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Cogdell Creates Own On-Street Parking

Freshman councilman blocks lane used by rush hour drivers

Uptown business owners and those trying to reach them by vehicle flipped out in December after city leaders announced that 119 uptown parking spaces were to be removed, ostensibly to prevent a terrorist attack.

The logic at the time was that removing the metered spaces would make it more difficult to park next to key, highly bombable locations, thus making it more difficult to blow them up or perpetrate some other act of horror while parked in a nearby, convenient location.

Since then, the city has removed a total of 85 spaces, making uptown parking -- and who gets to use it -- a touchy subject. That's why Creative Loafing became curious about the identity of the owner of the bronze BMW illegally parked outside the Government Center parking deck most Monday evenings during the council's dinner meeting.

The vehicle, with the license tag "AT LAW," has been parked on the Fourth Street side of the parking deck, in the spaces where parking is banned between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays to make room for rush-hour traffic. The car's presence blocked a lane of traffic.

As it turns out, the car is registered freshman city council member Harold Cogdell Jr., who was attending the council's dinner meeting, which starts at 5pm. The car was last seen illegally parked in the space during the council's March 4 council workshop. According to Park It!, the public/private partnership between the Charlotte Department of Transportation and Central Parking Corporation, Cogdell's car has not yet been ticketed or towed, though anyone who parks in the illegal spaces is subject to a $50 fine and possible towing.

Given that the Government Center deck was not at full capacity that night, and that there are spaces reserved for council members in another nearby deck, it is unknown why Cogdell's car continues to roll to a stop in that particular spot on Monday nights.

Calls for comment to Cogdell's office by CL were not returned. *

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