All Aboard!

We get political with Kerry and Dean, feel the bite of a "Mad Dog" and discover something amazing about Prius ownership. Plus, confidential to Unreal readers: Parking downtown is easy!

"We sell out during Rams games, and sometimes when there are big conventions in town," says garage attendant Linda Henderson. "Right there?" she says incredulously, when we tell her the Century is slated to be replaced by a new garage. "What do we need with another one?"

At the corner of Eighth and Washington, we have no problem finding a spot among the 75 or so empty spaces in the 365-car facility. When we pilot our Bentley to the pay booth, the kindly attendant reports that the lot is seldom, if ever, full on weekdays. "It's easy to find a space," he says.

A new nine-story garage at Seventh and Pine streets boasts 755 spaces. Today the top three levels are vacant. The roof, Unreal muses, would be perfect for a lazy game of Wiffle ball.

"We've never had to put a sign out there that says, 'Lot Full,'" volunteers Steve Baker, director of planning and support service for the City Treasurer's Office. "There's always space available. The highest day we've had there is 600. We've never filled up," he says, then corrects himself. "We did fill up for a Cardinals day game."

Let Them Eat Cake

The folks at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis don't just count money. Sometimes they count MetroLink riders and Toyota Priuses. Witness this recent charticle reflecting the high cost of mass transit, adapted from a piece by economist Thomas A. Garrett and research associate Molly D. Castelazo in the July issue of the St. Louis Fed's publication, the Regional Economist.

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