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Central Valet Zone Now On Tucker

I’ve been writing about valet parking since July 2005. Years ago valets would take every on-street parking space on the block in front of the restaurant that hired them. leaving no spaces for the public to use. They’d place valet signs in bike lanes.

Finally the city to placed signs on the meter of the spaces that were permitted for valet service, including days of the week and hours of operation. The valets continued to take more spaces than given, again inconveniencing the general public. For example, until recently, we had three different valet stands in the two city blocks of Washington Ave between 10th and Tucker (12th), two were directly across the street from each other!

The city has permitted valet on Thursday-Saturday evenings after 6pm. Lately the city did something it should’ve done 8 years ago — created a central valet zone to cover these two blocks. So now on Tucker from St. Charles St to Washington Ave you have a bus stop and a valet zone. This area didn’t have any on-street parking before, it was just excessively wide.

Half the block from St. Charles St to Washington Ave is now designated for valet parking 3 nights per week after 6pm.
Half the block from St. Charles St to Washington Ave is now designated for valet parking 3 nights per week after 6pm. Copia, Prime 1000 & Mosaic customers now valet here.

Valet problems are solved, right? Wrong! The valet companies still feel they have the right to take public parking whenever and where ever they like.

Valets covered two meters in front of Prime 1000 on Monday May 13th, I took this photo at 3:50pm.
Valets covered two meters in front of Prime 1000 on Monday May 13th, I took this photo at 3:50pm.

Empty spaces mean the city isn’t getting revenue to pay off bonds to cover parking garage debt. Since it was before 5pm I was able to email the above pic to the appropriate people so they could come out and tell them they couldn’t do this.

I personally don’t care if valeting happens 7 days a week, as long as it is in the central spot on Tucker so the public spaces remain available for the public to use.

— Steve Patterson

 

Peabody Opera House Valets Caught Driving On 14th Street Sidewalk

Last Sunday I was heading home on the bus just before 1:30pm in the afternoon. Something big was going on at the Peabody Opera House because traffic was backed up. At first I was happy to see cars weren’t being parked on the east sidewalk along 14th like the previous time I came through the area during an event. But, I was soon shocked — the valets were driving on the sidewalk to park customer’s vehicles diagonally on 14th.  Here are the pictures I got from the bus:

ABOVE: Stopped traffic on 14th, beyond the temporary stop sign you can see cars parked on the road diagonally
ABOVE: Two cars are parked on the road but in the background you can see a vehicle on the sidewalk, it was being driven
ABOVE: I spotted a 2nd vehicle passing the bus on the sidewalk!
ABOVE: Valet about to drive off the sidewalk onto the road
ABOVE: The bus was moving now and we caught up with the sidewalk-driving valets
ABOVE: The 1st vehicle I spotted driving on the sidewalk just after the valet parked it on the road

I posted one of the images to Twitter and Facebook then once home emailed a few to various city officials. I’ll email this post to people at the Peabody. Sidewalks are for pedestrians! They are not overflow parking or private driveways. If I have to sit in my power chair in the middle of that sidewalk  to get this to stop, I will.

– Steve Patterson

 

Readers support regulation of valets operating on public streets

Readers last week responded to the weekly poll felt some level of regulation of valets was needed:

Q: Rules regarding valet parking vary in the St. Louis region. What are your thoughts regarding valet parking on public streets?

  1. Valets are operating on public streets — they need permits and regulation to keep them under control: 59 [33.33%]
  2. Valet parking on public streets should take away no more than 2-3 public parking spaces: 53 [29.9%]
  3. Valet parking should not be allowed on public streets at all: 46 [25.99%]
  4. They should be allowed to take all the public parking spaces they want to take if they have a permit: 7 [3.95%]
  5. Unsure: 5 [2.82%]
  6. Don’t care what they do: 3 [ 1.69%]
  7. Other answer… 3 [1.69%]
  8. The operators are just trying to earn a living and provide a need service – they shouldn’t need a permit or be regulated: 1 [0.56%]

The three other answers were:

  1. They should rent spots at the meter rate from the city perhaps.
  2. They should take no more than 2-3 public spaces AND they need regulation!
  3. They should be allowed on public streets BUT not allowed to take away spaces

As more places open in close proximity the more the need to coordinate valet services.

– 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

 

Old Valet Parking Picture Upsets

On the photo sharing site, Flickr,I have  16,000+ images, posted since January 2007.  People find these through Google and other search engines.  So long after a picture has been posted I get an out of the blue comment.  Such was the case recently with this image from the Post-Dispatch:

I uploaded the above on January 16, 2007 – the same day I did a post about valet parking.  The picture has been viewed 271 times on Flickr.  A couple of weeks ago someone made the following comment about the picture:

The Picture shown above is so old and not even relevant. Why its still up on any site is beyond me. Midwest Valet is a good company and works with local business and non for profit organizations to make valet in St. Louis easy and accommodating. Midwest Valet appreciates its clients.

Clearly this person has a bias in favor of one of the companies I found most frustrating as I tried to prevent them from coning off all the public parking spaces in areas where they are working. I was out late Saturday night and valets had their orange cones out on Washington Ave. again to prevent the public from parking in public spaces on the public street.

In Atlanta, one hotel guest got a $284,000 lesson about using the valet:

Businessman Eric Vargosko thought nothing of it when he handed the keys to his rare Lamborghini Gallardo Spider to the valet at the InterContinental in Atlanta’s tony Buckhead section about two months ago, according to Atlanta TV station WSBTV. But by the time he checked out the next morning, the car had vanished.

It was found a month later – damaged. (source: USA Today)

Ouch!

Valet service is good to have but these companies need to be more respectful of public space.

 

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