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Upcoming 15th Ward Special Election In Three Weeks; Candidate Forum Monday September 29, 2014

A candidate forum will be held on Monday September 29, 2014 at the Carpenter Library, 7pm
A candidate forum will be held on Monday September 29, 2014 at the Carpenter Library, 7pm

The 15th ward seat on the Board of Aldermen became vacant in July when Jennifer Florida resigned to accept appointment as the Recorder of Deeds, which became vacant after Sharon Carpenter resigned to end investigation into charges of nepotism. Florida was reelected to the Board of Aldermen in the Spring of 2013. Now voters in the 15th ward will return to the polls next month or elect a new alderman.

Here are the four candidates, in reverse ballot order:

Rhonda Smythe

To my knowledge, the only one of the four I’ve met in person. I met Smythe through her work at Trailnet. As an independent candidate, Smythe submitted at least 106 signatures from valid 15th ward voters to be on the ballot.

Megan Ellyia Green

Green also gathered & submitted signatures to be on the ballot.

Joshua D. Simpson

  • Website: unknown
  • Facebook Page: unknown
  • Twitter: unknown

I was unable to find online information on this candidate or how the GOP nominated him. I did find the St. Louis Republican Central Committee website and Facebook page, no mention of Simpson on either.

Missy Pinkerton-McDaniel

Democratic Committeeman Tod A. Martin & nominated McDaniel, the Committeewoman, for the ballot.

So there are the four individuals seeking to become the next alderman representing the 15th ward. If you’re a registered voter in the 15th ward I urge you to look into all four and consider attending the upcoming candidate forum on Monday September 29, 2014. 7pm @ Carpenter Library, lower level, 3309 S. Grand

The special election is in three weeks, Tuesday October 7, 2014.

— Steve Patterson


Getting To Fair St. Louis In Forest Park

Fair Saint Louis begins today in Forest Park. The event is usually held on the Arch grounds but will be relocated to Forest Park this year and next year due to City+Arch+River construction.

For weeks now we’ve been hearing complaints about having to pay $30/car to park in Forest Park. I’m glad such a premium is placed on parking, this has hopefully forced people to consider transit, carpooling, etc.

Layout of the fairgrounds within Forest Park
Layout of the fairgrounds within Forest Park

For those who have mobility issues, there is is a substantial walk just to reach a gate. If you’re taking a friend or family member that has difficulty walking distances please consider taking their manual wheelchair along, no wheelchairs will be available in the park. The best view of the stage will be from the top of Art Hill, which is accessible using the trail & sidewalk network.


We’re taking MetroLink to Forest Park tonight to see the fireworks, are you going to Fair Saint Louis?

— Steve Patterson


Parking: Study Flaw, Open House Tonight, Consultant Hired (UPDATED)


The weekly poll that started on Sunday morning is about parking, but there’s more on the subject. First, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones is hosting an open house tonight:

The City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office will conduct a town hall meeting to give the public the chance to meet the vendors participating in the parking technology field tests in downtown and the Central West End.

The meeting will be June 24 at the Central Library in downtown. A meet and greet with the vendors will take place at 6 pm, with a presentation to begin at 7 pm. The companies participating in the town hall are: Xerox, Duncan Solutions, Aparc Systems, and a joint proposal submitted by T2 Systems, Inc., Republic Parking System and Digital Payment Technologies. (source)

As of yesterday morning, tonight’s open house still wasn’t listed under the “Upcoming Events” heading. The above quote is from the blog post listed under “News” 0n May 29th, not holding my breath they’ll list the event as an event. The open house seeks feedback on the field tests of new parking meter technology. First, a little help with some of the jargon you’ll hear.

“Multi-space parking meters” includes two very different types: pay-per-space and pay-and-display. With the former each parking space is assigned a number for you to use when paying at a pay station, the latter you pay at a pay station but get a receipt to stick inside your car window to show payment, spaces aren’t formally designated. The pay-and-display form of multi-space parking meters aren’t being tested in St. Louis. Everyone should be familiar with single space meters.

A flaw recently occurred to me in the design of the pilot project to study two types of technology (Single space meters & Pay-per-space/multi-space stations) from four vendors. Two areas areas of the city were selected to try these: the Central West End (CWE) and Downtown. The problem is someone decided to test both vendors with single space meters in the CWE and two out of three pay-per-space stations downtown.  One vendor, Xerox, being tested at Euclid & Laclede, has both single space meters & pay-per-space stations. To control for different conditions, users, etc. one of each type of technology should’ve been placed in each neighborhood, no single space meters are being tested downtown.

Single space meter being tested on Laclede
Single space meter being tested on Laclede accepts credit cards & mobile payments…coins too

The most recent numbers compares the four vendors to each other, with no reference to historical revenues for the test areas with the current meters. Is one higher because of the technology or because that spot is busier?

The latest numbers on the four vendors, distributed earlier this month at the Parking Commission meeting. Received vis a Missouri Sunshine Law request. Click image to view 2-page PDF  on Scribd.com
The latest numbers on the four vendors, distributed earlier this month at the Parking Commission meeting. Received vis a Missouri Sunshine Law request. Click image to view 2-page PDF on Scribd.com

As you can see above payment by coin (red) is larger than credit card (blue), with mobile payments barely registering. It’s expected after a system is selected that credit card and mobile payments will make up the bulk of the revenue. None accept bills.

Thankfully the Treasurer’s Office realized they need parking professionals to guide the city into the future…at least with respect to parking, they recently announced a firm to act as a consultant:

Desman Associates responded to a request for proposal (RFP) to hire a consultant to evaluate the City’s current on and off-street parking programs and to recommend improvements to the parking system. Desman Associates has conducted several parking studies in St. Louis, including studies for Ballpark Village, the Peabody Opera House, Grand Center, and Washington University.

“The parking study will be used to reform the current parking system and offer guidance as we look to implement new parking technology and modernize an outdated system,” said Tishaura O. Jones, Treasurer of the City of St. Louis. “We look forward to working with Desman Associates to create a first class parking operation for the City.”

Desman Associates is based in New York:

DESMAN Associates, is a professional corporation with more than 100 professional and technical personnel. The firm is a leading national specialist in transportation improvements and the planning, design and construction administration of functionally efficient, attractive and cost effective parking facilities. Since the firm’s inception in 1973, DESMAN has served public, private and institutional Clients and Owners throughout the U.S. and abroad and has provided planning, design, and restoration services for over 1,500 parking projects.

DESMAN operates from the nine following office locations:

  • New York*
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Hartford
  • Boston
  • Denver
  • Ft. Lauderdale
  • Pittsburgh

DESMAN Associates is also recognized as a certified Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE) by many states, municipalities and other government and public agencies that may help clients meet or exceed their affirmative action goals and policies.

* Corporate office

I’m not sure if representatives from Desman Associates will be at the open house tonight, I’ll be there (Central Library) to meet the four vendors at 6pm and see the presentation at 7pm. Remember, when Tishaura Jones ran for the office in 2012 she said repeatedly she didn’t want to be a “parking czar.”

UPDATED 6/25/2014 @ 7:30am, after talking with teams last night:

  • The Xerox team is advocating a mixed approach for St. Louis with some multi-space stations and some single space, depending on the conditions. Block faces with few spaces the single space meters are more cost-effective to install. Other teams indicated they also advocate using both even though they’re only testing one type.
  • In cities where a mobile app can be used everywhere the use rate ranges from 10-50%, right now so few meters accept mobile payments few have bothered to set up accounts.
  • I was highly impressed by all four teams, the two mobile companies, and the town hall event.Kudos!

— Steve Patterson


Readers: Change of Summer Festivals in Downtown St. Louis a Bad Move

Over 63% of readers that voted in the non-scientific poll last week said the move to push out the locally-produced  Taste of St. Louis & Bluesweek festivals in favor of concerts from ICM/Summer Rocks is a bad move, 16% thought it was a wash, and just over 20% think it is a good move. Here’s the breakdown:

Q: ICM/Summer Rocks pushed Bluesweek & Taste of St. Louis out of downtown on two holiday weekends. Good move for downtown & city?

  1. Very bad move! 30 [40.54%]
  2. Sorta bad 17 [22.97%]
  3. Meh, no big deal 12 [16.22%]
  4. Slightly good 9 [12.16%]
  5. Excellent! 6 [8.11%]

I tend to agree, I think next year we’ll see just how inexperienced ICM is at producing a festival, especially in a complicated setting like the area around Soldiers Memorial.

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

I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Taste of St. Louis grown over the years, starting out where Citygarden is now, later at Soldiers Memorial. Each year they learned from past mistakes.  We’ll see how this goes, hopefully it’ll be a positive overall.

— Steve Patterson


Poll: ICM/Summer Rocks Pushed Bluesweek & Taste of St. Louis Out of Downtown on Two Holiday Weekends. Good Move for Downtown & City?

A few months ago Entertainment Saint Louis, the local promoter behind the Taste of St. Louis and Bluesweek, announced both events were moving to Chesterfield. Since those announcements we’ve learned the city was working on a deal to give ICM/Summer Rocks use of the area around Soldiers Memorial for concerts starting next year:

The plan is for events along the lines of Lollapalooza in Chicago, a music festival that has brought millions of dollars and visitors to the city’s Grant Park since 2005, when it went from a traveling event to an annual Chicago spectacle.

ICM Partners intends to bring country music festivals over Memorial Day weekends and rock festivals over Labor Day weekends. The events will be planned to draw residents throughout the South and Midwest to the area around downtown’s Soldiers Memorial. (stltoday)

This means the region will have more total events than before.   The weekly poll this week asks if this is a good move for downtown & the city? The poll is in the right sidebar, the five answers are presented in random order.

I’ll post the results and share my thoughts next week.

— Steve Patterson




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