Home » Downtown » Recent Articles:

A Look At The New Kiener Plaza (Photos & Videos)

May 22, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Parks Comments Off on A Look At The New Kiener Plaza (Photos & Videos)

A week ago I posted many photos of the old Kiener Plaza, see Remembering The Old Kiener Plaza. Today we take a close look at the new Kiener Plaza that opened over the weekend.

The first three images were taken the afternoon of May 8, 2017 from the SE corner of the Kiener West parking garage.

The Eastern half
The central portion, occupied by 6th Street until the West block was added in the early 1980s
The Western half

Also taken on the 8th

With the old median removed from Market St, there is now room for back-in diagonal parking. Unlike Citygarden, some parking for us disabled folks was planned from the beginning.

These next images were taken Monday 5/15 during a media preview.

The “hallway” along the South side
Looking South from 6th & Chestnut.
Looking SE from the center
Olympic Runner by William Zorach (1887-1966) was completed in 1965 It was funded by a stipulation in the will of businessmen Henry J. Kiener. Click image for more information
The new fountain basin is smaller than the original 1960s version, LED lighting will be used to change colors of the water — replacing dyes used in the past.
Looking East toward the Old Courthouse and Arch
Looking toward 6th & Chestnut. These parking garages desperately need new facades.
Looking toward the NW corner, Louis Sullivan’s Wainwright bolding is in the background
Looking West
Looking East
Looking East. some of the many movable tables & chairs
A drinking fountain is located near the center. It’s frost free so you have to hols down the button fir a little bit before water will make it above the frost line. Be patient.
There’s also a frost-free bottle filler faucet.
There is lots of seating all over the 2-block park
In the NE corner is a spot for something arriving in a couple of months. Presumably a sculpture…
The East of the playground is for the youngest kids. The bright surface is rubberized for safety.
AS you move West the activities change
This timber jungle gym should be popular
Ans finally a …bungee/swing?

The next group of images were taken before and after the ribbon cutting on Friday May 19, 2017:

On the 15th I asked if the Downtown Trolley stop would return to Broadway @ Market. By opening day it had.
Sadly, St. Louis’ anti-pedestrian habits are on full display at 6th & Chestnut. The pedestrian signal to cross 6th switches tp a countdown and then to a stop based on some traffic engineer’s standard — long before vehicle traffic on EB Chestnut get a yellow/red light. Pedestrian-friemdly cities give the walk signal until it’s time for the vehicle signals to change.
A few spots of bright green illustrate St. Louis’ only protected bike lane. Cyclists get a signal too, so they know to stop when pedestrians have a walk signal yo cross Chestnut. A person leaving TGI Friday’s is supposed to cross 6th on the limited signal, then cross Chestnut, to reach Kiener Plaza — because a direct pedestrian crossing would slow down motorists turning left from 6th into Chestnut — this is how this intersection has been since 6th was closed in the early 80s. Motorists are more important than pedestrians in St. Louis.
Another view, the one crosswalk to cross Chestnut at 6th in the background.
Like Citygarden, a 20-block long “hallway” runs parallel to Market. Also like Citygarden, there is no public restroom.
In another similarity to Citygarden, if the food truck window lines up correctly then access isn’t too bad — but when not lined up those of using mobility devices can forget about access.
Ons of my favorite areas is paved in crushed granite, allowing storm water to be absorbed. There are also moveable tables & chairs in this area and “festival lighting” at night — evening photo below.
As before, the money shot is the runner statue with Old Courthouse and Arch in the background. A very popular spot on the first day.
Slowly the crowd for the ribbon cutting began to thin out.
The new fountain was turned on just as the ribbon was cut. LED lights under the water can change color so dye won’t be used in the future. to color the water.
The planting areas all act to collect water from the impervious patterned paving. Here another stye of bench is provided.
Kids enjoying the nee splash fountain that encloses four squares. Night photo later.
East end with people.While on the ground I got one of the free frisbees being handed out, stood from my chair, and tossed it onto the expansive lawn. Loved it.
The center not long after the ribbon was cut. Compared to the old Kiener Plaza, the space is much better suited to large crowds & festivals.
The West end.

This next batch of images were taken the evening of opening day, May 18th.

When I arrived just before 8pm this was the only artificial lighting that was on. I felt a few sprinkles so I quickly snapped this shot in case it began raining harder.
Later I got closet and focused on the water.
The “festival lights” over the crushed granite area is nice. Unfortunately the cafe tables & chairs were folded up — not inviting. I didn’t check to see if they were locked to the polls — hopefully not.
When I first heard there would be a splash fountain I thought we already have one just two blocks West in Citygarden. More compact, this one is very different. They’re complimentary.
Besides the fountain lighting, I also like the tree lighting and the fixtures in the center. Very nice glow without any glare. The taller spots, seem in the upper right, are obnoxious, however.
A couple strolls through Kiener Plaza
A woman was photographing her dogs all over the park while I was there.
One thing often mentioned by City-ArchRiver folks is the “moonlighting” of the lawn and East end. I had early cataracts so I get annoying glare from most lighting. Still. I liked this area better when the lighting was off. I could see just fine because of so much other artificial lighting downtown.
The moonlighting is located way on top of the Met Square building.
Unlike the actual moon, this produces lots pf glare and consumes enormous amounts of electricity. I save lean pff the spots and moonlighting — save those for use during special evening events only. If ever.

Yesterday my husband and I had a picnic at Kiener Plaza — I moved the table and chairs several times to stay in the shade.

Having a table to use made this possible, much harder on a bench

Here’s a great time-lapse video included on the media’s thumb drive. I uploaded it to my channel because it wasn’t on CityArchRiver’s.

And a video I made from clips from opening day.

 

Overall I think they’ve done an outstanding job, but the previous space was so awful it was hard to not do better. Accessibly is excellent, as is the amount of seating. The trees are a good size and will provide good shade within just a few years. Very glad to have the Olympic Runner statue back –the original plan for the new Kiener Plaza didn’t include it.

The misses are few:

  • No good place for accessible food truck lines
  • No power supply for food trucks, so each must run noisy & polluting generators.
  • No public restrooms.
  • Excessive artificial lighting.
  • Same mistake as Citygarden — no plan to extend “hallway” East & West of borders. Shortsighted.
  • City’s auto-centric pedestrian crossing time limit regardless of time vehicle signal is green.

 

 

Remembering The Old Kiener Plaza

May 15, 2017 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, Parks Comments Off on Remembering The Old Kiener Plaza

The ribbon will be cut on the new Kiener Plaza at noon on Friday, May 19, 2017. Kiener Plaza is a 2-block urban park, part of the Gateway Mall, bounded by Broadway (5th) on the East, Market on the South, 7th on the West, and Chestnut on the North.

Originally Kiener Plaza was just one block — Broadway to 6th. The 2nd block was added in the 80s with the Morton May Amphitheater replacing a surface parking lot on the West block.  Sixth Street was closed between Chestnut and Market — just one block. This forced the one-way Southbound traffic on 6th to turn onto one-way Eastbound Chestnut.

The land outlined in white is privately owned. Source: GEO St. Louis

I went through my photos of Kiener Plaza — I’d used a few on the blog before, but added 20+ to this post.

The two blocks were never a cohesive design, from different decades. The new design starts from a clean slate, we’ll see Friday how well it turned out.   See cityarchriver.org/visit/kiener for more information on Friday & Saturday’s activities.

A week from today I’ll have my thoughts on the new Kiener Plaza.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Richard Serra’s ‘Twain’ Is 35, Remains Unloved By Most St. Louisans…Including Arts Patrons

May 1, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Richard Serra’s ‘Twain’ Is 35, Remains Unloved By Most St. Louisans…Including Arts Patrons

Five years ago I’d hoped to have temporary lighting on Richard Serra’s Twain sculpture — to replicate the original lighting when it was dedicated on May 1, 1982. See We Should Restore “Twain’s” Original Lighting Scheme (1982 Video).

I had a lighting company interested in setting up a temporary display at no cost to taxpayers — money was needed to pay for security to make sure the lighting equipment wasn’t stolen, My attempts to get art patrons, such as Twain’s original benefactor Emily Pulitzer, to pay a couple of thousand dollars were unsuccessful.

Five years later the city block, across 10th Street from Citygarden, remains largely unused.

Once you pass through one of the narrow openings the inside is spacious.
Water collects at the east point of the sculpture

I contacted the Gateway Foundation last week. Hopefully I can interest them in making minimal improvements to the block, addressing the mud at Twain’s entrances, and funding new lighting.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: NLEC’s Closure Will Not Be A Negative For St. Louis

April 5, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Homeless, NLEC Comments Off on Readers: NLEC’s Closure Will Not Be A Negative For St. Louis

An overwhelming majority of those of voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll don’t think the closure of Larry Rice’s New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC) will be a long-term negative.

A: Agree or disagree: today’s closure of the New Life Evangelistic Center (Rice’s homeless shelter) will be a long-term negative for St. Louis.

  • Strongly agree 7 [11.67%]
  • Agree 3 [5%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [3.33%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [1.67%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [6.67%]
  • Disagree 12 [20%]
  • Strongly disagree 30 [50%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [1.67%]

The majority are correct, if the closure remains permanent it’ll be neutral to slightly positive for everyone — including those who end up homeless.

NLEC Monday morning

Rice is motivated to keep homeless a visible problem on the streets — that brings in followers and donations. The rest of us concerned about the homeless want to get the homeless off the streets as quickly as possible. The last homeless person I helped had only been on our streets one night when I met him.

If it stays closed, his current supporters will eventually realize religion classes & cold baloney sandwiches isn’t the solution to homelessness

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Sunday Poll: Will NLEC’s Closing Be Positive Or Negative In The Long-Term?

April 2, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Homeless, NLEC, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will NLEC’s Closing Be Positive Or Negative In The Long-Term?
Please vote below

Late last week Larry Rice said his downtown emergency emergency shelter, the New Life Evangelistic Center will close today:

Rev. Larry Rice said he will comply with a judge’s order and close his downtown shelter.

The New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC) will be ceasing operations on 5:00 p.m. Sunday. A judge refused Rice’s request to keep the shelter on open Thursday. (Post-Dispatch)

Rice said he hopes the closure is temporary.  Today’s poll assumes the closure is permanent:

NLEC will close at 5pm, this poll closes at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

‪Drove over the new Kingshighway viaduct/bridge today, looking forward to crossing as a pedestrian in my wheelchair. #stl ‬ ... See MoreSee Less

1 day ago  ·  

My 1st time at Grand & Chouteau since SLU razed the historic Pevely Bldg. #stl ... See MoreSee Less

1 day ago  ·  

UrbanReview ST LOUIS updated their cover photo. ... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago  ·  

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe