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Loop Business Owners Speak Out Against Evening Parking Fee at City Council Meeting

Several Loop business owners spoke out Monday night against a proposal to charge for evening parking in the Loop.

Several Loop business owners spoke in opposition to a proposal to charge for evening parking at Monday night's City Council meeting.

"We are scraping by," said Kelly von Plonski, owner of . "If people have to start to pay to park, fewer people will come to the Loop," she said.

Von Plonski has been very public about her to stay open in these tough economic times. In February, she said if sales didn't start to turn around she would be out of business by September.

Jessica Bueler, the owner of located at 6363 Delmar and the newly elected President of the Loop Special Business District said free parking is one of the things that helped bring the Loop back.

"It's not worth risking the delicate balance of this vibrant shopping district to charge for parking," she said. She believes free parking allows the Loop to be competitive with malls and other shopping areas. "I ask you to please not risk hurting the ability of the Loop to attract visitors at this very fragile time for small, owner-operated businesses," she said. 

The proposal to charge a $1.00 for evening parking at two City owned lots which currently have no parking fees is included in a proposed 2012 budget balancing initiative that City Manager Lehman Walker has presented to city council members.

The lots in question are the parking areas behind  that stretch to  and to , and the lot behind. The City estimates that charging a dollar for night parking would generate at least $210,000 a year.

However, Jeff Weintrop, Vice Chairman of the Loop Special Business District and owner of   in the Loop disputes the City's figure. "A quick calculation means that the entire lots would not only have to be full 365 days a year - it would also have to turn over at a rate of 1.4 times every evening to meet this estimate."

He asked the council to table and dismiss the parking fee proposal.

The parking fees will require a separate vote from the vote on the budget.

Ryan Gladstone March 15, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Did the City Council take any action following the comments? What's the next step?
Myra Lopez March 15, 2011 at 09:05 PM
The parking fee is only a budget initiative proposal. The parking fees will require a separate vote from the City Council - than their vote on the budget.
Myra Lopez March 15, 2011 at 10:28 PM
if you go to the summary of revenues for 2012 -- the projected revenue is found under parking meter collection.
James Baer March 23, 2011 at 11:41 AM
Nice to see the Post have a feature about parking fees in the loop today. Myra has written numerous articles about this, with public comment a week before. Way to go girl. Talk about the P-D being a day(s) late and a dollar short...
Jim March 23, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Hey more taxes in U. City! And yet another one on our golden goose, the Loop! You'd think, given our ever-rising property taxes and the other fees that crop up year in and year out, that our schools would be the envy of everyone outside of Clayton and Ladue and that snow would be plowed off our streets in time for work. Ha! What are you doing with our money, Mr. Walker?!

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