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Readers: Reduce The number of Vehicle Lanes on Eads Bridge

November 9, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on Readers: Reduce The number of Vehicle Lanes on Eads Bridge

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll was about the Eads Bridge,specifically the configuration of the top level.

Tere are the visuals from the poll:

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

Again, those voting were self-selected so the results aren’t scientific or representative of the regional mindset — just of 46 individuals. Still, these 46 do represent a small segment of the region — those interested in local infrastructure.

Q: How should the top of the Eads Bridge be configured in the future?

  • 4 vehicle lanes, pedestrians Arch side only (existing) 12 [26.09%]
  • 3 vehicle lanes, pedestrians Arch side only 5 [10.87%]
  • 3 vehicle lanes, pedestrians both sides, wider on Arch side 5 [10.87%]
  • 2 vehicle lanes, pedestrians Arch side only 3 [6.52%]
  • 2 vehicle lanes, pedestrians both sides, wider on Arch side 14 [30.43%]
  • 2 vehicle lanes, pedestrians both sides, equal width 3 [6.52%]
  • 0 vehicle lanes, pedestrians full width 1 [2.17%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 3 [6.52%]

Just over a quarter supported the maximum number of vehicle lanes (4). A smaller number (21.74%) supported reducing driving lanes from 4 to 3. A whopping 43.47% voted to reduce vehicle lanes from the existing 4 to 2. Only one person (2.17%) voted to eliminate cars altogether.

I support the option that happened to receive the most votes: “2 vehicle lanes, pedestrians both sides, wider on Arch side.” Why?

The pedestrian width is barely the minimum required while 4 vehicle lanes greatly exceeds demand. While I recognize the greatest pedestrian demand is on the Arch side, the North side is also interesting,

Metro Board Chair speaking at the Eads Bridge Rehabilitation Kick Off on May 22nd, 2012
Metro Board Chair speaking at the Eads Bridge Rehabilitation Kick Off on May 22nd, 2012
Metro & partners celebrating the completion of the restoration project on October 7, 2016
Metro & partners celebrating the completion of the restoration project on October 7, 2016
I took this in June when a fallen sign in the narrow pedestrian path. I tried to tilt it to one side, but couldn't. My chair was barely able to power over it.
I took this in June when a fallen sign in the narrow pedestrian path. I tried to tilt it to one side, but couldn’t. My chair was barely able to power over it.
The 4 vehicle lanes were closed last month for the celebration, this much space isn't needed for the volume of daily traffic.
The 4 vehicle lanes were closed last month for the celebration, this much space isn’t needed for the volume of daily traffic.
The views to the King Bridge, riverfront, Laclede's Landing area to the North are all interesting -- would love to be able to see & photograph on more than just special occasions.
The views to the King Bridge, riverfront, Laclede’s Landing area to the North are all interesting — would love to be able to see & photograph on more than just special occasions.

So why not just make it all pedestrian? That would be as bad as it is currently, just in a different way. When driving, I like to use the Eads Bridge to cross the Mississippi River — it is the only non-interstate bridge crossing the river downtown.

If anything, I think it is worthwhile to examine the configuration of the top deck and see if a change should be made in the future.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Readers Prefer A Downtown Soccer Stadium Near Union Station

November 2, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on Readers Prefer A Downtown Soccer Stadium Near Union Station
7 In February I proposed putting a dedicated stadium in between Pine & Market, West of 20th
7 In February I proposed putting a dedicated stadium in between Pine & Market, West of 20th

In the non-scientific Sunday Poll less than 10% of readers didn’t favor a dedicated soccer stadium, almost as many were undecided.  Just over half picked near Union Station first with Grand & Chouteau 2nd.

Q: Which of the following represents your priorities with respect to a dedicated soccer stadium:

  • 1) no dedicated soccer stadium 2) Grand/Chouteau 3) Near Union Station 3 [4.92%]
  • 1) no dedicated soccer stadium 2) Near Union Station 3) Grand/Chouteau 3 [4.92%]
  • 1) Grand/Chouteau 2) Near Union Station 3) no dedicated soccer stadium 16 [26.23%]
  • 1) Grand/Chouteau 2) no dedicated soccer stadium 3) Near Union Station 0 [0%]
  • 1) Near Union Station 2) Grand/Chouteau 3) no dedicated soccer stadium 31 [50.82%]
  • 1) Near Union Station 2) no dedicated soccer stadium 3) Grand/Chouteau 4 [6.56%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 4 [6.56%]

Back in February 2016 I proposed a site near Union Station, see A Great Site For A Major League Soccer (MLS) Stadium In Downtown St. Louis. Regardless, I don’t think either ownership team or city leaders have the slightest clue about how to crete a quality pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. The Grand & Chouteau site should become a dense mixed-use neighborhood, but SLU is opposed to quality urbanism.

We’ll see what happens.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Which Location Would You Pick For A Soccer Stadium?

October 30, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Midtown, Popular Culture, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Which Location Would You Pick For A Soccer Stadium?
Please vote below
Please vote below

The NFL has left, but major league soccer (MLS) is interested in St. Louis.

There are at least two potential MLS ownership groups in St. Louis.

They include Foundry St. Louis, which has already identified property at the northwest corner of Chouteau Avenue and Grand Boulevard for stadium development, and MLS2STL, whose representatives are adamant the stadium site should be downtown. (Post-Dispatch)

The downtown site would technically be in Downtown West — just West of Union Station.

So today’s non-scientific poll seeks to figure out where the readership thinks a dedicated soccer stadium is best placed, if at all. There are many pros & cons to both possible locations.

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Generic Form Letters Mailed To Owners Of Poorly Maintained Surface Parking Lot Notifying Them Of Code Violations

August 30, 2016 Downtown, Featured, Parking 17 Comments

In May I posted about the parking lot to the East of my condo building, see Deplorable Surface Parking Lot At 1601 Locust Cited, Fined. The next month I submitted a request to the city for copies of the notice(s) sent to the owner. I’ve finally received  them.

Standing water in some of the many holes in the paving, August 23rd
Standing water in some of the many holes in the paving, August 23rd

Here’s the timeline:

  • Friday June 3 @ 9:09am: Emailed request to St. Louis’ centralized custodian of records.
  • Wednesday June 8 @ 4:43pm:  Reply from the city acknowledging the request, describing the process. “We anticipate completing this process during the week of June 13, 2016.”
  • Tuesday June 21 @ 10:03am: I replied to followup on the status.
  • Friday August 12 @ 11:02am: I replied again, but copied Maggie Crane in the mayor’s office, I wrote: “It’s been nearly three (3) months since my request was made. Guess I’ll have to file a complaint with the state…”
  • Friday August 12 @ 11:46am: I received a reply from the custodian of records: “I apologize for the delay in getting back to you regarding your above-referenced Sunshine Law request. I appreciate your patience in this matter. Attached are the responsive documents.”

I was initially encouraged when I found out the city had centralized the request process, as opposed to having a person in each department be familiar with Missouri’s Sunshine Law and ensure compliance. I was disappointed I didn’t receive a response by the date they said I would. I was upset when I didn’t get a reply to my followup email. By the time I remembered in mid-August I was furious.  I should’ve copied someone else on my initial followup of June 21st.  Lesson learned.

Cars overhanging & parked on the public sidewalk, August 23rd
Cars overhanging & parked on the public sidewalk, August 23rd

Here are the documents I received:

I now know the name of the building inspector, we’ve talked by phone and are communicating. I’ve asked if the owner is being fined and if it can be sent to court for prosecution of the violations. I’m not an expert in these matters, but I don’t think mailing letters to an LLC in Illinois regarding a surface parking lot with the first sentence that reads “Thank you for choosing to live in the City of St. Louis” is an effective strategy.

I didn’t want to do this, but yesterday morning I emailed Carl Phillips at Parking Enforcement and asked them to warn/ticket people who end up over/on the sidewalk. After lunch I went out and the same two cars from 6 days earlier had something under their wiper.

Looking North
Looking North
Looking South
Looking South

Hopefully drivers will start paying attention, or will park elsewhere. If the owners lose enough business perhaps they’ll take action.

— Steve Patterson

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Readers: Aquarium A Good Fit For Union Station

I’ve never been to an aquarium before, but I know they’re popular attractions.  We recently spent the day at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, next to their Shedd Aquarium.  Shedd’s ticket prices range from $8/adult ($6/child) to $54.95/adult ($45.95/child). I assume most but the $37.95/28.95 “total experience” ticket, it allows you to see everything but you must wait in lines.

For years I’d heard about the World Aquarium, located within City Museum. Now it’s in Laclede’s Landing. Adult admission, for comparison, is only $6.

The new aquarium will be in addition to the existing:

St. Louis Aquarium will be a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, LHM said. The facility will employ marine biologists and aquarists to care for the creatures displayed and oversee water chemistry, animal nutrition, veterinary duties, education, staffing and safety.

The association, based in Silver Spring, Md., has more than 230 members. Among them is the Butterfly House, which opened in 1998 in Chesterfield and, since 2001, has been a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The aquarium, expected to get a million visitors annually, will be a draw for school groups as well as an entertainment destination, LHM said. An 8,500-square-foot event space with the shark tank as a backdrop will be available for weddings, social gatherings and corporate parties. (Post-Dispatch)

As with zoos, I question the ethics of keeping wild animals in captivity for our amusement.

The former food court and retail spaces under the train shed had a decidedly mall feel, October 2011
The former food court and retail spaces under the train shed had a decidedly mall feel, October 2011

The results of the non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: An aquarium in the former shopping mall area is a good fit for Union Station

  • Strongly agree 13 [27.08%]
  • Agree 11 [22.92%]
  • Somewhat agree 7 [14.58%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [2.08%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [4.17%]
  • Disagree 6 [12.5%]
  • Strongly disagree 6 [12.5%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [4.17%]

I voted for “somewhat agree”, but it depends on the execution, admission price, etc. I’m more excited about the new hotel rooms to be built within the clock tower!

— Steve Patterson

 

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