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Sunday’s Weather in Three Images

November 22, 2013 Environment, Featured Comments Off on Sunday’s Weather in Three Images

The weather last Sunday was crazy, including deadly tornados that caused extensive damage in Illinois. There was some wind damage in St. Louis, but no injuries to my knowledge.   I took three images in ten minutes that capture what I saw from our loft in downtown St. Louis:

Sunshine and dark clouds at 11:40:08am on November 17, 2013
Sunshine and dark clouds at 11:40:08am on November 17, 2013
Horizontal rain and hail at 1:44:58
Horizontal rain and hail at 1:44:58
Blue sky at 11:50:11am
Blue sky at 11:50:11am

That’s a lot to happen in just ten minutes! My heart goes out to everyone who lost family, friends, or property in these storms. Have a great weekend — no post tomorrow. New poll on Sunday though.

— Steve Patterson

 

New Pedestrian Access Route At Third Degree Glass Factory

The last time I was at Third Degree Glass Factory, about six months ago, I tweeted the fact it lacked an ADA access route from the public sidewalk to the entry. The entry walkway led to the side parking lot. Pedestrians arriving on foot, by bus, or those parking on-street had to enter via the parking lot. I never got a response to my tweet, nor did I follow up.

Recently heading home on the #97 MetroBus, I spotted work being done to build a pedestrian access routeI  I meant to return to check it out but it didn’t happen. Then yesterday I attended an event held at Third Degree. I’m pleased with the result. Like so many businesses, this isn’t something they naturally think of. Third Degree is great about teaching you glass blowing. If St. Louis had a law requiring such an access route their architect would’ve included it in their original project. We don’t, so it took a few years until I raised the issue.

The red arrow marks the entry
The red arrow marks the entry as seen from the bus stop at the public sidewalk
The  width of the new walk is minimal, but better than nothing. Had the city raised pedestrian access when planning something more generous & welcoming could've been built.
The width of the new walk is minimal, but better than nothing. Had the city raised pedestrian access when planning something more generous & welcoming might have been built.
The view from the entry shows the original walk leading to parking
The view from the entry shows the original walk leading to parking
Turning toward the street we see the new walkway to the public sidewalk. Circled in red is Metro long range planner Mark Phillips waiting for the #97 bus which showed up seconds later.
Turning toward the street we see the new walkway to the public sidewalk. Circled in red is Metro long range planner Mark Phillips waiting for the #97 bus which showed up seconds later.
The event I attended was a sustainability event, my table was on making St. Louis less car dependent
The event I attended yesterday was a sustainability work session, my table focused on making St. Louis less car dependent. Click photo for information on the event.

Kudos to Third Degree for listening and taking concrete action, pun intended. Now if I can only get the city/region to require such access when buildings are built or substantially renovated….

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Should St. Louis Sign The Water Consulting Contract With Veoila?

Next year St. Louis will turn 250 years old. In those early years St. Louis didn’t have a municipal water system, but for the last 178 years we have.

1764: The City of St. Louis is founded.
1831: The City of St. Louis contracts with Abraham Fox and John Wilson to build a waterworks.
1835: The City of St. Louis buys out the bankrupt Fox and Wilson, becoming sole owner of the St. Louis Waterworks. (St. Louis Water history)

ABOVE: Cover of American City: St. Louis Architecture.  Text by Robert Sharoff & photographs by William Zbaren
Cover of American City: St. Louis Architecture by Robert Sharoff & William Zbaren features a water inlet on the cover

With that long history comes old infrastructure. To get advice St. Louis issued a request for proposals to provide a “Operational Efficiency and Value Creation Analysis”:

PROJECT OBJECTIVE:
The objective of the St. Louis Water Division is to retain a Consultant or Consultants with expertise in water system operations that can provide insight and new ideas, programs and approaches on ways to increase the Water Division’s efficiency and/or revenues in order to postpone or lessen future water rate increases and to improve customer satisfaction. The Cityand the Water Division for the most part would like to identify the ideas, have them bedeveloped into projects or programs and be implemented through Performance Contracting such that the City has no additional initial outlay of funds for capital projects or procurement of equipment or services. There will be some Non-Performance Contracting efforts that will result in delivery of a report with recommendations and a detailed implementation plan that can be executed by the SLWD or others

Sounds like a proactive step, but the winner of the bidding process, French firm Veolia, is viewed by some as a company that specializes in the privatization of public water systems. So the fear is a short-term consulting contract is the gateway to handing over a valuable city asset.

Mayor Slay is saying Comptroller Green has a duty to sign the $250,000 contract since it went through the bidding process. Meanwhile, Lewis Reed, President of the Board of Aldermen, is calling for hearings over the handling of the contract.

For months a grass-roots organization Dump Veolia has fought the contract at every step:

We are a group of concerned residents who want St. Louis to reject a proposed water consultancy contract with the French multinational corporation Veolia, the largest water privatization company in the world.? Learn what the campaign is about, who is mobilizing against Veolia, and why.???

The poll question this week is “Should St. Louis Sign The Water Consulting Contract With Veoila?” The poll is in the right sidebar, results to be posted on Wednesday October 20th.

— Steve Patterson

 

Saint Louis University Law School Shuttle

One reason for trying to build the St. Louis Streetcar is to reduce the number of polluting buses on the streets, in particular, from shuttles for the new Saint Louis University School of Law (my review of the building). The law school is open and the diesel-powered shuttles are very visible.

Shuttle in front of Scott Hall
Shuttle in front of Scott Hall
Shuttle on Locust at 9th, near Culinaria
Shuttle idling on Locust at 9th, near Culinaria

Here’s a quick summary of the route:

Scott Hall Shuttle You can access Scott Hall from the main university and designated law school parking via a new shuttle. Hours and information can be found here. The shuttle will connect Scott Hall to the main University campus, Salus Center and the law school parking at Schnucks Culnaria and 1215 Olive St. surface lot. The final shuttle runs from Scott Hall at 10:10 p.m. with drop-offs at Culinaria, the 1215 parking lot and finally at Busch Student Center. (source)

And here’s visuals:

Scott Hall Shuttle route map on SLU website
Scott Hall Shuttle route map on SLU website
Close up of the route in the central business district
Close up of the route in the central business district

Seems excessive too me, especially when they sit and idle, spewing diesel fumes. Guess law students won’t mix with the general public with such an elaborate shuttle system at their disposal. Presumably, though, amy SLU faculty, staff, or student, can ride it.

— Steve Patterson

 

Recycling Dumpsters Completely Block Sidewalk, Hopefully Just Temporarily

I’m a huge advocate of recycling. I also know making it easier will get more people to recycle. But that convenience shouldn’t come at the expense of walkability. Unfortunately that’s what happened in south St. Louis recently.

Trying to reach Chippewa along Clifton Ave behind Target I encountered a big blue obstacle blocking the sidewalk.
Trying to reach Chippewa along Clifton Ave behind Target I encountered a big blue obstacle blocking the sidewalk.
I had to go off into the grass to get around the bins. Not all wheelchairs/scooters are as capable. Someone walking with a cane or walker would have trouble walking on the grass.
I had to go off into the grass to get around the bins. Not all wheelchairs/scooters are as capable. Someone walking with a cane or walker would have trouble walking on the grass.
The six recycling bins, oriented to the street, viewed from across Clifton Ave
The six recycling bins, oriented to the street, viewed from across Clifton Ave

It wasn’t until  this point in writing this post that I realized the dumpsters probably sit on the road most of the time, they likely got moved to the sidewalk while Clifton Ave was being resurfaced. I’m going to verify with city officials to ensure this was only temporary.

— Steve Patterson

 

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