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So Some ‘SCHMUK’ Parked In A Loading Only Zone

Since I started this blog more than a decade ago pedestrian access & walkability have been a regular theme — especially since I became disabled 7 years ago. Friday I encountered a car parked blocking a ramp. Being a car guy I tend to mention the make of car — it was a Pontiac that blocked a ramp on one of my first outings to the store in a wheelchair in 2008. The car on Friday happened to be a Mercedes.

"Mercedes owner blocked a crosswalk I needed at Richmond Hts MetroLink station"
I said “Mercedes owner blocked a crosswalk I needed at Richmond Hts MetroLink station” on Facebook & Twitter. Click to view on Facebook.
schmuk
I posted this picture of the rear vanity license plate “SCHMUK” on Twitter and in the comments on Facebook, click to view on Twitter.
schmuk
No license plate displayed on the front — as required by Missouri law. No snow or ice — just salt residue

I’m posting this to start a civil discussion about the physical design of the area and how pedestrian amenities are easily ignored.

These three images, above, were taken at 12:11-12:12pm on Friday afternoon, it was 43 °F just before noon.  Like everyone, I make mistakes.  When I do I admit as much.

Here’s what I got wrong:

  1. The ramp isn’t for a crosswalk, it’s for a passenger loading zone.
  2. It’s near the Brentwood MetroLink Station, not the Richmond Heights MetroLink Station — that’s located one station Eastbound on the Blue Line, which opened in 2006.

Very little discussion on Twitter, but Facebook erupted. Here’s some comments that remained as of yesterday (users deleted others):

Comments from a 23 year-old saying he’s the owner:

  • Thanks facebookers. This is actually my vehicle. I assure you that it was a clearly marked parking space and a car was actually parked behind me as you can see. The curbs are not marked yellow or anything. I apologize but it says nothing about not parking in that space. My plates are hilarious I know. Thanks dan for telling me about the post! Lets find something new to complain about now!
  • [After I said I contacted the police] “Omg. Like they don’t have more important stuff to worry about. Sorry you had an inconvenience. Again. The writing on the pavement was still covered in snow and ice.. Also why isn’t the other car being put on a blast? Because it was not a Mercedes!” 
  • Only tacky people use front license plates. Duh.
  • God my car is beautiful though isn’t it?!
  • I have apologized multiple times. No clear signs. No curb markers. No lines within the area. Also the other car hasn’t been called out. Just mine. I’m over the whole situation.

From his friends:

  • I find this city to be wasting more and more time on pointless endeavors that literally amount to nothing more than pessimistic chatter.
  • Go fight a war, go feed the homeless, save a child refugee…no chance of you becoming something of use to the world because you will all still be on facebook making a fool out of yourselves and the right of freedom of speech. No wonder this city is in turmoil… people being shot over petty crimes and people bitching about where cars are parked on a social media site during their off time. #sillyfirstworldproblems My finger tips were cut off a month ago. THAT is a problem. …get a life.
  • It’s the principle. I also am annoyed that my friend who is a very kind, successful individual who doesn’t deserve internet slander or harassment was being targeted as som e sort of criminal. It is as I said before petty, a waste of time, and pathetic.
  •  You guys are clearly uneducated morons! Had any of you spent as much time trying to be successful as you do running your mouths and posting stupid stuff on fb, you too could have nice things. Maybe then you wouldn’t have to run your mouth and judge ppl just to fill you free time it looks like a perfectly fine place to park to me!
  •  Wow! Pretty sure anyone who can afford a Mercedes can most definitely read! So you’re a wannabe photographer, I wouldn’t quit your day job just yet. Parking sucks all over stl & I’m sure that loading zone was so clear thru the ice that even you missed it! You even said so. I am truly nowhere near wealthy & even I have more to do in life than to be so dang petty over something so minimal! Josh is a wonderful person, I’ve known him his whole life! But you all see a Mercedes & automatically go to rich jerk….stereotype much! Sorry, I just think it’s ridiculous to waste this much time of your day venting about something when it would’ve taken 5 extra seconds to walk around the car a foot! They’re not going to give you a Jay walking ticket if there’s obviously a vehicle blocking what you THOUGHT was a crosswalk. Get a life…one where you have a legitimate reason to bash someone, for more than having money bcuz your attitude says that’s all your pissed about. Love ya Josh, glad you could handle this with the class you did, sorry, couldn’t shut my mouth when it’s about my adopted brother!
  • Wow. I know my friend would never intentionally try to hurt anyone or do wrong, as I’ve known him for eight years. Mistakes happen, and whether or not he parked incorrectly, I don’t think it warrants such persecution. He didn’t get a ticket, did he? Leave the law up to the police, not the Internet.
  • I love that the fact you’re driving a Mercedes is what is really pissing people off, [redacted]. If you were driving a POS (that’s Piece Of Shit, for you flipping idiots out there), no one would have even posted about this as that shit happens all the time! Find something else to be pissed about people. #youarethespoiledone.
  • How about using your anger to get the city to install signs on poles that would clearly state Loading zone. Not paint a street that would be covered with salt residue. do something useful instead of petty with your time.

His Dad removed his comments, but the one from his mom remains:

  • My son has apologized, he is a very caring and loving young man and has always obeyed the law, once again, we apologize for all the inconvenience.
    Loving Mother

One of his so-called apologies was this internet meme:

stopbeingpoor
Some may consider this an apology, I do not.

Another comment from the thread — from a personal friend:

I understand that it does not alway occur to people that parking in front of the sidewalk ramp prevents someone using a wheelchair from crossing the street– it is a concept that most folks have the luxury of not thinking about. The benefit of this thread is that it has had the potential to increase awareness (for those open to having their awareness increased). However, I don’t think “sorry you are poor” and related sorry-not-sorry apologies count as a sincere apology and referring to “inconvenience” is patronizing.

Friday I wanted to verify what another commenter had said — that it was clearly a loading zone on Google Maps. The aerial was too dark but the August 2012 Street View was clear, I shared the following screen shot in the thread.

In the comments I was accused of photoshopping the words LOADING ONLY even though I included a link to see it on Google -- click to view.
In the comments I was accused of photoshopping the words LOADING ONLY even though I included a link to see it on Google — click to view. I couldn’t photoshop the above, much less hack Google.

We were out that way Sunday afternoon so I drove through to check it out from a motorists prospective.

Right off Hanley you see a loading only zone with a solid white line and a sign. He was parked further West, let's see how it looks.
Right off Hanley you see a loading only zone with a solid white line and a sign. He was parked further West, let’s see how it looks.
Again, a solid white line that curves back to the curb is a good clue this isn't for driving or parking.  The text is faded and no sign is posted like the previous spot. The ramp is very visible,
Again, a solid white line that curves back to the curb is a good clue this isn’t for driving or parking. The text is faded and no sign is posted like the previous spot. The ramp is very visible,
A close up of the fading text, but the solid white line and ramp are pretty clear.
A close up of the fading text, but the solid white line and ramp are pretty clear.

This entire development is poorly designed  — it doesn’t work well for both motorists and pedestrians. After the I-64 rebuild Musick Memorial Dr became a public street, it’s how you get to Westbound Eager Rd from Hanley. From the various comments I got the view that everything East of I-270 is “the city”, with what the rest of us know as the city being downtown.   St. Louis has no responsibility for Musick Memorial Dr — that falls to either the developer or City of Brentwood.

If only there was  a massive parking garage where he could’ve parked.

— Steve Patterson

 

Parking Garage Undergoing Time-Consuming Multi-Million Dollar Restoration; Businesses Closed, Jobs Lost

December 22, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Parking 55 Comments

Old buildings require renovation/restoration to extend their useful life. Usually downtown buildings getting a complete makeover date from the 19th or early 20th century but for the last six months one built in 1967 has been closed during the restoration process.

Scaffolding to protect the public sidewalk
Scaffolding to protect the public sidewalk has been up for months around the parking garage at Tucker & Locust, attached to the Old Post-Dispatch Building, at right. Click for map.
On July 1, 2014 I posted this image to Twitter & Facebook saying "Workers are prepping the parking garage at Tucker & Locust for rehab (refresh concrete)"
On July 1, 2014 I posted this image to Twitter & Facebook saying “Workers are prepping the parking garage at Tucker & Locust for rehab (refresh concrete)”
I took this picture of the stone-clad columns getting wrapped in plywood before the previous pic
I took this picture of the stone-clad columns getting wrapped in plywood before the previous pic
The July 9th sign in the window of the Chinese Wok restaurant at 1122 Locust, lower level of the east end of the garage.
In July this sign went up in the window of the Chinese Wok restaurant at 1122 Locust, lower level of the east end of the garage. Regulars in the area will recalling seeing a scooter just inside the window.
More than two months later, on September 15, 2014, the interior of the restaurant was completely gutted.
More than two months later, on September 15, 2014, the interior of the restaurant was completely gutted.
In October the sign saying they'd be closed for a month remained in place.
In October the sign saying they’d be closed for a month remained in place.

The owners of this business expected to only be closed for a month, but it has been nearly six months now. The Papa John’s at Tucker is no longer listed on papajohns.com website, the nearest location is now listed at 3822 Laclede. After this long I decided it was time to start asking questions about the project. On December 17th I emailed the media contact for the general contractor, Tarlton:

Laura,
I’ve been watching the project at the parking garage on the SE corner of Tucker & Locust for months.

I have some questions:
1) what’s the scope of the project?
2) is it taking longer than originally expected? I ask because they Chinese restaurant only expected to be closed for a month or two.
3) when do you anticipate being finished?
4) cost of the project?

Thanks,

Steve

The next day I received the following response:

Hi Steve.
My apologies for the delay in getting back to you — I was traveling.
These are questions for the property owner.
Thanks, Laura

LAURA LUSSON, Communications Manager, Tarlton Corporation

Ah yes, the owner. That would be Tucker Parking Equities LLC & Tucker Parking Holdings LLC located at 24 Church St in Montclair NJ, both were formed in Delaware in 2007.  Getting nowhere with the contractor, I emailed building commissioner Frank Oswald asking what he could tell me about permit #516639, applied for on September 8th, I quickly heard back saying he wasn’t familiar, he copied a district supervisor but I’ve not heard from him. Also Friday morning I emailed Central Parking to ask when the garage would reopen, I’ve not heard back from them.

This December 17, 2014 image shows the wood & steel added inside the structure.
This December 17, 2014 image shows the wood & steel added inside the structure.

I’d hoped to have something more ‘concrete’ to report.

— Steve Patterson

 

TUCKER PARKING EQUITIES LLC FL0811142 Limited Liability Company (Foreign) Active 4/19/2007 Saur Esq., Stephanie
Tucker Parking Holdings LLC LC0811141 Limited Liability Company (Domestic) Active 4/19/2007 CSC-LAWYERS INCORPORATING SERVICE COMPANY
 

Retail Parking Garages Great In Winter

December 11, 2014 Featured, Parking Comments Off on Retail Parking Garages Great In Winter

As Winter approaches I’m thankful for the businesses that have covered parking. You see, since my 2008 stroke walking on dry pavement is a challenge, snow & ice nearly impossible. So businesses with covered parking, like the Hampton Village Target, allows me to drive from my garage and park under the store without walking on slick pavement.

Parking level under the Target at Hampton & Chippewa
Parking level under the Target at Hampton & Chippewa

Being able to work forces you to leave your homes regardless of the weather, but as a person on disability, it gets old when I haven’t left the house for days. As I’ve complained before, the downtown sidewalks can remain blocked with snow a week or more after the roads are fully cleared, leaving me no choice but to get in the car to keep from going stir crazy.

The Winter of 2012 was the worst, I’d sold my car the previous Spring. Last Winter my then-fiance could drive me places in his car. This Winter, however, I’ll be able to drive the car we bought together in the Spring. I still prefer going out in the wheelchair if the sidewalks are clear enough, it’s my equivalent to going for a walk.

This time next year I’ll also be able to drive to, and park at, Whole Foods & IKEA!

— Steve Patterson

 

Mobile Payments An Option At Some Existing Parking Meters

December 4, 2014 Featured, Parking 2 Comments

New parking meters are be coming to St. Louis; they’ll accept coins, credit cards, and mobile payments. The mobile payments aspect isn’t waiting on the new meters though, the Treasurer’s office is busy assigning “zones” to blocks so parkers have the option of paying with the Parkmobile app with the existing meters.

Zone numbers are going up  downtown, each block has a unique number.
Zone numbers are going up downtown, each block has a unique number.
The payment screen
The payment screen in the Parkmobile app, the $1 discount is from a discount code that only applies to the first purchase.

When you set up the app you can add your vehicle(s) to your list. You include the license plate number for each vehicle. Parking enforcement now coordinates with Parkmobile so it’ll see your plate is paid for that zone.

It remains to be seen how willing the public is to paying 35¢ for every transaction. When the rates go up this summer it’ll be a good alternative for someone who doesn’t have $3 in coins to park for 2 hours. The app only allows you to pay for the maximum time allowed, usually 2 hours. If you pay for an hour ($1.35 w/fee at current rates) you can be notified 15 minutes before it expires, you’ll have the option to add another hour (another $1.35). Want to stay longer than two hours? Just start a new entry for parking in the same zone. Given the 35¢ fee I don’t think we’ll see downtown workers parking at meters all day and using the app to avoid adding coins every two hours. The new rates should make more consider off-street lots and garages.

The Parkmobile app is available for many mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and soon Amazon), a web app is also available. Click here for information on downloading an app. Even if you prefer to pay cash, or swipe your credit card once the new meters arrive, having the app on your smartphone as a backup is a good idea.

— Steve Patterson

 

New Parking Meters On Display

November 14, 2014 Featured, Parking 5 Comments

If you haven’t seen the new parking meters that are coming you can stop by the St Louis Traffic Violation Bureau at 229 N 7th St.

Meters
The new multi-space & single space meters are in the lobby

You can also use these at Laclede & Euclid, they accept coins & credit cards. If you have a smartphone (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry) you can also download a free app here or use the web app here. Note that a small convenience fee will apply if using the app.

— Steve Patterson

 

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