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Triangle Park Plaza Is Useless Public Space, In Poor Condition

July 8, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Plazas, Public Transit 2 Comments

In May I posted about the upcoming Civic Center MetroBus center revisions, see: Civic Center Transit Center Sans Trees, Awaiting Redo. Since then Metro held two open houses on the same day, presenting the design as I showed previously.

Sign announcing expansion project
Sign announcing expansion project
Click image to view larger version on Scribd
Click image to view larger version on Scribd

My main criticism remains the useless plaza at the clark, right above. The “Triangle Park Plaza” is lifeless and in very poor condition. I think the plaza needs to be replaced with one or two small kiosk/buildings with outdoor seating. I understand these aren’t in Metro’s current budget, I’m sure fixing the plaza isn’t either.  Let’s take a look:

Looking east toward the plaza
Looking east toward the plaza, in 1993 the metal boxes were light/steam sculptures but the haven’t been on in years
The material used for the narrow decretive strips has failed
The material used for the narrow decretive strips has failed
It looks very bad, unkept
It looks very bad, unkept
This creates a hazard for pedestrians
This creates a hazard for pedestrians
It has failed throughout the plaza, plus the Jersey barriers along Clark are tacky!
It has failed throughout the plaza, plus the Jersey barriers along Clark are tacky!
All the paving has settled, creating trip hazards that exceed ADA maximums
All the paving has settled, creating trip hazards that exceed ADA maximums
Another issue is the settling creates places were water pools. This looks bad and creates places for mosquitoes to breed.
Another issue is the settling creates places were water pools. This looks bad and creates places for mosquitoes to breed when wet.
More areas where water has collected in the past
More areas where water has collected in the past
The ramp at 14th & Clark isn't directional for crossing Clark, also too narrow. The paving here creates a serious trip hazard.
The ramp at 14th & Clark isn’t directional for crossing Clark, also too narrow. The paving here creates a serious trip hazard.

The “Triangle Park Plaza” is low-quality left over space, a negative rather than a positive. Clark has an increasing number of pedestrians.  This is a good opportunity to build something to hold the corner. Ok, the budget doesn’t include anything here — I get that. But, plan ahead so when when work is done on the bus transit area you don’t prevent something better for the plaza space.

Apply for grants, work with local non-profits on incubator space, try something to find the money to redo this space so it’s a positive.

— Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    Put out an RFP – maybe Rally’s would be interested in building there?! http://rallysfranchising.com/building_options

    But seriously, Metro / Bi-State, just like the city, isn’t in the business of being a developer. They’re land owners, they’re stewards of public property. They can be passive landlords, but government is rarely very successful when it comes to competing with private developers or retailers. We shouldn’t spend tax dollars just to “build something to hold the corner” (and here, there is no corner to hold, with a freeway ramp on the SE corner, the city hall parking lot on the NE corner and another plaza on the NW corner) – we need to use our scarce tax dollars wisely! You may view this plaza as “useless”, but when it comes to public space, using the same standards, Aloe Plaza, Memorial Plaza, Kiener Plaza, the Arch grounds and Lucas Gardens would be equally “useless” (since they don’t have street-level retail, either)!

    Metro’s budget, for this or anything else, doesn’t come from profits, it comes from the sales, property and income taxes that all of us pay at the local and federal levels. And I, like most other taxpayers, want to see Metro focus on providing and expanding public transit, including pedestrian connections to their stations, not just building random stuff in hopes of attracting street-level retail. Much like Skinker-Debalivere, TOD “should happen” at many stations, but it’s all dependent on the private sector getting interested, seeing the potential to make a profit. Any serious, in-depth “planning” needs to wait until there are viable proposals, actual interest, otherwise it’s just mental masturbation and a waste of everyone’s time and effort. In the meantime, surface parking and useless plazas do a pretty good job as place holders.

    For now, the focus does need to be on maintenance – for example, it would be a whole lot less expensive to replace the failing asphalt strips, here, with concrete, than to rip everything out and start over. And, contrary to your assertion, the plaza is not a wasted space when there’s a major event at Scottrade – it provides a space for large numbers of people to congregate before they enter the facility and to wait for public transit after the event. Does this happen as often as it should? No, but it does happen. If you want to talk about “wasted space”, head east and look at the space between the two on ramps. Look south, to all the unused land in the rail yard and on toward Chouteau. This may not be perfect and it may not be “urban” (enough?), but it does serve a needed purpose – go look at the space after a concert or a Blues game, not in the middle of the afternoon . . . .

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      Missouri & Illonois created the Bi-State Development Agency(aka Metro) in 1949 to work on development, adding transit service in the 60s.

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