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Slight Majority of Readers Okay With Red-Light Cameras Returning to St. Louis Intersections

November 27, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Slight Majority of Readers Okay With Red-Light Cameras Returning to St. Louis Intersections

In 2015 the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against three municipal traffic camera ordinances — in St. Louis, St. Peter’s, and Moline Acres. The latter two dealt with assessing points or not. St. Louis had been sending red-light tickets to the registered owner of the vehicles that went through a red light.

The court will allow red-light cameras that can take photos of the driver. It’s unclear to me how the city would know who the driver is from a photograph, or maybe they’d expect the owner to identify who was driving their car through a red light.

I’d love to see red-light cameras at Cole & 7th. Of course, if the signals on Cole were timed better perhaps so many people wouldn’t run this light.

Obviously we’re talking about more sophisticated equipment than what the city had before. I’m personally fine if the bulk of the revenue goes to the vendor — my goal would be to reduce people running red lights — this would be safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

One comment received was also correct — the timing on the city’s lights is so horrible people feel compelled to run lights to get anywhere. I’d like to see an independent audit of traffic lights & pedestrian signals.

More than half who voted in the recent Sunday Poll appear to support brining cameras back.

Q: Agree or disagree: Red-light cameras are unconstitutional, so they shouldn’t return to St. Louis

  • Strongly agree: 3 [10.71%]
  • Agree: 6 [21.43%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Disagree: 7 [25%]
  • Strongly disagree: 8 [28.57%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [3.57%]

Let’s get the signals fixed and bring back red-light cameras to dangerous intersections.

— Steve Patterson

 

New Book — ‘Scenes of Historic Wonder: St. Louis’ by Jaime Bourassa & Cameron Collins

November 25, 2019 Books, Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on New Book — ‘Scenes of Historic Wonder: St. Louis’ by Jaime Bourassa & Cameron Collins

Local publisher Reedy Press comes out with many great books every year, usually on a specific subject.  For example 2015’s ‘Downtown St. Louis’ by NiNi Harris (a 2nd edition was just released). Today’s book is different, the subjects are varied. The only common element is they’re oddities.

Quirky, provocative, awe-inspiring, and just plain bizarre describe the scenes captured in this often comical, always fascinating pictorial. The images in this singular collection depict one-of-a-kind moments that we’ll never see again, mainly because they reflect a specific place in time in history. Glimpses of everyday work, family, and public life not to mention scenes of leisure, sport, and entertainment convey what made each period unique. Informative captions place each scene in context and give substance to moments that range from mundane to wondrous and, in some cases, downright wacky. (Reedy Press)

Here’s a list of how the many topics are organized:

  • Old St. Louis
  • Transportation
  • World’s Fair
  • Sports
  • Industry and Innovation
  • Fun and Games
  • Education
  • Everyday Life
  • Hard Times
  • Brews and Food

In flipping through this book the last couple of weeks I’ve learned new things about St. Louis’ history, seen pictures I’d not seen before.

Here’s a small fraction of the subjects covered:

  • Mound City, the opening subject is Native-American mounds that used to exist on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River.
  • Kayser’s Lake, at  9th & Biddle, was one of many stagnant ponds to eventually be drained to get rid of disease and make room for development.
  • The Campbell House Museum opened in the 1940s, but they didn’t have a good record of what the interior looked like in the past — but in 1973 a photo album from 1885 was found!
  • In 1910 a biplane flew under a span of the Eads Bridge (obviously not during flooding).
  • The 1906 demolition of the Farris wheel used in the 1904 World’s Fair, which had been used in 1893 fair in Chicago. Residents at the time considered it an “eyesore.”
  • A steeply-banked wooden motordrome (motorcycle race track) used to exist at Grand and Meramec — that I new. The photograph, however, it not one I’d seem before.
  • I also knew the zoo’s original location was on the east end of  our current Fairgrounds Park (Grand & Natural Bridge), but the photo used is new to me.
  • 3-story outhouse for tenements. Yes, a great photo of a 3-story outhouse structure with walkways to adjacent tenement buildings.
  • St. Louis’ historic Chinatown area, commonly known as Hop Alley, razed in the 1960s for parking for the new baseball stadium.
  • Homer G. Phillips Hospital, for African-Americans, was the result of segregation. It helped train thousands of black doctors and nurses. The photo used isn’t a building exterior shot, but a group of professionals inside working.
  • Four Courts Building, 1870-1917, occupied the block bounded by Clark, 11th, Spruce, 12th (Tucker).

If you’re a St. Louis history buff this book needs to be on your coffee table or bookshelf.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Red-Light Cameras Return To St. Louis?

November 24, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll, Transportation Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Red-Light Cameras Return To St. Louis?
Please vote below

Last week we heard the city is interested in bringing back red-light cameras:

We haven’t seen red-light cameras in St. Louis for a few years, but now the city is considering bringing them back — and the tickets that come with them.

“We’re looking for a tool that can help us save lives,” Director of Operations Todd Waelterman said.

He said police are short-staffed and have too much on their plate, so they’re exploring other options to make the streets safer. (KSDK)

This is the subject of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. More information, my thoughts, and results Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 24 of 2019-2020 Session

November 22, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 24 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 15th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 23.

Today’s agenda includes three (12) new bills.

  • B.B.#171 – Ingrassia – An ordinance prohibiting the City of St. Louis, the offices of the City’s Collector of Revenue, Treasurer, Recorder of Deeds, License Collector, Circuit Attorney, and Sheriff, and the City’s Board of Election Commissioners from asking applicants for employment about their salary history, including wages, benefits, and any other compensation, unless otherwise provided therein; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#172 – J. Boyd – An Ordinance relating to the unlawful possession of a handgun by a minor; to be added to the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis as Chapter 15.130.
  • B.B.#173 – P. Boyd – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for the Goodfellow/West Florissant Scattered Sites Redevelopment Area.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Keep Cut From 28 To 14 Aldermen

November 20, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Keep Cut From 28 To 14 Aldermen
Sausage getting made in the Board of Aldermen’s chambers

Unsurprisingly, the majority of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll prefer to keep the planned cut from 28 to 14 Aldermen.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis voters should vote to keep the Board of Aldermen at 28, rather than be reduced to 14 by 2022.

  • Strongly agree: 1 [2.94%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.94%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [2.94%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [2.94%]
  • Disagree: 5 [14.71%]
  • Strongly disagree:25 [73.53%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

While I agree with the majority, I also think we need safeguards to make sure the establishment doesn’t end up controlling all 14 seats. We need to do something to make sure the members represent all of St. Louis — not just whites, or blacks. St. Louis is more ethnically diverse than just black & white. Do what?

Look at the process for drawing ward boundaries. Will it be fair or will the lines be drawn in such a way as to make it harder for racial minorities to get elected?

Before the 1914 charter was adopted St. Louis had two legislative bodies — a Council and a House of Delegates. The Council had 12 members, plus a president. The House of Delegates had 28.

The 1880 & 1910 census had St. Louis’ population at 350,518 & 687,029, respectively. So population was increasing rapidly, but they cut back on the total number of legislators from 40 to 28.

The freeholders at the time were looking ahead 10-50 years, not more than 100 years. Given our population, reducing to 14 makes sense — as long as we make sure the new 14-member Board of Aldermen looks as diverse as our population.

— Steve Patterson

 

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