BIONDI OWNS THE STREET, TOO 

SLU's president issues a no-parking order on side streets around St. Louis University Medical Center

Employees of St. Louis University Medical Center who were accustomed to parking east of Grand Boulevard on side streets such as Theresa Avenue and Carr Lane have gotten a rude awakening lately thanks to their employer — "No Parking" signs have gone up on those streets. Some hospital staffers theorize a possible incentive: With parking banned on nearby streets, more workers might opt to pay between $300 and $900 a year to park in SLU garages. Jim Suelmann, director of streets for the city of St. Louis, doesn't know about the motivation, but he is clear about who requested the ban on parking on the streets near the hospital and medical-school complex: It was St. Louis University, headed by the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, S.J.

That's standard operating procedure when it comes to changes in street parking. "It's a request of the property owner," says Suelmann. "If you own a business and you request no parking or any parking restrictions in front of your establishment, we will do that. I guess St. Louis U. owns all that over there. The ordinance allows us to do that at the request of the owner."

In the "President's Monthly Message #4," e-mailed on Aug. 3, Biondi states that the ban on street parking "was not done, as another SLU rumor has suggested, to force students and employees to participate in the Parking Program." Oh, no. Biondi insists it was so that neighboring residents would not have to "hunt" for parking places and also to bolster pedestrian and vehicular safety. The flaw in that logic is that several "No Parking" streets don't have any homes at all and some employees will be parking farther away, thereby compromising their "safety."

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