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Readers: New Building Should Replace Condemned Parking Garage

December 2014
December 2014

No surprise, but most who voted in the Sunday Poll favored an occupied building to replace a condemned parking garage downtown:

Q: The parking garage at Tucker & Locust, built in 1967, was condemned a few months ago. What should be the long-term outcome? (PICK UP TO 2)

  1. Raze for new building w/zero parking 22 [34.92%]
  2. Raze for new building w/some parking 21 [33.33%]
  3. Renovation of structure, reopen garage 6 [9.52%]
  4. Raze for new parking garage 5 [7.94%]
  5. Unsure/no opinion 3 [4.76%]
  6. Other: 3 [4.76%]
    1. Apartments, parking, ground level retail.
    2. Restaurant
    3. Traditional incremental urbanism
  7. Raze for surface parking lot 2 [3.17%]
  8. Nothing, leave as is 1 [1.59%]
  9. Raze for open space 0 [0%]

I was very happy nobody voted for “Raze for open space”, because we’ve got more open space than we need. I have to wonder about the person who voted that leaving a condemned parking garage is the best long-term outcome. Really!?!

Even in the short-term I’d oppose a surface parking lot. If built properly, it would likely stick around until fully depreciated — which isn’t short-term. We need to build on many of our existing surface lots to reduce holes in our urban fabric. A case could be made for a new parking garage on the site. At this point I’d give little chance the existing garage will be renovated — the repairs are just too costly.Without a doubt, a new building, with or without internal parking, is ideal.

The New Jersey-based entity that owns the condemned garage likely doesn’t care about what’s best for creating a more urban St. Louis, but I don’t care about their bottom line! In the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Planning & Zoning Committee I’ll advocate for a position on this site that opposes just letting it sit or a surface parking lot, supports a building.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: What Should Be The Long-Term Outcome of the Condemned Parking Garage at Tucker & Locust?

On Tuesday I wrote about the condemned parking garage at Tucker & Locust, which led to discussion in the comments about what should/could happen. Perfect poll topic…

Please assume the list choices aren’t necessarily government imposed or funded, could be entirely private — you can wave a magic wand. You may pick two, one can be your own.

The answers above are presented in random order.

— Steve Patterson

 

Older Coin Parking Meters Now Accept Credit Cards, Smartphone Required

July 16, 2015 Featured, Parking Comments Off on Older Coin Parking Meters Now Accept Credit Cards, Smartphone Required

Eighty years ago today the very first parking meter was installed, in Oklahoma City of all places. For decades parking meters were entirely mechanical devoices, prone to mechanical failures.

From Popular Science, December 1959, via Google Books.
From Popular Science, December 1959, via Google Books.

But the meter has been changing as new technology allows. The City of St. Louis is in the process of replacing the digital coin-operated meters that were installed about 20 years ago.

New single-space meter coming
Some blocks will get multi-space pay stations, but most will get these single-space meters

In the meantime, the old meters have been updated to accept credit cards — sorta. Those of us with smartphones can set up an app to pay the parking fees with plastic. This convenience costs 35¢ 30 cents extra — the same convenience fee as the new meters & pay stations that are being installed.

Our old meters now accept credit card payments
Our old meters now accept credit card payments

Parking rates increased throughout the city at the start of the month, so those who like using coins will need more.

New electronic meters in the city will charge $1.50 an hour throughout most of the high-usage downtown and downtown west areas, up from the $1 an hour they were as of Tuesday. Lower-usage meters in the remainder of the city will rise to $1 from the previous 75 cents.

Penalties for failing to pay at meters also will go up. The previous $10 fee — which turned to $20 if it wasn’t paid within two weeks — now will start at $15 and rise to $30 if it’s paid late. However, fine recipients now will have three weeks to pay instead of two. (Post-Dispatch)

Old & new meters don’t accept bills — coins or plastic. For more information see the Treasurer’s new parking website: ParkLouie.com.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Car Hit Planters & Scaffolding Outside Condemned Parking Garage

Early Monday morning a car hit planters & scaffolding on the Tucker sidewalk, at Locust.

A car crashed into the side of a downtown building just before 1:00 Monday morning near Tucker Boulevard and Locust Street.  (KMOV)

KMOV’s report says after inspection the building was “deemed safe.” More accurately, the car didn’t damage the building, but it was condemned months ago.

Garage at Tucker & Locust, December 2014. The two planters hit Monday can be seen between the cars
Garage at Tucker & Locust, December 2014. The two planters hit Monday can be seen between the cars
Just before 7am, a worker looks at the damage to the scaffolding.The two planters now shoved back against the previously condemned building
Just before 7am, a worker looks at the damage to the scaffolding.The two planters now shoved back against the previously condemned building

This scaffolding has now been in place for more than a year. All the work had been inside, but that stopped months ago.

Prior posts:

On July 1, 2014 just before the scaffolding went up along the Locust side
On July 1, 2014 just before the scaffolding went up along the Locust side
December 2014
December 2014

The scaffolding was in place to prevent debris from falling to the public sidewalk below. With work stopped, I have to wonder how long it’ll remain in place? Is there a point where the city will force the owner &/or contractor to remove it from the pubic right-of-way?

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Arch Visitors Walk Where Sidewalk Used To Be, Should Be Again

Currently there’s only one way in/out of the Arch grounds — via Walnut Street over I-44 (formerly I-70).  While the new lid at the center is being completed, everyone is routed via the new bridge over the interstate, on the North side of Walnut Street. However, at some point, St. Louis removed the sidewalk on the North side of Walnut St, between Memorial (3rd St) and 4th.

Pedestrians crossing back downtown are directed to not walk straight ahead, to go to the South side of Walnut (left)  or go one block North to Market (right)
Pedestrians crossing back downtown are directed to not walk straight ahead, to go to the South side of Walnut (left) or go one block North to Market (right)
The South side of Gateway Tower, KMOV's truck parks where the public sidewalk should be
The South side of Gateway Tower, KMOV’s truck parks where the public sidewalk should be
Where the sidewalk used to be next to the former American Zinc building, is  angled parking
Where the sidewalk used to be next to the former American Zinc building, is angled parking. Click image to view the National Register nomination of this building
Looking East from 4th the same barricades indicate pedestrians shouldn't walk in a straight line
Looking East from 4th the same barricades indicate pedestrians shouldn’t walk in a straight line
Crowds of people walking West into downtown
Crowds of people walking West into downtown on a Thursday afternoon

Looking at the 1997 National Register nomination of the American Zinc building, the sidewalk was in place. Most likely the sidewalk was removed when Drury Inn combined it with two other buildings, see Drury steps up plans for hotel at Fur Exchange site.

Looking at GEO St. Louis it appears this remains part of the public right-of-way (PROW), not vacated to private interests. The PROW was reallocated to give pedestrian space to automobiles. At the time the Cardinals played in Busch Stadium II and Walnut Street was a major point of vehicular egress after games.

I think we need to examine the Walnut PROW to see if the amount for vehicle travel can be reduced by one lane so that a sidewalk can be replaced. Remember, hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to connect the Arch ground to downtown. The lack of a sidewalk connecting to the South highway crossing point is a huge disconnect.

People know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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