The closing of two long-time downtown restaurants last month got a lot of media attention, so did the new restaurant that opened: Porano Pasta. News of this restaurant broke a year ago: Chef Gerard Craft of Niche and its affiliated restaurants will open a fast-casual concept called Porano Pasta & Gelato …
Monday, in Part 1, I explained why St. Louis officials shouldn’t be shocked their colorful art crosswalks don’t meet federal guidelines. They’re less visible than the classic bright white “continental” crosswalk. From the Federal Highway Administration (FHA): 8.5 Crosswalks Crosswalks are a critical part of the pedestrian network. A crosswalk …
Absentee voting begins today in Missouri. I’m a regular voter who rarely misses an election, but eight years ago I didn’t vote in Missouri’s Presidential Presence Primary, held on February 5, 2008. I have a good excuse for not voting though — I was sedated in the ICU at Saint Louis …
Last week crosswalks were in the local news — specifically colored decorative crosswalks. St. Louis’ new bike/pedestrian coordinator, engineer Jamie Wilson, found out these weren’t compliant with federal standards: Wilson said it was a shock to St. Louis as well as cities all over the country who employed the colorful …
Chef Gerard Craft of Niche and its affiliated restaurants will open a fast-casual concept called Porano Pasta & Gelato at the Mercantile Exchange downtown. Porano will draw on the food served at Craft’s Clayton restaurant Pastaria and follow what he calls the “Chipotle format.”
Porano will be open for lunch and dinner. Diners will build their meals by choosing a base (organic semolina pasta, gluten-free pasta, farro, focaccia or lettuce), a protein (slow-roasted beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork meatballs, grilled free-range chicken, Calabrian-spiced tofu or roasted seasonal vegetables) and a sauce (pomodoro, pomodoro with smoked pork or roasted red pepper) or salad dressing.
Diners can further customize their meal with such toppings as cheese, anchovies and pickled chiles. Pastaria gelato will be available in single-serve cups (complete with wooden spoons).
Porano will take over the space at 634 Washington Avenue previously occupied by Takaya New Asian. Craft projects a summer opening date.
They didn’t make their original schedule — it has only been open for a few weeks. Right now they’re only open for weekday lunch, but hours will soon be extended into the evening and weekends.
Fast casual pasta has been tried downtown before — remember 10th Street Italian or Pasta House Pronto!? Both of those were failed concepts, but Porano Pasta has nailed the concept. While $8.95 isn’t cheap, the same meal on good china with metal silverware would cost twice as much and take at least twice as long.
The location is ideal, lots of daily foot traffic. With a great mix of restaurants & a theater, the MX is a happening spot. Soon the Blues Museum will open across the street.
My one suggestion is a new sign over the recycling bin that has images of what can be recycled.
Monday, in Part 1, I explained why St. Louis officials shouldn’t be shocked their colorful art crosswalks don’t meet federal guidelines. They’re less visible than the classic bright white “continental” crosswalk.
8.5 Crosswalks Crosswalks are a critical part of the pedestrian network. A crosswalk is defined as “the portion of a roadway designated for pedestrians to use in crossing the street” (Institute of Transportation Engineers, 1998). Crosswalks are implied at all intersections whether or not they are marked. Midblock crossings include all marked crosswalks that do not occur at intersections. Midblock crossings are only created if a marked crosswalk is provided. The agency responsible for the roadway must ensure that all marked and unmarked crosswalks and midblock crossings are optimized for the safety and accessibility of all pedestrians.
8.5.1 Crosswalk markings Crosswalk markings, if provided, are used to define the pedestrian path of travel across the roadway and alert drivers to the crosswalk location. Marked crosswalks should be designed in accordance with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Although the MUTCD provides options for crosswalk markings, the continental design is recommended because research indicates that it is the most visible to drivers (Knoblauch et al., 1988). The ladder design is created with white longitudinal lines at a 90 degree angle to the line of the crosswalk. The lines should be approximately 305 mm to 610 mm (12 in to 24 in) wide and spaced 305 mm to 610 mm (12 in to 24 in) apart (USDOT, 1988). The continental design can also be installed so that the primary paths for vehicular tires are between the crosswalk markings, which helps to reduce wear and maintenance. Use of the continental design for crosswalk markings also improves crosswalk detection for people with low vision and cognitive impairments. It is recommended that the continental design be used consistently to mark all crosswalks; otherwise the impact of less visible markings may be weakened by comparison.
They make it very clear that “continental” crosswalk markings are preferred. The design is such that, if properly done, allows vehicle tires to roll over the non-painted areas — thus reducing wear on the paint. The last sentence above is worth repeating:
“It is recommended that the continental design be used consistently to mark all crosswalks;
otherwise the impact of less visible markings may be weakened by comparison.”
Crosswalk markings downtown are anything but consistent, the continental marking is rare.
While pedestrians generally have the right to cross at any intersection regardless of crosswalks, designers should be sensitive to the misperception that a crosswalk is the only legal place to cross the street. Use crosswalks as both a guide for pedestrians and a way to communicate crossings to motorists.
The practice of discouraging pedestrian crossings by leaving uncontrolled crossings unmarked is not a valid safety measure. Instead, it encourages unsafe, risk-taking behavior and discourages walking citywide. Efforts should be made to enhance or highlight desired crossings wherever practicable. Hybrid beacons, rapid flash beacons, raised crossings, medians, and other safety counter-measures may be suitable and less expensive than full signalization. These should all be considered before leaving an uncontrolled crossing unmarked.
But we can’t afford to mark every possible crossing point — how do we determine when to mark and when to leave unmarked?
All legs of signalized intersections must have marked crosswalks unless pedestrians are prohibited from the roadway or section thereof, or if there is physically no pedestrian access on either corner and no likelihood that access can be provided. Pedestrians are unlikely to comply with a 3-stage crossing and may place themselves in a dangerous situation as a result.
Let’s look at 14th Street from Washington Ave to Olive Street to see how inconsistent St. Louis is with crosswalks:
I’d like to think St. Louis’ new bike/ped coordinator will be able to make a difference — but for so long pedestrians got half-ass infrastructure. Not sure one bureaucrat can change the culture.
Next week we’ll be at the Chicago Auto Show — seeing the latest from auto makers. After last year’s show my husband and I thought we’d buy a 2015 Hyundai Sonata — used in 2019. We liked that it had both 2-position memory for the driver’s seat & side mirrors. At least as part of an option package on the top trim level. Plus Apple’s CarPlay, panoramic sunroof, and other features we liked. They didn’t deliver on the CarPlay so we’ve decided on a 2013 Honda Accord EX-L in late 2017.
The 2013 Accord EX-L (and higher trim levels) has 2-position memory driver’s seat — but not side mirrors. Why is this so important? We share a car, currently a 2007 Honda Civic EX. My husband puts most of the miles on the car for work but when we go out together I drive. He’s quite a bit taller so I need to adjust the seat and mirrors. He has to readjust them when he goes to drive again.
I personally prefer the size of the Civic over the larger Accord — but we at least want the seat to automatically adjust for us. For now, that means a larger car — Accord, Sonata. Upper trim levels of newer Civics have a power driver’s seat but since my left arm/hand barely work I couldn’t adjust the seat while seated. Our current Civic has a manual seat — usually I just need to slide it forward. Sometimes I have to get out and adjust the backrest incline. I know, first world problems. I was happy without a car — but helping to buy a shared means I want to get what works for me.
Hyundai’s Elantra is their Civic-sized sedan. Optional on the 2017 Elantra is a memory driver’s seat — one position. This is good if say a valet or mechanic adjusted the seat. Not good for two drivers. The 2017 Elantra can also be equipped with a heated rear seat. I’ve had numerous cars that had heated front seats — rarely used it. I can’t imagine ever wanting a heated rear seat — our rear seat is usually empty.
Before 2000 I thought the remote to lock/unlock doors was silly — but then I got a car with remote locks. Now I can’t imagine having to put the key into the lock and turning it. Many new cars now have the proximity feature — the car unlocks for you. Inside just press the button to start the ignition! This would take getting used to — but I had two Saabs with the ignition in the center console rather than the dash. I’ll adjust.
All but three of my 12 cars have had factory sunroofs — glass pop-up (1), sliding steel (3), and glass moonroof (5). I like the idea of a panoramic sunroof — after my cataracts gets bad enough to have surgery.
New safety features are nice too. The vanity plate I had on my Volvo in the 90s was BCKLUP — short for buckle-up. It didn’t have a ABS or a single airbag. Now cars have back-up cameras, blind-spot warnings, emergency braking, etc. Not sure which of these I’d appreciate most — probably the back-up camera.
One feature I just don’t understand is the wifi hot spot. I’ve seen the commercials.
Three kids each watching a movie in the backseat — you’d burn through your car’s data plan so quickly. This is a very expensive way to buy data!
I do like the idea of Bluetooth to connect our iPhones to the car. We’ve rented a few cars with this feature, very handy. Even with Apple’s CarPlay I don’t think I could safely dictate & send a hands-feee text message while driving.
I’m a regular voter who rarely misses an election, but eight years ago I didn’t vote in Missouri’s Presidential Presence Primary, held on February 5, 2008. I have a good excuse for not voting though — I was sedated in the ICU at Saint Louis University Hospital. The afternoon of February 1st, at home alone, I had a rare hemorrhagic stroke. The next morning, 15-16 hours later, a worried friend found me.
Three weeks later I was awake again and starting physical therapy. Friends told me they joked about telling me it was already November and Mitt Romney had been elected — McCain hadn’t yet won the GOP nomination.
John McCain had won Missouri’s 2008 Republican Primary with 32.96% of the vote, with Mike Huckabee 2nd and Mitt Romney 3rd. In Missouri’s 2008 Democratic Primary Barack Obama barely won — with 49.32% to Hillary Clinton’s 47.9% — so close they evenly split Missouri’s delegates. The 2008 Iowa caucuses were held on January 3rd that year. My father had died on New Year’s Day, so I wasn’t paying attention to politics.
I was home for the conventions, but I don’t recall having any strong feelings about Obama vs Clinton. After both parties nominated their candidates and running mates were selected, I became excited about Obama-Biden. After 2011 I my downtown loft got redistricted from the 6th ward to 5th ward — changing my polling place. At first it was ok, Patrick Henry Elementary on 10th Street. Then it changed to a community center that was closer — but harder to reach. I was using my power wheelchair more and driving less, so access was an issue. I began voting absentee.
I’d like to see early voting in Missouri.
You might think I’m a recent Bernie Sanders supporter — swayed by the recent surge in the polls. No. By June 2015 Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley had all officially entered the race for the Democratic nomination. Before then I’d been leaning toward Clinton, but I had to do my due diligence. Initially I was impressed with O”Malley — and I liked his youth. After Obama was elected in 2008 I told myself I’d only support someone born in the 60s or later. But as I researched these three the oldest candidate stood out as the best candidate.
I took the ISideWith.com‘s detailed quiz and Bernie Sanders was my top match on the issues. His long record, passion, and energy won my support. He also won the support of my husband — a millennial voter. For months now we’ve been following the issues & campaigns and still see Bernie Sanders as the only choice in the primary. This is my 8th presidential election as a voter — I’ve never been as excited about a candidate.
On Sunday February 27th marches in support of Bernie Sanders will be held coast to coast — St. Louis’ will be downtown — details are still being finalized.
In Missouri, the last day to register to vote in the primary is February 17th. The primary is six weeks from today: March 15th. In the sidebar (desktop) I have links to various county election boards in the region.
Last week crosswalks were in the local news — specifically colored decorative crosswalks. St. Louis’ new bike/pedestrian coordinator, engineer Jamie Wilson, found out these weren’t compliant with federal standards:
Wilson said it was a shock to St. Louis as well as cities all over the country who employed the colorful crosswalks for aesthetic purposes but also as a way to make them pop for drivers.
“That was the intention,” said Wilson.
But now they will have to return to the more common white lines. There are some variations, but nothing like the painted works of art common around the city.
Wilson says they have turned down any new plans for similar crosswalks and will not maintain the current ones. Instead, they will be replacing them as needed. (KMOV)
Regular readers know I post often about crosswalks. So it’s no surprise I took interest in this news item and wanted to learn more. The news report made it sound like the city received a letter from the DOT.MoDOT? US DOT? So I asked Wilson:
I heard about it during a nationally broadcasted pedestrian safety webinar in early November. It was mentioned in the webinar and other cities participating immediately began inquiring as to the whereabouts of this memo and what it meant to everyone. After that I got the memo and read it – then I notified others at the City. Since that time we have not allowed any new designs to be reviewed/permitted that aren’t consistent with the FHWA approach. (Via email 1/28/2016)
The FHWA’s position has always been, and continues to be that subdued-colored aesthetic treatments between the legally marked transverse crosswalk lines are permissible provided that they are devoid of retroreflective properties and that they do not diminish the effectiveness of the legally required white transverse pavement markings used to establish the crosswalk. Examples of acceptable treatments include brick lattice patterns, paving bricks, paving stones, setts, cobbles, or other resources designed to simulate such paving. Acceptable colors for these materials would be red, rust, brown, burgundy, clay, tan or similar earth tone equivalents. All elements of pattern and color for these treatments are to be uniform, consistent, repetitive, and expected so as not to be a source of distraction. No element of the aesthetic interior treatment is to be random or unsystematic. No element of the aesthetic interior treatment can implement pictographs, symbols, multiple color arrangements, etc., or can otherwise attempt to communicate with any roadway user.
Patterns or colors that degrade the contrast of the white transverse pavement markings establishing the crosswalk are to be avoided. Attempts to intensify this contrast by increasing or thickening the width of the transverse pavement markings have been observed in the field. These attempts to increase contrast are perceived to be efforts to circumvent the contrast prerequisite so that an intentional noncompliant alternative of an aesthetic interior pattern or color can be used. Further techniques to install an empty buffer space between an aesthetic treatment and the interior edge of the white transverse crosswalk markings have also been observed in the field. This strategy is also perceived to be an attempt to circumvent FHWA’s prior position on contrast. However, an empty buffer space between a subdued-colored, uniform-patterned aesthetic treatment can be implemented to enhance contrast between the aesthetic treatment and the white transverse pavement markings. When used properly, buffer spaces can be an effective tool to disseminate a necessary contrast in order to visually enhance an otherwise difficult to discern white transverse crosswalk marking, provided that the aesthetic treatment conforms to the conditions in the preceding paragraph.
So we found out over two years after the fact! In researching I found a similar interpretation letter from May 2011. What are the guidelines being interpreted? From the 2003 manual:
Crosswalk markings provide guidance for pedestrians who are crossing roadways by defining and delineating paths on approaches to and within signalized intersections, and on approaches to other intersections where traffic stops.
Crosswalk markings also serve to alert road users of a pedestrian crossing point across roadways not controlled by highway traffic signals or STOP signs.
At nonintersection locations, crosswalk markings legally establish the crosswalk.
For added visibility, the area of the crosswalk may be marked with white diagonal lines at a 45-degree angle to the line of the crosswalk or with white longitudinal lines parallel to traffic flow. When diagonal or longitudinal lines are used to mark a crosswalk, the transverse crosswalk lines may be omitted.
You can see the full section here. It clearly states the two options for added visibility. Two. See the graphic, at right. The current edition is the 2009 MUTCD with revisions 1 & 2, May 2012 — this language is nearly identical to the 2003 language.
How anyone got that is was ok to do decorative/colored patterns from the 2003/2009 guides is beyond me. But a dozen years after the 2003 MUTCD is published, four+ years after one interpretation, the city is “shocked.”
I’m not shocked at all — the city comes at pedestrian infrastructure from a motorist’s viewpoint. Pedestrian experts have long-known crosswalk markings help guide pedestrians — especially those with limited vision. High contrast (white on black) is the key to ensure low vision pedestrians know where to cross the street. This same high contrast helps motorists see a crosswalk ahead.
Let’s take a look at some crosswalks.
Colorblindness is easy to simulate online, but the numerous types of vision loss are not. The following video demonstrates.
Hemianopsia (caused by stroke, tumor, or trauma)
For a few years now I’ve had early cataracts, not yet bad enough for corrective surgery.
If the goal is visibility crosswalks should use white — the “continental” design. Public art is great — just not in crosswalks. More on crosswalk on Thursday.
The closing of two long-time downtown restaurants last month got a lot of media attention, so did the new restaurant that opened: Porano Pasta. News of this restaurant broke a year ago: Chef Gerard Craft of Niche and its affiliated restaurants will open a fast-casual concept called Porano Pasta & Ge…