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‘The Walk’ Two Decades Later

September 11, 2017 Downtown, Featured Comments Off on ‘The Walk’ Two Decades Later
The 20th anniversary Walk will begin Thursday 9/14 on the SW corner of 8th & Pine.

Twenty years ago today a small group of fellow Gen-Xers gathered in a pretty dead downtown St. Louis. Their goal was simple — keep businesses open later than 5pm.  Thursday they’ll meet up again, from the event page:

On Thursday, Sept. 11, 1997 a few fine folks came together and walked to a few bars in downtown St. Louis with the simple premise of trying to keep downtown St. Louis alive after 5, one bar at a time. The Walk, as it quickly came to be known was the staple, weekly event for Metropolis St. Louis for a number of years. Many memories and lasting friendships (and more) were formed. Some even credit Metropolis with kickstarting the revitalization of downtown into what it has become today!

Somehow 20 years have flown by. And we’re here to celebrate that with another Walk.

We will meet and be prepared to leave the starting point of 8th and Pine at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 (read: be ready to head out at 6:30) and walk to three locations — four if you’re adventerous. If you’re driving, you might want to park around the 10th & Olive area.

Since technology has advanced just a wee bit since back in the day, there will be no Walk phone. Join us at 8th & Pine or catch up at one of the following places:

6:45 – Jack Patricks
7:45 – Hair of the Dog
8:45 – Missouri Bar & Grille
9:45 – ….We’ll tell you later, but promise it will be fun!

In the meantime get prepped to hear “WE’RE WALKING!” on Sept. 14.

The City is back. Back the City.

While I participated in The Walk a number of times back in the day, I don’t think I was present on the first. I was not a leader in Metropolis, but did participate at times. I was 30 when the first The Walk took place, I’d bought a 2-family in Dutchtown 3 years earlier, living previously in Murphy-Blair (now recognized as Old North St. Louis). Downtown was nothing really, though I moved here 27+ years ago I have few memories of downtown in the 90s.

The lsat Walk I participated in was in early 2006 in the Ville, see Metropolis’ Walk Heading To The Ville.

— Steve Patterson

 

One Building On Locust Being Renovated While Another Awaits Demolition

September 1, 2017 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on One Building On Locust Being Renovated While Another Awaits Demolition

Over 4 years ago the then-owner of a couple of buildings at 10th & Locust wanted to raze them for a hotel driveway for the 3rd building, the tallest. Many objected, the city’s Preservation Board repeatedly said no to demolition.

In June 2013 the first two buildings were threatened with demolition.

I’ve not followed the current project, but work is underway at at least two of the three.City records show a demolition permit was issued on 8/17/2017 for the 3-story on the NE corner of 10th & Locust (923 Locust St.), with the later Tudor-revival facade. The exterior isn’t original to the building, but it’s important to have massing on this corner.

For a while now all 3 have been behind a construction fence.
Workers can be seen weekdays

Hopefully a new building will be built on the corner, ideally taller — at least as tall as the adjacent building being rehabbed.

— Steve Patterson

 

The Civic Center MetroBus Transit Center Reopens Today…Smoke-Free!

August 14, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Public Transit, Transportation Comments Off on The Civic Center MetroBus Transit Center Reopens Today…Smoke-Free!

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A look back at the original Civic Center MetroBus Center. The block North of Spruce had many trees.

In October 2011 many brown areas could be spotted on the evergreen trees
To prep for a new Civic Center bus transfer facility, all the trees were cut down. The Feds will require Metro to plant new trees
The official route from 14th to the MetroLink platform involves steps or two switchback ramps

The new design is substantially different, it has 3 times as many bus bays. First we have to get to it. For both the ribbon cutting (8/10) and open house (8/11) I arrived from the North on the West side of 14th Street (next to Peabody Opera/Scottrade Center). Both times I had to take a detour, hopefully this morning this is open.

AS I arrived for the open house I saw Fredbird walking on 14th because the sidewalk at the corner was closed.
Moments later Fredbird made it around the corner
Later I made it around to the other side, it appears done so hopefully the fencing is pulled back today. The North plaza area, left, is still being finished.
To accèss Civic Center I usd ri go West along Clark, almost to 16th. I couldn’t get to 14th & Spruce because the sidewalks don’t connect on the East side of 14th, which surprised some Metro officials.
On Thursday holes were being dug for a new fence along Clark.
Since opening in 1993 this sidewalk has been too narrow. now the added fence is close leaving no room for people to step side on the South
Heading up the West ramp to the building
Looking back to where I’d been.
Once the corner st 14th & Clark is open pedestrians will use a 14th Street sidewalk not filled with bus stops. Trees will be planted, providing separation from the traffic lane.
Those pedestrians who approach from the South will likely take a shortcut, those of us in mobility devices don’t have that option because bio ramp is provided on the South end
There are several very long crosswalks, the able-bodied will take less risky short-cuts
Some will enter any 14th & Spruce, facing the new building. The MetroLink platform ids beyond, with Amshack 3 beyond that.
Inside the building are restrooms, concessions, security, etc
Each bank of seating has an outlet, carry your phone charger
Like North County TC, the bathrooms don’t have doors . Great for those of us who use a mobility device
From the building you can look down at the MetroLink platform
View of the building from the platform
View north from the steps next to the building
Trees, plants, and art will be installed at the North this full .

At the ribbon cutting on Thursday Metro Transit Exec Dir Ray Friem was adamant Civic Center would open allowing smoking, like their other bus centers. I argued this was the perfect time to make Civic Center smoke-free. Metro staff told me their inconsistent policy of no-smoking on train platforms but smoking at bus shelters on their private property had been the subject of many internal debates over the years. Friem said Metro would go smoke0-free, he just didn’t know how or when.  I rallied others to talk to Friem. It worked.

Metro has announced Civic Center is opening smoke-free, other bus transit centers will go smoke0-free  next month. Finally I can change buses at a transit center without having my eyes water or throat close because of smokers around me.

Four bus routes are being split up:

  • The #30 is being split into the #19 St. Louis Ave and #30 Arsenal
  • The #32 M.L. King-Chouteau is being split into the #31 Chouteau and #32 M.L. King.
  • The #40 Broadway route becomes the #20 S. Broadway and #40 N. Broadway  — yes, both are being routes through Civic Center.
  • The #99 Downtown Trolley is having a West portion split off into the #96 Market Street Shuttle.

You can read all the changes here.

— Steve Patterson

 

Pine @ Tucker Treated Different Than Locust @ Tucker

July 24, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Transportation Comments Off on Pine @ Tucker Treated Different Than Locust @ Tucker

In April I wrote how some drivers get confused on one-way Locust approaching Tucker — some turn left from either lane because it’s not properly marked. Two blocks directly South, on Tine St, is the identical situation but properly marked.  Pine is also a 2-lane street one-way Westbound.  But the city treats Locust very different than it does Locust.

Locust has no pavement markings or signs to indicate where drivers should be.

Locust approaching Tucker, from April post

Pine, however, has both pavement markings and at least one sign.

Pine looking West toward Tucker. Pavement markings and sign indicate the left lane must turn left at Tucker.

Maybe AT&T got the city to make this intersection less confusing? Two blocks away is the same type of intersection treated very differently — untreated. I favor having traffic that wants to continue Westbound being in the right lane. with the left lane for left-turn only traffic. When I drive Westbound on Locust I stay in the right lane to cross Tucker, allowing me to get through the intersection and not be caught behind cars waiting on pedestrians to cross Tucker.

Locust should be treated just like Pine.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Money Spent Improving Arch Grounds Not A Waste

May 31, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Parks Comments Off on Readers: Money Spent Improving Arch Grounds Not A Waste

Over half those who voted in Sunday’s non-scientific poll don’t think it’s a waste to invest in the Arch ground improvements.

ver Q:  Agree or disagree: the millions being spent on changes in & around the Gateway Arch are a waste of taxpayer dollars.

  • Strongly agree 2 [6.06%]
  • Agree 2 [6.06%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [9.09%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat disagree 6 [18.18%]
  • Disagree 6 [18.18%]
  • Strongly disagree 11 [33.33%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

I tend to agree with the majority despite many other pressing needs in the region.More than a century ago local leaders got the idea to erase the original 1764 street grid and raze all buildings. Demolition began in 1939. When the Arch opened for visitors in 1968 the surroundings had been decimated by urban renewal, highways. surface parking, etc. In the 1980s (70s?) a parking garage was built at the North end of the grounds so visitors wouldn’t have to experience the awful surroundings.

So we’re spending more money to correct psst mistakes. Why bother? Tourism.

From 2015:

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2 million visitors to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in 2014 spent $173 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 3000 jobs in the local area, and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $270 million. (NPS)

More visitors from outside the region means more money is injected into the local economy. Getting them to enter the museum from the new West-facing entrance means they may stay longer, spend more money. Locals will also enjoy the experience more.

One of the new ramps connecting the top of the Arch grounds to the riverfront
Looking forward the Old Courthouse
The mew Kiener Plaza

Will all this make a difference? That’s the hope.

In a 2012  CBS News/Vanity Fair poll the Arch was voted the least impressive of five national landmarks listed (see slide).   A significantly better experience may change perceptions.

So no, I don’t think the investment is a waste. I do think about all the other mistakes in the region and the billions (trillions?) it will take to fix them.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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