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Commentary on MetroLink in West End Word

August 15, 2007 Media, Public Transit 39 Comments

IMG_0974.JPGThis week’s edition of the West End Word includes an editorial from me on the one year anniversary of the MetroLink light rail extension to Shrewsbury. See ‘One Year On, MetroLink Fails to Impress.


Media Literacy Week, Tonight’s Blogging Panel to be Streamed Live

June 27, 2007 Media, Site Info 8 Comments

As part of Media Literacy Education Week here in the St. Louis region, I will be participating in a blogging panel discussing the topic, “Why blog?”

Here is the official announcement:

“Why blog?” Info and advice from top St. Louis-area bloggers and web experts.  If you’ve ever wondered what this whole blogging thing is, now is your chance to ask the experts.  Or, if you’ve already got a blog online, learn from the professionals how to make connections on the web and increase the traffic to your site.  How can you earn an income from blogging?   What is the future of this type of interactive media?

Spellmann Center Leadership Room (4th floor), Lindenwood University, 209 South Kingshighway, St. Charles, MO 63301

Yes, it is way out in St. Charles — I’m carpooling with Dana Loesch to the event.  For those that don’t want to attend in person, you can watch via live streaming on your computer!  In fact, you can even email in questions to the panel during the event!

Click here for the streaming page (and email link for questions).   For more information on the Media Literacy Education Week visit the Gateway Media Literacy Partners.


Planning Commissioners Journal in the St. Louis Region

June 21, 2007 Media, STL Region 2 Comments

The publisher & editor of the Planning Commissioners Journal, Wayne Senville, recently passed through the St. Louis region on his cross country road trip along US Route 50.

Arriving in the St. Louis region from the east coast Wayne’s first stop is suburban O’Fallon IL where they are experiencing rapid growth and conflicting values about development types.  Wayne did three posts on O’Fallon starting here (use the site navigation to see the following posts).
Is This America? looks at some of the dispair in East St. Louis.  I intentionally gave Wayne directions from his O’Fallon hotel through East St. Louis on his way to ‘meet me in St. Louis.’  If anything, I knew St. Louis would look better to his eyes after having driven through East St. Louis.

    In ‘Blog On, St. Louis‘ Wayne talks about our walk/drive around St. Louis.  In the next post Wayne looks at Crown Candy and the 14th Street Mall.
    The final part of Wayne’s stay in our region was in suburban Creve Coeur.  Like so much of the region’s suburban areas, Creve Coeur is seeking a downtown where none currently exists.  In the first of three posts on Creve Coeur Wayne talks about his host, Creve Coeur City Councilperson and eminent domain opponent Laura Bryant.  Next up Wayne discusses a common problem in more affluent suburban areas, the older Ranch vs the McMansion.  Finally Wayne looks at Creve Coeur’s quest for a downtown with links to their planning documents on the subject in Wanted: One Downtown, Custom Built.

    I enjoyed meeting and conversing with Wayne Senville  — and getting a fresh outside perspective on our success and problems.  From the St. Louis region Wayne continued westbound along Route 50 with his next stop in Jefferson City.  Use any of the links above to follow the journey across the US.


    A Funny Look at Real Estate Flipping

    June 15, 2007 Media, Real Estate Comments Off on A Funny Look at Real Estate Flipping

    Yesterday a friend turned me onto a tv show on the web called Flipper Nation, a very humorous look at those who play the real estate flipper game. The show pokes fun at everyone from the future “co-millionares” to the mortgage broker, the general contractor, the landscaper and even the real estate agent.

    One line from the show which has a lot of truth in it, “You know what they say. Today’s illegal immigrants are the house buyers of tomorrow…And there is a lot of them coming in right now.

    This web-based TV show, with three episodes under 10 minutes each, is free. You can even subscribe in iTunes so that new editions will download automatically when available (although the last episode is from January).

    Check it out at www.flippernation.com.


    Planning Commissioners Journal Editor/Publisher in St. Louis

    Wayne Senville, the publisher & editor of the quarterly national publication, the Planning Commissioners Journal, is doing a 6-week road trip across the country along US Route 50 (see prior post). Today Senville was in St. Louis after spending yesterday in O’Fallon IL.

    We spent about five hours today walking and talking about the state of planning, common issues faced by planning commissions and citizen planners. I gave Senville a good tour of St. Louis, focusing mostly on downtown but with lunch at Crown Candy Kitchen. I tried to balance out the good with the bad, and we have plenty of both.


    Early this morning on the way to meet Senville I detoured from my normal Broadway route to take in the riverfront — I hadn’t been down there in like a year. Why go, I’ve seen the arch and I’ve seen the muddy river. I was surprised by the great selection of bikes to rent, including the 4-wheel pedal vehicles.


    I really love some of the remaining warehouse buildings in the north riverfront area.


    I checked out the new Pinnacle Casino under construction. Part of the building complex, straight ahead, seems to have made an attempt at giving a good face to the street — we’ll see how it turns out in the end, it looks like it may have a raised sidewalk about the normal street level. However, I simply cannot be sure at this stage.


    I met Wayne at the Gelateria at Washington and 14th. I had given him directions from his hotel in O’Fallon via East St. Louis and Eads Bridge. His question to me way, “What was that big thing over the street?” That would be the St. Louis Centre bridge over Washington Ave that has yet to come down. We walked down that way to see the taxi cabs still parking on the public sidewalk, saw a number of parking garages (hard to avoid), including the new 9th street garage that DESCO built in place of the National Register listed Century Building — you know the one clad in marble (vent: f’ing bastards). At least some wealthy suburbanites want to give the gift of public art to the city, not more parking garages.

    We, of course, had to take in the Gateway Mall as that is a timely planning discussion. Then it was time for lunch and what better place than Crown Candy?

    After lunch we ran into Jane Smith, an Old North St. Louis resident and local group administrative assistant. Smith shared her thoughts on the neighborhood (a resident since the late 70s) and about the exciting plans to de-mall the mall. In the early 90’s I lived across the street from Jane and her husband Bruce on Sullivan. Bruce and Jane have since bought one of the new homes on North Market street. Jane is one of the organizers of the new Old North Farmer’s Market that started a couple of weeks ago. Jane indicated some of the final funding for the renovation of the buildings on and near the old mall came in last Friday. Funding for the actual streetscape is still in the works.

    Wayne and I walked the 2-block mall and another 2 blocks down to North Market St. where the neighborhood group along with RHCDA have collaborated on renovations of existing buildings as well as new in-fill construction — a good example of how you don’t need to clear-cut an area entirely.


    After Wayne dropped me back off downtown at my scooter I went over to City Grocers to get a few things before returning home. A woman had just parked her 125cc Yamaha Vino so we made that area of 10th Street an unofficial scooter zone.


    And finally workers were installing a new sign for the J. Buck’s restaurant which opens next week. I had a great time meeting and talking with Wayne Senville. His journal does a great job of educating citizens interested in planning issues, such as those who get appointed to planning commissions.

    Click here to see all 112 photos from today.