Long Vacant St. Louis Union Station Reopened 30 Years Ago

Tomorrow marks 30 years since Union station reopened as a “festival marketplace.” A festival marketplace is a realization by James W. Rouse and the Rouse Company in the United States of an idea conceived by Benjamin C. Thompson of Benjamin Thompson and Associates for European style markets taking hold in …

Twenty-Five Years in Saint Louis

I didn’t go to high school here, but 5 years after high school St. Louis became my new home — 25 years ago today. A couple of weeks earlier I arrived in St. Louis for a 2-night stay on my way to Washington D.C., but I quickly feel in love …

Over A Month To Move One Trash Can

When I spotted a trash can sitting in the middle of a curb ramp last month I thought it would be a simple matter to get it moved. Boy was I wrong! On the morning of July 17th I posted the following image on Facebook & Twitter, stating “Trash can …

17th Street Should Be Two-Way Again

Downtown St. Louis, and Downtown West to a lesser degree, has lots of one-way streets. This was done decades ago to facilitate  driving in & out. A decade ago Locust St., which had been one-way Westbound, was reverted back to two-way West of 14th St. But there are some odd little …

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Long Vacant St. Louis Union Station Reopened 30 Years Ago

Tomorrow marks 30 years since Union station reopened as a “festival marketplace.”

A festival marketplace is a realization by James W. Rouse and the Rouse Company in the United States of an idea conceived by Benjamin C. Thompson of Benjamin Thompson and Associates for European style markets taking hold in the United States in an effort to revitalize downtown areas in major US cities in the late 20th century. Festival marketplaces were a leading downtown revitalization strategy in American cities during the 1970s and 1980s. The guiding principles are a mix of local tenants instead of chain stores, design of shop stalls and common areas to energize the space, and uncomplicated architectural ornament in order to highlight the goods. (Wikipedia)

This occurred just as I was starting my freshman year of college — studying architecture. The reimagining of Union Station, and other historic buildings, was influential during my college years. Just 5 years before reopening, Union Station looked so bad its Grand Hall was used as the location of a big fight scene in Escape From New York!

As noted yesterday, I moved to St. Louis just 5 years after Union Station reopened. At that time the retail portion of Union Station was still doing well. It’s impossible to say how well it would’ve done if it hadn’t received competition from downtown’s St. Louis Centre mall and the Westroads Shopping Center not been rebuilt into the Saint Louis Galleria. Lacking big anchors the retail probably would’ve declined regardless of competition.

When it reopened in 1985 the midway contained glass retail booths. These have been removed, the midway is now event space. October 2011 photo
When it reopened in 1985 the midway contained glass retail booths. These have been removed, the midway is now event space. October 2011 photo

Some history:

On September 1, 1894 St. Louis Union Station opened as the largest, most beautiful terminal in the United States. This enormous project was built at the cost of $6.5 million. The gem of this new Station was the Grand Hall with its gold leaf, Romanesque arches, 65-foot barrel vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows. The most magnificent of these stained glass windows is the “Allegorical Window” which is majestically framed by the famous “Whispering Arch.”

Just beyond the Head house was the Midway, which was the midway point where friends bid farewell or welcomed home visitors from across the nation and around the world. In its heyday in the mid 1940’s, the Midway was the spot where over 100,000 passengers a day traversed on their way to or from a train. The platform area was covered by an enormous single-span train shed designed by George H. Pegram. This was not only one of the largest train sheds ever built, but it also covered the greatest number of tracks. After World War II, the general public began choosing other forms of transportation. In 1976, this magnificent station was designated a National Historic Landmark. Finally, on October 31, 1978, the last train pulled out of St. Louis Union Station. (Union Station)

What this doesn’t say is the newly formed Amtrak (1971) ceased using the head house a few years before the last train left in 1978. Many wished train service was still at Union Station, but the back in train shed just doesn’t work well for low volume train stations.

The Grand Hall in Union Station. Photo by William Zbaren from the book American City: St. Louis Architecture
The Grand Hall in Union Station. Photo by William Zbaren from the book American City: St. Louis Architecture — used with permission

Yes, the very same space where the Escape From New York fight scene was filmed. I’m very glad outside developers & bankers saw what locals couldn’t.

— Steve Patterson

 

Twenty-Five Years in Saint Louis

I didn’t go to high school here, but 5 years after high school St. Louis became my new home — 25 years ago today. A couple of weeks earlier I arrived in St. Louis for a 2-night stay on my way to Washington D.C., but I quickly feel in love with St. Louis.

 Looking north on Lemp, August 1990.
Looking north on Lemp, August 1990.

After visiting Washington D.C. for a few days, then Chicago for a few hours, I loaded up my car (a 1984 Dodge Colt) in Oklahoma City and moved to St. Louis. I was 23.

I’ve lived in several neighborhoods, 6 months in the Central West End, 3+ years in Old North St. Louis when it was still officially Murphy-Blair, 10+ years in Dutchtown, 3+ years in neighboring Mt. Pleasant, and now nearly 8 years in Downtown [West].

When I moved here we didn’t have an NFL team, razing buildings to build a stadium to attract a team was an odd priority. The street grid and solid brick buildings were too irresistible.

I often wonder what my life would’ve been like had I kept to my original plan and moved to Washington D.C. Or had I left St. Louis for Seattle in 1999 — I’d sold my furniture and was preparing my house for sale when I got a new job that kept me here.

The other day on the bus I passed by the house where I stayed my very first 2 nights and about a month after I returned permanently. I saw the for sale sign out in front of 2930 Lemp.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Readers Would Like Bernie Sanders To Get 2016 Democratic Nomination

August 26, 2015 Politics/Policy No Comments

On the night in 2008 that Barack Obama was first elected president I told myself in the future I wouldn’t support a candidate born before him. In the years since I realized there was nobody born in the 1960s or 1970s I could support. My first choice would be Sen. Elizabeth Warren, like me, she’s also a native of Oklahoma City. A year older than my brother, they briefly attended the same high school — then my parents moved. Like George W. Bush & Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren was born in the 1940s — June 22, 1949.

While the GOP field is considerably younger than the six Democratic candidates, none represent my progressive liberal views. I took a look at the ages of all 17 GOP candidates and the Democratic candidates (+ Joe Biden).

Here’s a breakdown of the decade the 17 GOP candidates were born in:

  • 1970s: 3 (Cruz, Jindal, Rubio)
  • 1960s: 3 (Christie, Paul, Walker)
  • 1950s: 8 (Bush, Carson, Fiorina, Graham, Huckabee, Kasich, Perry, Santorum)
  • 1940s: 3 (Gilmore, Pataki, Trump)

The average of the field is 59 years old.

Here’s a look at the Democratic side:

  • 1970s: 0 (–)
  • 1960s: 1 (O’Malley)
  • 1950s: 1 (Chafee)
  • 1940s: 4 (Biden, Clinton, Sanders, Webb)

Their average is 67 on election day, 68 on inauguration day. To date the oldest president was Reagan — he was 69 at both election and inauguration.  Biden will be 73 & 74, respectively. Clinton will be 69 at both, Sanders 75 at both.

Here is a very short video of Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

Here’s a long video of Bernie Sanders speaking in Los Angeles, with introduction by Sarah Silverman:

Here are the results from the Sunday Poll:

Q: Of the following, who would you LIKE to see get the 2016 Democratic nomination?

  1. Bernie Sanders 25 [49.02%]
  2. Hillary Clinton 14 [27.45%]
  3. Joe Biden 6 [11.76%]
  4. Unsure/no answer 4 [7.84%]
  5. Martin O’Malley 2 [3.92%]
  6. TIE 0 [0%]
    1. Lincoln Chafee
    2. Jim Webb

Some further reading:

Missouri & Illinois both hold their primary on Tuesday March 15, 2016:

  • Missouri has open primaries, so if you’re registered to vote you can vote for Bernie Sanders. You must register by 5pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2016.
  • Illinois has closed primaries, so you must be registered as a Democrat to vote for Bernie Sanders. Those who will be 18 by November 8, 2016 can vote in the primary even though they’re 17.

I recommend everyone — even those who think they know who they’ll vote for —  take the quiz at ISideWith.com to see which candidate from both major parties best aligns with your views. The more detailed you get in the questions the more accurate it’ll be.

— Steve Patterson

 

Over A Month To Move One Trash Can

When I spotted a trash can sitting in the middle of a curb ramp last month I thought it would be a simple matter to get it moved. Boy was I wrong!

On the morning of July 17th I posted the following image on Facebook & Twitter, stating “Trash can placed on curb ramp SW corner 14th & Pine”

My text read "Trash can placed on curb ramp SW corner 14th & Pine"
My text read “Trash can placed on curb ramp SW corner 14th & Pine”

At the end of the tweet I mentioned @stlcsb — to report problem to the Citizens Service Bureau.

The CSB responded: “What are you asking or saying about it?” At this point many others joined the conversation, not always including me in the loop. In short, others could see the problem from the pic but the CSB: 1) thought I or someone else was talking about the car making a left turn in the background, 2)  was confused by the term “curb ramp” and told me it’s a “wheelchair ramp” — more on that later, 4)  that the containers don’t belong to the city — they just empty them. The tweets went back and forth for nearly 4 hours! Finally I got a Service Request number, which I favorited for future reference.

A curb ramp is the term used by the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Federal Highway Administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation. They’re not called “wheelchair ramps” because many pedestrians use them — such as those who walk with a cane or walker, for example. Plus it’s six fewer letters.

Nearly 3 weeks later, on August 5th, I passed by and noticed the trash can still hadn’t been moved.  I realize not everything can be done immediately but often little things are addressed quickly. So I posted another image on Facebook & Twitter noting “Trash can blocking curb ramp SW crnr 14th & Pine, reported to (no 7560493) on 7/17 still in the way.”

The text read: "Trash can blocking curb ramp SW crnr 14th & Pine, reported to @stlcsb  (no 7560493) on 7/17 still in the way."
The text read: “Trash can blocking curb ramp SW crnr 14th & Pine, reported to @stlcsb (no 7560493) on 7/17 still in the way.”

This is a good time to note that I had no problem getting around the trash can in my power chair. My concern wasn’t for me — it was for others who use a manual wheelchair, came, walker. Trying to navigate the flared side can present problems! I didn’t want someone else wheeling in the road or falling because of this ill-placed trash can. This is a curb ramp I use often — the trash can had’t been there before in the last 7 years.

Two days later I heard from Dena Hibbard, a Neighborhood Stabilization Officer (NSO) asking if it had been moved.  I replied it hadn’t, then she said my service request was closed — city staff indicated it was not blocking the ramp. WTF!?! We keep in touch and finally she got through to someone in Refuse. I got word on August 20th it was finally moved off the ramp.  A few hours later I go by on the way from from the grocery store.

The trash can is now out of the ramp.
The trash can is now out of the ramp.
The circle shows where it had been.
The circle shows where it had been.

It shouldn’t have taken more than a month and lots of effort to get this moved! I’m grateful Dena Hibbard follows my blog/social media, without her help it wouldn’t have gotten moved. The best part is her area is the 9th Ward — but this ramp is in the 7th Ward.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

17th Street Should Be Two-Way Again

Downtown St. Louis, and Downtown West to a lesser degree, has lots of one-way streets. This was done decades ago to facilitate  driving in & out. A decade ago Locust St., which had been one-way Westbound, was reverted back to two-way West of 14th St. But there are some odd little one-way remnants that need to be reexamined.   One is a very short stretch of 17th St between St. Charles St & Washington Ave.

Looking South on 17th St from Washington Ave, this bit is one-way in the direction we are looking
Looking South on 17th St from Washington Ave, this bit is one-way in the direction we are looking
The opposite view, looking North toward Washington Ave
The opposite view, looking North toward Washington Ave
This view looks at the intersection of St. Charles (1-way WB) and 17th toward Locust (2-way)
This view looks at the intersection of St. Charles (1-way WB) and 17th toward Locust (2-way)

St. Charles Street, which is a glorified alley, runs parallel between Locust & Washington Ave.  — it is one-way Westbound. Yes, 17th from St. Charles to Locust is two-way. From Locust to Olive it is one-way Southbound. Confused?

Typically one-ways are done in couplets — an opposite direction street a block away. Such is the case between St. Charles & Washington.

The significantly narrower 16th St is one-way northbound -- the opposite of 17th
The significantly narrower 16th St is one-way northbound — the opposite of 17th

Motorists routinely treat 17th as two-way — we should just make it official.

– Steve Patterson

YOUR SUPPORT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED

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