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Poll: We Get The Infrastructure…

April 28, 2013 Planning & Design, Sunday Poll 6 Comments

I got the idea for the poll this week from the comments on the post from last Monday: Former River Roads Mall Site Vacant, the Few New Buildings Aren’t Pedestrian Friendly. One person thinks we have what we want, if we didn’t we’d move somewhere else. 

I disagree, but I want to see how you feel about it. This week I ask that you select the sentence that comes closest to matching your view. Here are the options:

    1. We get the infrastructure in our communities that most of us want and use.
    2. We get the infrastructure that was commonplace years ago, but outdated today.
    3. We get the infrastructure that makes developers the most money.
    4. We get the infrastructure we want only if we fight for/demand better.
    5. We get the infrastructure we get because most people don’t know other options exist.
    6. Unsure/No Answer.

The poll, in right sidebar, will randomize the order in which these appear. Infrastructure in this context means the built environment: roads, sidewalks, parks, buildings, etc.

Discuss in the comments below.

— Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    That’s not exactly what I said . . . I said that we get the infrastructure that the people we elect demand from the people applying for government permits. Government has a certain amount of leverage. “We” can require better landscaping, smaller, “more-tasteful” signs, better/more sidewalks, certain materials, handicapped access, etc, etc, etc, but ONLY if the people we elect are willing to put the specific regulations in place AND to require city staff to consistently apply and enforce them! Just like the abuse of metered parking (that you documented in yesterday’s post), many of the tools are already in place, it’s just that they’re either rarely enforced or they’re regularly circumvented in the name of making development “happen” (more easily?), to either capture more sales taxes or to “do something” about the apparent overall decline of any certain area.

    As a community, we have a fundamental problem with saying “no”. We don’t want to tell people that what they want to do could be better. We don’t want to say that your plans aren’t good enough. We’re afraid that if we say no, they’ll take their marbles and go somewhere else. We’re also a community with too many government units, with too many willing to stab another in the back to score a small victory today, even if it ‘s not good or sustainable over the long haul. Bottom line, we get the government and the infrastructure we demand and deserve.

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      I copied and posted from this comment on 4/22″ “My personal opinion is that we get the infrastructure in our communities that most of us want and use.”

  • Bryon

    In certain ways we get a mix of all of the available answers. Each situation is really pot luck depending on if there are codes in place, tax or other municipal incentives for developers and even if there are officials that are aware of any existing protocols. The human element is really in play concerning infrastructure and during the Slay years most of those humans have obviously been drunk (seriously, contemplate the number of county and city people who were either forced to leave, retired under dubious circumstances or were sent to jail either before or after their position, office and/or village/township collapsed).

    To be quite honest the very definition of the word does not seem (at least to me) to be universal yet. One person will say that a bridge is part of infrastructure then turn right around and call playground equipment not infrastructure. That’s before we even consider the whackjobs who will argue that I-70 is half as important to the city of St. Louis as the Arch grounds are because *most* of the traffic never stops (never mind that over 1/3 of that traffic brings in over half of the money spent at and around the Arch grounds). I’m just saying that before the subject of infrastructure can effectively be debated a bit of a vocabulary refresher would help; get people on the same page before attempting a group reading.

    • JZ71

      Agree. “We”, as individuals and as small groups of like-minded individuals, each have specific, probably well-defined, ideas of what infrastructure is most important. However, “we”, as a larger community, have to rely on our representative democracy to prioritize the infrastructure investments that define our larger community. Those priorities may or may not match our individual priorities, but typically match the priorities of a majority of the residents, tempered by the financial realities of finite tax revenues.

  • bailorg

    I voted for number 3, but ultimately that is a lagging indicator of number 1. New developments tend to chase the trends of what people want when new infrastructure is planned or what people wanted when current decision makers formed their opinions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SimonNogin Simon Nogin

    I feel like STL has a good combination of both options 2 and 3:
    2. We get the infrastructure that was commonplace years ago, but outdated today.
    3. We get the infrastructure that makes developers the most money.
    In the poll though, I voted for option 3 because I feel profit is all developers seem to care about now-a-days.

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