.
  5. Prices should fluctuate based on demand at any given time
  6. It’s fine

So what do I make of these results? That the biggest group don’t mind paying to park on the street, they just want more options than change.  If you park in an area that allows more than two hours of parking it requires a lot of quarters, dimes and nickels.  I personally buy a $10 roll of quarters every so often just so that I make sure I have enough.

Cities with modern parking policies have “pay-n-display” machines rather than our 20th century meters.  Pay-n-display eliminates meters at each spot — in fact there are no specific spots — you can get more cars in a given amount of street.  After paying the fee with cash, coin, or credit you affix a receipt inside your car window.  Other systems allow you to extend your time via your cell phone.

The second most popular response was “Too many blocks lack any on-street parking.”  This is a big peeve of mine, in particular the north side of the 1100 block of Washington.  The lane that should have on-street parking in front of the bowling alley, hair salon, pizza place and diner is reserved for “turning movements” — all that traffic that goes north on Tucker.  I’ve made two short videos of this block to highlight the lack of traffic during the weekday rush hour.

March 2010:


September 2009:


It is clear there is disagreement on downtown’s parking policy.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: downtown on-street parking

June 27, 2010 Downtown, Parking 2 Comments
ABOVE: this motorist had no clue where to park relative to meter location

Urban centers tend to be perceived as having too little parking, downtown St. Louis is no exception. The reality is downtown St. Louis has too much parking, not too little.  The poll this week focuses on street parking — rates, hours, etc.  The question is: On-street parking downtown is free after 7pm weeknights and all day Saturday & Sunday. Thoughts? Pick up to three answers: I’ve provided many answers and you can pick up to three.  You can also provide your own answer in the other spot.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: your view on regulation of valet parking

ABOVE: Five public parking spaces coned off by Shiver 6/11/2010
ABOVE: Five public parking spaces coned off by Shiver 6/11/2010

The poll this week is about a favorite subject of mine: valet parking.  I feel that on weekends in certain areas of the City of St. Louis some valet companies take over the public streets for their own use. I’ve had one business owner, adjacent to another business that has a valet, that his customers have nowhere to park because one business takes every public parking space.

I’ll go into more detail when I present the poll results on the 23rd. Please take a moment and vote in the poll in the sidebar to the right.

– Steve Patterson


Police post emergency no-parking signs in no-parking zone

June 10, 2010 Downtown, Parking 5 Comments

For some reason one block of 8th Street (Locust to Olive) is a no-parking zone on one side of the street.  But someone felt it was necessary to place “emergency no-parking” signs.

Perhaps someone in one of the cars parked in the no-parking zone had the signs put up to ensure nobody parked on the street so it would be empty so they could park there?  Downtown’s on-street parking policies are truly a clusterf*ck. The block should have metered parking just like most blocks.  Having these cars parked there reduced the travel lanes to two and afforded some separation between pedestrians and passing vehicles.

– Steve Patterson


Hey U.S. Bank, your parking garage is an eyesore!

The St. Louis Centre skybridge across Washington Ave.,   more than a block from the entrance to the convention center, will be gone in a few weeks.  For so long officials have focused on the bridge as a eyesore:

Kitty Ratcliffe, president of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, has long advocated for the removal of the skybridge, which is located a block away from the entrance to the city’s convention facility, America’s Center.

“The bridge over Washington Avenue makes people think our city is dirty, that it is unsafe and that we don’t really care about our city,” she said. “This is going to change that dramatically. It’s going to make a very different impression.”

Read more: Downtown St. Louis’ biggest eyesore to come down -  St. Louis Business Journal

Yet visible from the convention center is an atrocity that is never mentioned — the 1975 parking garage for U.S. Bank:

ABOVE: 1975 parking garage at 8th & Washington Ave

Hmm, what does this garage say about our city?  When built  it was then then Mercantile Bank and the convention center was two years from opening and when it did it stopped a block to the north.  In the mid-1990s  the Cervantes Center was renamed and expanded a block to the south and given a prominent entrance aligned with 8th Street.

When visitors leave the convention center they see two buildings across the street — the ugly U.S. Bank garage and the Renaissance Grand hotel.

The hotel is obviously fine but the garage is so out of place.  It needs to go away and be replaced with a structure of similar massing but with say doors and windows.

– Steve Patterson