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Downtown Partnership’s Jim Cloar Takes Action to Keep Parking off Washington Avenue

Nearly two weeks ago the Mayor’s blog reported that a new central business district traffic study was being performed. The announcement came two days after I posted that we needed parking on Washington Avenue East of Tucker.

Today Downtown St. Louis Partnership President Jim Cloar included the following in his weekly notes to members:

Curb-side parking is prohibited along Washington Avenue east of Tucker. Some “entrepreneurial” motorists realized that “No Parking” signs had not been installed and have been camping out all day, playing havoc with buses, delivery trucks and traffic in general. That has been corrected and tickets will be issued going forward.

The stupidity of his statement is so infuriating. Where does one begin?
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Big Boxes Closing Left and Right

June 20, 2005 Local Business 4 Comments

Seems that the prime location of Brentwood & 40 (aka I-64 to non St. Louisans) didn’t help a couple of big boxes stay around. For weeks we’ve seen the “store closing” signs at the Ultimate Electronics store on Eager. Now I get word that Organized Living on Brentwood is closing. The stories are very similar.

Ultimate Electronics is in bankruptcy and is selling off stores to pay debt. The new buyers in the St. Louis area have decided to close at least the Eager location — I’m not sure about the others. Click here for more details from the St .Louis Business Journal.

Organized Living at one time had several stores in the St. Louis area including Union Station. In 2004 they hired a new CEO but she was “laid off” last month along with other employees as OL also enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy. One of the first tasks the new CEO did was to move OL’s headquarters from Kansas City to central Ohio. They were trying to go national and had 25 stores. For more background click here.

Big boxes also have big debt. Don’t think these out of town chain stores are going to help our local economies by providing sales taxes and jobs. They take what they can out of our economy until they go bust. They couldn’t care less about St. Louis.

– Steve


A & M Bicycles Launches Website/Blog

May 21, 2005 Local Business 1 Comment

One of the oldest bike shops in the St. Louis area, A & M Bicycles, has launched their first website at www.ambicycles.com. Part website and part blog, the site is just getting started.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have no financial interest in A & M Bicycles nor am I being compensated for talking about the shop here. i just like going there. Owner Karl Becker is a wealth of information on bicycling and life. I know I’ll get a straight answer from Karl. I was the driving force behind getting his new website started. How is that for being a dedicated customer?

I’ve bought two new bikes at A & M — a Raleigh mountain bike about six years ago and a custom Surly road bike last Fall. Before having the new Surly I bought a used Trek 720 from Karl that got me through several years at very low cost. I’ve also had Karl assemble a bike I ordered online (the orange Kronan regular readers have seen numerous times). Right now Karl is building a commuter bike for me based on a used Cannondale hybrid.

If you are interested in biking in St. Louis check out A & M Bicycles — on the web and in person.

– Steve


Let Us Turn Our Thoughts Today to Martin Luther King

The following is one of my favorite works about Dr. King:

Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

If you are a fan of singer/songwriter James Taylor you know those words from his song “Shed a Little Light (iTunes link).” His words echo what I think King symbolizes – “hope and love”, “sister and brotherhood”, “all men and women.”

A very relevant part of his song is “We are bound together/by the task that stands before us/and the road that lies ahead.” The road that lies ahead is Martin Luther King Blvd which runs from downtown to the city limits. The task is returning this street to an important part of the community – a street worthy of its name. We are all bound to this task because we cannot rebuild our city by continuing to ignore the north side.
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The definition of a community center

November 17, 2004 Local Business Comments Off on The definition of a community center
Before the rise of sprawl community centers weren’t needed because the street served that function – neighbors seeing each other as the walked from home to work to store. As we began to drive more and more the idea of a community center to create some false connection between neighbors began to sprout. Most fail as they are artificial.


But we are seeing a new kind of community center, the corner coffeehouse. Starbucks isn’t new but they are also not the sit and lounge type places. Groups don’t hold meetings there. No, it is the local corner coffeehouse that is taking over duties in bringing communities together. Besides doing social duty to bring neighbors together they pay for themselves by selling coffee, bagels, sandwiches and smoothies.

As I type this post (and the previous) I am sitting at Hartford Coffee at the corner of Hartford and Roger in St. Louis’ Tower Grove South neighborhood. Fellow REALTOR® Fred Hessel is sitting at the next table working and a friend just stopped in to get a danish & coffee. Other folks I recognize but don’t know have come and gone. We nod to acknowledge each other.

(Exterior of Hartford Coffee)

The future of neighborhoods are not huge sports stadiums downtown, parking garages in lieu of historic buildings or big box retailers. The future is the local coffee shop within a 15 minute walk of your house.