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Updated Street Lighting on Taylor

AVOVE: New lighting on Taylor Ave

In July new lighting was turned on along a short stretch of Taylor, a description from June:

The Taylor Pedestrian Lighting project is nearly complete. When finished, Taylor Ave between Forest Park Parkway and Lindell Ave will be illuminated by pedestrian lights rather than cobra-head lights. The pedestrian lights will make that stretch of Taylor Ave more attractive and safer for pedestrians at night, and will better connect Taylor south of Lindell to Taylor north of Lindell, which already has pedestrian lighting installed. Pedestrian lighting is another initiative to make the Central West End and the 17th Ward a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly, and vibrant community.

The $330,000 project was funded by various sources, including $60,000 from Washington University Medical Center, $30,000 from Central West End South Business District, and $100,000 from block grant. The remaining funding came from the 17th Ward Infrastructure Funds allocated by Alderman Joseph Roddy. (Source)

It seemed bright at first but the night I was out taking pictures I noticed it was about the same as some areas north of Lindell. These lights aren’t as tall as the cobra head lights that are common throughout the city. These lights equally light the street and sidewalk.

ABOVE: A cobrahead light on Taylor just north of Lindell

The cobrahead fixtures are taller, spaced further apart and directed toward the road rather than the sidewalk. I’m glad to see this change, but I’m disturbed these types of changes happen only within a single ward. Corridors involving more than one ward are probably out of luck.

– Steve Patterson


Parking in Bus Stop Locations

Twice now in the last month I’ve departed the #10 bus on Forest Park on the east side of Euclid, in front of the Parkview Hotel (map). Both times a car has been parked in the bus stop.

ABOVE: BMW illegally parked in a bus stop on Forest Park

The first time the car was parked between the intersection and the bus stop sign, the bus had to let me off at the hotel driveway because the driver couldn’t get close enough to the curb. Tuesday the illegally parked car was further east so the bus had room to pull to the curb to let me off and pull back out into traffic.

The first time I jokingly asked the bus driver if it would be fun to push such cars out of the way, he affirmed. This time I thought of a recent news story from Europe:

Drivers who park in cycle lanes would normally worry about receiving a fine or perhaps having their vehicle towed. They probably do not expect to have their car crushed beneath the wheels of an armoured personnel carrier which has the local mayor at the controls.

But car owners in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, may be choosing their parking spaces a little more carefully after the city’s mayor, Arturas Zuokas, drove over – and wrecked – a Mercedes in a stunt to serve as a warning to anyone who thinks about parking illegally. (Source)

Here is the video:


Recently I was at another bus stop when a motorist parked in the stop where I was waiting. When she got out I asked her to move because the bus was due in minutes. On South Grabd I had to go into the FedEx store to find  the driver of a FedEx truck parked in the bus stop. He pulled out as the bus arrived.

I like and support on-street parking. When I chose to drive my car on-street parking is often the only choice I have to get me close enough to my destination I can walk there.  The road in Vilnius has zero on-street parking, no wonder they have a problem.

Anyone know where I can get a used tank?

– Steve Patterson


Making A Setback Less Objectionable

In urbanized areas I like buildings to “hug” the public sidewalk, with active facades.  By active I mean numerous doors & windows, like you’d get with storefronts.  But not every area can support that many storefront spaces.  In the past buildings were often set back behind large blank plazas or surface parking.

The Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College is an example of new thinking about how to build in an urban context where storefront spaces just don’t work and where some public outdoor space may be desirable.  Just a block from the busiest MetroLink station in our system, pedestrians are a sure thing.

ABOVE: Aerial image of the Goldfarb School of Nursing. Source: Google Maps (click to view)

The building is open at the corner of Taylor & Duncan but it does extend to both sidewalks away from the corner.  Parking is placed on the back sides, not between the building & sidewalk.

ABOVE: fencing, piers & open gates separates the public sidewalk from the courtyard space and contines the urban building line
ABOVE: Pedestrians on the sidewalk can touch the building as they pass.
ABOVE: The east side as seen from the public sidewalk

Pedestrians approaching this building have several options on where to enter.  None require the pedestrian to walk in a driveway designed for automobiles.

To recap how to make a setback less objectionable:

  1. Extend part of the building to each public sidewalk
  2. Extend building line with a low fence
  3. Do not place parking or driveways between the public sidewalk and building
  4. Provide multiple routes for pedestrians to enter the building

– Steve Patterson


Tuck-Under Garages On Delmar

ABOVE: A pair of townhouses on Delmar with a "tuck-under" garage

I’m not a fan of front facing garages, especially on lots served by a rear alley.   The “tuck-under” garage makers the front garage less objectionable.  However, the white garage door stands out in contrast the dark materials of the rest of the facade — drawing attention to the door.  Although I doubt many walking by on the sidewalk will notice the townhouse on the right because of what they will see on the left.

ABOVE: green standing water halfway up the door reduces the curb appeal. Please excuse the picture quality

I’ve said it before and I will say it again.  The only properties that should be permitted to have a curb cut out to the street are those that do not have a rear alley.

ABOVE: Aerial of property (upper left) showing alley
ABOVE: Aerial of property (upper left) showing alley, click image to view in Google Maps

– Steve Patterson


It Does Get Better

img_0555Today is National Coming Out Day and, yes, I’m gay.  I was harassed for being gay, before I even knew I was gay, during the 5th-8th grade (1977-1981). I came out in 1983, at age 16 — a year after the term “AIDS” was first used.  Although scary times for me, it got better.

Last week I joined hundreds of others in the Central West End for an important event to show youth it gets better:

“They marched as one. Unified by candlelight, reflecting on some of their darkest days of bullying and harassment.” (Vigil Condemns Anti-Gay Bullying)

Here is a short video clip I shot:


The vigil was organized by Growing American Youth:

“Growing American Youth is a social support organization for youth who live near St. Louis and who are 21 and under and may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. Growing American Youth has been serving St. Louis area youth for 30 years.”

In addition to the string of gay teen suicides we now have the story of violence against young gay men in New York:

“Outraged city leaders said Saturday that the city wouldn’t tolerate the “vicious” hatred that had apparently caused a street gang to allegedly beat and torture two teenage boys and a man inside an abandoned home over the course of several hours because they were gay.” (NYC officials outraged over anti-gay gang torture)

Cities are still the most accepting place to be.

– Steve Patterson