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4th Annual MetroLink Prom 7pm Tonight

Tonight is the annual MetroLink Prom. Here is the full press release:


Citizens for Modern Transit, City Affair, and the Transit Riders Union of St. Louis Present Celebration of the MetroLink Blue Line


Five years ago, St. Louis’s illustrious MetroLink light rail system took a great leap forward with a brand new line that connected St. Louisans for the first time by rail to exotic locales such as Maplewood, Richmond Heights and Shrewsbury. For the fourth time in as many years, St. Louisans will unite to dance aboard the the trains in the off-beat, one-of-a-kind MetroLink Prom. Why do we do this year after year? Because MetroLink—and public transit in general—makes St. Louis a better, more accessible city. Now, with the Blue Line in place, St. Louis can experience our resurgent, historic urban core as well as our thriving, inner ring suburbs in just seven light rail stops.

WHAT: 4th Annual MetroLink Prom

WHO: All lovers of mass transit and formalwear

WHEN: Friday, October 7, 2011 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Meet at the Forest Park/DeBaliviere MetroLink Station at 7pm

HOW MUCH: A two-hour Metro pass ($2.75) – Purchase your own, please!


Just like it sounds – a full-blown, high school-style PROM aboard your favorite transit system. Dress in your finest attire—try to wear something blue—and meet us at the MetroLink Forest Park/DeBaliviere Station on Friday, October 7, 2011 at 7 p.m. We’ll direct you from there. When we arrive at Shrewsbury Station, we’ll award the night’s finest dressed (blue-themed formalwear or costumes) with the title of Prom King and Prom Queen before riding back to the Skinker Station.

The newly anointed Prom Court will then lead us in our promenade from the Skinker Station to the Moonrise Hotel’s rooftop bar for our Blue Moon Ball – a night of drinking and dancing with an unparalleled bird’s eye view of the city and its duo of MetroLink lines. (That’s a half mile parade to show off our finery to the general public. A drum line will lead the way!).

The official Facebook event is here. Last year was my first MetroLink Prom and I had a great time so I wouldn’t think of missing this year. If you live in the city or inner suburbs you can easily get to the MetroLink system via MetroBus if you don’t live close to a station. You can use Metro St. Louis or Google Transit to check your transit options.  The #01 Gold and #90 Hampton MetroBus lines stop at the Forest Park MetroLink station.

I’ve been trying to think of a fun themed event to do on MetroBus. MetroBus Homecoming?

– Steve Patterson


Taste of St. Louis Today Through Sunday, Tours of Peabody Opera

The annual Taste of St. Louis kicks off today and runs through Sunday, from their press release:

The Taste of St. Louis is a celebration of food, art, music, and the culture of the great city of St. Louis. The 2011 Taste will feature celebrity chefs, 45 of St. Louis’ best restaurants along Sauce Magazine’s Restaurant Row, the Chef Battle Royale on the Lumiere Place and River City Casino Culinary stage, The Kids’ Kitchen, free music concerts on the Main Stage, and the Art & Wine Walk.

This year is a bit different because the main stage will be west of 14th — in front of the new Peabody Opera House. I attended the Taste of St. Louis press conference a few days ago at the Peabody. Wow, unbelievably impressive. Hats off to the generations before us that built such a magnificent structure during the Great Depression. It’s amazing what $79 million can do for a building that has been vacant for more than 20 years.

ABOVE: Inside the Peabody Opera House September 2011

The official opening performance at the new Peabody isn’t until October 1st but this weekend you can see inside for free as part of the Taste of St. Louis weekend.

Last year Taste introduced EGS – Event Greening Services:

With a current attendance of more than 300,000, the Taste was the first event in the region to pioneer aggressive, eco-friendly practices in multiple areas of our operations. We’ve received a lot of media attention for our greening efforts, and, with the help of our community, plan to continue to build on these efforts each year.

I thought it worked well last year, even more waste should be recycled this year.

ABOVE: Recycling center at the 2010 Taste of St. Louis

The event is held in the Gateway Mall’s “Civic Room” (aka Soldiers Memorial) at Chestnut & 13th. Thankfully their site doesn’t give driving directions but suggests using Metro. Unfortunately, they only mention MetroLink, not MetroBus.  Everyday in St. Louis more people are transported via MetroBus than MetroLink but everyone acts like it doesn’t matter.  If you live in the region you have public transit options to get downtown for this great event. They might include MetroBus, MetroLink or both. North, south, east or west of downtown there is public transit that will get you to the event.

Some MetroBus options:

  • From North city: 4, 30, 32, 41, 70, 74, 94, 97
  • From North county to downtown: 74; to Hanley MetroLink : 35, 44, 47, 61, 75
  • From West city: 10, 32
  • From West county to MetroLink: 56, 57, 58, 91
  • From South city: 8, 10, 11, 40, 70, 73, 80
  • From South county to downtown: 73 to MetroLink: 17, 21, 46

Many options! For everyone, except those in Madison County, can use Google Maps or Metro’s Trip Planner to determine your route options. Those in Madison county see Madison County Transit for various bus routes to 5th & Missouri MetroLink. Note that some bus lines use Market and/or 14th, they will be rerouted slightly due to Taste, but you will still get closer than if you drove.

Got bike? Bike parking will be at Tucker & Chestnut.

ABOVE: One of the many things I ate last year at the Taste, a veggie sambosa

Have a great weekend — see you at the Taste of St. Louis!

– Steve Patterson


Happy Labor Day Weekend

September 2, 2011 Events/Meetings, Featured 6 Comments
ABOVE: Service Employees International Union (SEIU Local 1) building on Clifton.

Have a great weekend folks.  Listen to me on KDHX’s Collateral Damage show with DJ Wilson Monday at 8:30pm (88.1FM or online here).  I’ll be back on Tuesday with a new post. In the meantime, enjoy four days of bicycle racing with the annual Gateway Cup.

– Steve Patterson


Reaching the St. Louis County Library

I was thinking of attending a meeting being held tonight (7pm-9pm) at the headquarters of the St. Louis County Library located at 1640 South Lindbergh Blvd. The meeting is a St. Louis Aerotropolis Forum sponsored by the Citizens Alliance for Missouri Patriots (a closed Facebook group) that I’m NOT a member of:

Alliance of Tea Party and Patriot Group leaders and organizers in the State of Missouri who wish to combine forces in working together for our state’s sovereignty, who adhere to and believe in our founding fathers’ constitutional principles, government fiscal responsibility, individual unalienable rights, and a free market system. CAMP does NOT represent any one political party, but only the People of Missouri.

Here is the description of the Facebook event:

Concerned about the China Hub issue to be brought before our state legislators in the upcoming special session? For those in the local St. Louis metro area or across the state, you are invited to join us in hearing our panel of speakers who will be discussing and debating this topic which will affect every citizen in Missouri.

Scheduled panelists are Audrey Spalding from Show Me Institute, and David Roland from Missouri Freedom Center.

We are currently awaiting confirmation on panel speakers from the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association who are working to bring the China Hub to St. Louis.

The forum will be held in the library auditorium starting at 7pm and ending promptly at 9pm.

Scheduled Host is Mr. Rodney White, retired businessman, local author and speaker.

Please invite your neighbors, family, and friends who are wanting to know more about this new government tax credit.

I’d like to hear this perspective,  I have three choices on how to get to the meeting:

  1. Drive my car
  2. Ask for a ride with someone else.
  3. Take public transit

Let’s look at each option.

1) Drive my car

This is the option 99% of those attending will use. But I try to use my car as little as possible, plus I have a narrow window between 6pm-9pm when I can drive to get the best insurance discount. I’d have to leave the event early if I drove to be home by 9pm.  And yes, Progressive knows exactly when I drive  because of the device I voluntarily plugged into my diagnostic port. Google Maps says the drive is 12.6 miles long and would take 18 minutes if I use I-64 or 13.7-14.2 miles (& 29-33 minutes) if I use surface streets.

2) Ask for a ride with someone else

This is a good option, one I wish more people would use rather than driving themselves. I know only one person on the attending list, but I know Ed Martin online only and I’m not sure I want to ask him or be at his mercy.

3) Take public transit

Finally my favorite option! I have two choices to reach the library via transit. The option that gets me there closest to the start time takes the longest (59 minutes) and would involve using MetroLink and two buses. The other option takes 50-56 minutes depending upon when I leave.  This is twice as long as if I drove but from my view this is time I can read, check email, observe the city, etc.

Since I’ve never been there in my power chair before I need to investigate the route in detail. The option that includes only one bus is more appealing than having to transfer from one bus to another so I looked at taking the #58 bus from the Clayton MetroLink/MetroBus station.

Seems simple enough, “walking” 3/10th of a mile is no big deal in my chair.

But when I looked at the aerial image and the street view is when problems became clear.

On the left it's not clear a sidewalk exists.

The street view shows curbs on both sides of the driveway, which means no deal.  In looking back up at the aerial it seems the near side may have been fixed, but the far sides of the drive is unknown. This route is too uncertain.

The other option is to take the #58X Express Bus to Big Bend & Kirkwood Rd then transfer to the #48 northbound on Kirkwood/Lindbergh.

I’m pretty sure the stops are not as shown, but still the area has good sidewalks, ramps and crosswalks. I just need to figure out where to board the 48. Oh, just a bit to the north.

And here we see a common problem. A large pad is provided as well as a shelter but the pad isn’t connected to the sidewalk. Suburban sidewalks are often just for show, not actual use, so having the sidewalk actually connect to points pedestrians would actually use is just radical thinking I suppose.  My chair can deal with the grade change and grass but someone using a manual chair, walker or cane might have difficulty.

The great thing is the #48 stops right in front of the library. I should be good from this point, right? Wrong!

Where the bus stops there is no pedestrian route to the entrance. Perhaps a proper pedestrian access route exists somewhere in either direction?

No pedestrian route at the north vehicle drive
And no pedestrian route at the south vehicle drive

If I were to risk my life trying either vehicle drive I still have no clue where to find a ramp to reach and accessible entrance. Even the able-bodied would take a chance if they walked in one of the driveways. Walking to the library seems as American as apple pie, but not in St. Louis County apparently.

I checked out their accessibility page:

Buildings and Bookmobiles

What physical accommodations exist for persons with physical limitations?

  • Handicapped-accessible parking
  • Ramp entrances
  • Power doors
  • Elevators
  • Accessible aisles and routes inside the buildings
  • Accessible restrooms, water fountains, and public telephones
  • Low service desks
  • Specially-designed school bookmobile with wheelchair lift

No thought is given to pedestrians at all. My example is extreme in that I’m coming from a long distance. What about someone, like a senior or a child, in Kirkwood? What is the reverse route?  Public buildings like libraries should demonstrate to others what is expected. Oh, I guess it does, they don’t expect pedestrians. But people do use these bus routes and stops and every transit rider is a pedestrian on at least one end of their trip.

St. Louis County and municipalities continue to spend money on sidewalks and ADA ramps but they fail to connect the dots! These new & improved sidewalks are mere roadside decoration  to give the appearance of walkability & accessibility.

I contacted the St. Louis County Library on the 26th about their lack of a pedestrian access route and they are tagged on the tweet of this post.

– Steve Patterson


Grouphug Was More Than Pictures

August 25, 2011 Events/Meetings 6 Comments
ABOVE: A huge crowd at STL-Style watched the slide show on June 2nd

Yesterday I wrote about the idea of small projects to show our attachment to St. Louis. One such project happened  earlier this year, Grouphug:

We are asking you and your friends to scour the city for your favorite people, places, and objects—ones that define our city and/or help to explain why you love St. Louis—and HUG these subjects for the camera. Get a friend to snap a photograph of you with your arms wrapped around your favorite St. Louis building, business, monument, person, etc. On June 2, all participants and friends are invited to attend the GROUPHUG party to view pics, imbibe, listen to music and express your love for STL.

Cleveland-based Saving Cities will be filming portions of the event and conducting interviews to document grassroots efforts to “save” Rust Belt cities from the community up. Put forward your best photograph—and our city’s best face—for our guests from Cleveland. For more information, visit www.savingcities.com.

Here is the 15-minute slide show, I’m at 11:55:


A jury picked 10 finalists and those of us that attended the event on June 2nd voted, resulting in the top three (click to view larger image):

It was an outstanding project and the event was great. That night I saw a group of young folks embracing their city. Community was being built face-to-face. This didn’t exist 21 years ago when I loved to St. Louis as an idealistic 23 year old.What this group of 20 & 30 somethings will accomplish in the next 21 years is exciting to think about.

– Steve Patterson