When Matt Jessee started his first year at SLU LAW as a part-time student, he purchased a parking pass at one of the nearby University lots. The parking meters along Lindell Boulevard didn’t matter to him very much. But after his daughter was born, he started taking more day classes, and the meters piqued his interest.
“I didn’t really have any classes that were 50 minutes or less, and I thought it was kind of ridiculous that the meters were only for an hour or less and they watched them like a hawk,” he said.
Matt was in a position to make a difference, though. He works for Bryan Cave Strategies, and lobbies in Jefferson City, Mo., and Washington, D.C., for the firm’s clients. The former city treasurer wasn’t running for re-election, and Matt knew someone who was vying to replace him.
“When my friend (State Rep.) Tishaura Jones started running for treasurer, I mentioned it to her because it’s a huge issue for students,” he said. “When she came into office, I noticed one day that the time limit had been extended.”
“It was probably the easiest lobbying I’d ever done.”
Jones echoed Matt’s sentiment about the change being common sense. She said she also fielded a question from a constituent at a North St. Louis ward meeting about why the times on some meters along Lindell were different from others.
“We investigated and found that she was right!” said Jones. “So I instructed the staff to increase the time limit on all meters in the area to two hours. It was just that simple.”
Another parking-related change coming to the area around SLU is a pilot program for meters that take credit cards in addition to coins. The Treasurer’s office set up new meters in the Central West End and will monitor their use to determine whether or not to replace the old meters with them citywide – a change that would bring along with it new technology like smartphone apps with available parking information and text message alerts, according to KSDK-TV.