St. Louis: Prepared for the 100-Year Parking Event

This is literally just a snapshot of the parking issue in downtown St. Louis: Steve Patterson of Urban Review STL took this photo last night as the Cardinals were playing game two of the World Series. It’s a photo of the Stadium West parking garage adjacent to Busch Stadium. It’s top level is virtually EMPTY! The City of St. Louis is prepared for the 100-year parking event. Maybe, just maybe, on an evening when the Blues, Cardinals and Rams all play, and the Peabody Opera House is packed, and a downtown festival is bustling… No, downtown St. Louis parking will never be full.

I don’t know how many parking spaces there are downtown. No one does. Initial plans for the revitalized Arch grounds included dedicated parking, reportedly at the insistence of National Park Service. Nevermind the Stadium East garage is one block from the Arch. Arch grounds designer Michael Van Valkenburgh is smart enough to recognize that parking is available in spades. However, the city continues to build more parking. Two blocks from the Stadium West garage, the City of St. Louis recently built a new municipal parking garage. Two blocks to the north sit the underutilized twin Kiener Plaza garages.

So when is the city, or a planning agency going to get serious and simply seek to better understand parking in downtown St. Louis? How much is there? How much do we need? Is it necessary to be prepared for the 100-year parking event? And at what cost? If it isn’t obvious now to those charged with creating a better St. Louis that we’re wasting precious resources, it never will be. Thanks to Greg Jonsson who offered the “100-year parking event” analogy on his Twitter account.

{a view of the Stadium West garage (upper left) and Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis}