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St. Louis Rapid Transit Connector Study: First Round of Open House Meetings Scheduled March 28, April 2, and April 5

The following is a press release:

—-

Bi-State Development Agency (Metro) announced the first round of public open houses focusing on a new St. Louis Rapid Transit Connector Study scheduled for March 28, April 2 and April 5. The study is another step toward fulfilling Metro’s long-term goal of offering efficient, competitive and attractive transit services to more residents and more places in the St. Louis region.

The study, led by the Bi-State Development Agency (Metro) and the Transportation Corridor Improvement Group, will identify two transit investment projects to move forward in pursuit of federal funding. It is anticipated at least one project will be implemented as a result of this effort.

The St. Louis Rapid Transit Connector Study is a direct result of Moving Transit Forward, the long-range transit plan that highlighted the potential of using the region’s existing network of highways and major streets to provide higher-speed, limited-stop transit services. The general transportation corridors identified by the public as significant opportunities for high-performance transit are Interstates 70, 44, 64, and 55, major streets near those highways, and Grand Boulevard in St. Louis.

“By improving the connections between people and jobs, education, and other opportunities, we can maximize the potential not only of our transportation network, but of our residents and businesses as well,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, Metro Chief of Planning and System Development.

The study takes a data-driven approach to identify and evaluate potential projects. Final recommendations will be shaped by several objectives, including improved access to transportation that supports economic growth; expansion of access to opportunities; enhanced employer access to a broader and more diverse labor pool; reduction of traffic congestion and air pollution; and financial feasibility.

The partners leading the St. Louis Rapid Transit Connector Study will answer questions and encourage discussion at the three upcoming public meetings. The meetings will be conducted in open-house style, with the attendees invited to participate in interactive activities designed to gather community input on project goals and transit performance criteria. Residents will also learn about the range of possible options for expanding cost-effective rapid transit service in St. Louis.

The same information will be presented at each of the public open houses.

· Thursday, March 28 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. A formal presentation will be made at 5:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. Located at the JC Penney Conference Center at the UMSL Campus. The meeting will be in the 1st Floor Lobby of the building located at 1 University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63121.

· Tuesday, April 2 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. A formal presentation will be made at 5:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. Located at the World Trade Center on the 10th Floor. The building is located at 121 S. Meramec Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105.

· Friday, April 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A formal presentation will be made at noon. Located at St. Louis City Hall on the 2nd Floor Hall and in the Kennedy Room. City Hall is located at 1200 Market Street St. Louis, MO 63103.

More information and futures updates on the St. Louis Rapid Connector Study can be found at www.movingtransitforward.org/stlrapidtransit.

About the Transportation Corridor Improvement Group

The St. Louis Rapid Transit Connector Study is being conducted by the Bi-State Development Agency (Metro) in partnership with the Transportation Corridor Improvement Group, a partnership between East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGCOG), St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis, and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

 

Enough With The IKEA Rumors

Having worked in real estate I learned not to spend the sales commission until after the deal was closed. Blogging is similar.

ABOVE: Ikea in Bolingbrook, IL
ABOVE: Ikea in Bolingbrook, IL was built in 2006 on a 23 acre site

On Sunday nextSTL.com got many St. Louis IKEA fans excited:

Several WhoLou sources are alleging that highly-coveted Swedish-based furniture chain Ikea intends to develop their first St. Louis store close to the campus of St. Louis University. The 300,000 sq. ft. store will allegedly be built near the Laclede Gas and Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center complexes on Forest Park Ave. between Sarah Street and Vandeventer Ave.

While IKEA does have some inner-city locations, most are in suburban sprawl. IKEA contributes to sprawl.

The next day the Post-Dispatch had a story saying the rumor was untrue:

Responding to the nextstl.com post, [Ikea spokesman] Roth said Monday: “We still have not committed to a time frame, let alone a specific site.” The chain has not listed St. Louis among the cities where it plans to open a store. “Nothing has changed,” Roth said. “We continue to evaluate opportunities in the market,” he said. (stltoday.com)

Online many were excited when they saw the original rumor, repeated on KMOV, Fox2, KPLR, but disappointed when IKEA officials said no deal to build a St. Louis store.

I have no doubt that local commercial real estate brokers are talking to every big retail chain to try to lure them to various sites. These retailers might even show some initial interest in one site or another. But until something is signed I feel it’s too premature to report.

— Steve Patterson

 

On KDHX 88.1FM Tonight

December 31, 2012 Featured, Media 2 Comments
ABOVE: A studio at KDHX
ABOVE: A studio at KDHX

I’ll be talking 2012  tonight at 8:30pm (CST) with Collateral Damage host DJ Wilson on KDHX 88.1 FM.  Not in St. Louis, listen online here.

As you celebrate tonight please be safe and be considerate of others.  Thank you for reading in 2012 and I hope you’ll stick around in 2013.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Unwilling To Subscribe To Expected stltoday.com Paywall

August 15, 2012 Featured, Media 8 Comments

In the poll last week more than half the readers indicated they wouldn’t subscribe to

Q: Will You Subscribe If stltoday.com (Post-Dispatch) Creates A Pay Wall?

  1. No 107 [60.11%]
  2. Yes, I’d pay up to $25/year for online access 18 [10.11%]
  3. Yes, I’d pay up to $50/year for online access 15 [8.43%]
  4. Yes, I’d pay up to $10/year for online access 14 [7.87%]
  5. I subscribe to the physical paper. 14 [7.87%]
  6. Yes, I’d pay more than $75/year for online access 4 [2.25%]
  7. Yes, I’d pay up to $75/year for online access 3 [1.69%]
  8. Unsure/No Opinion 3 [1.69%]

But some are willing to pay. After the poll closed I began looking at other Lee Enterprises newspapers to see what kind of subscription plans they offered their readers.

The Arizona Daily Star offers a plan that comes out to $48/year, but this sounds like a way to view the printed paper online. I clicked through a number of articles on azstarnet.com and didn’t get hit will a wall notice.

The Missoulian in Montana is different, it does have a paywall. As noted below in their Digital Subscription FAQ,  you can view 15 articles for free in each 30 day period. So non-subscribders aren’t totally shut out:

What is a digital subscription? What do I get when I subscribe?

To get unlimited access to missoulian.com, you’ll need an online subscription. When you subscribe, you’ll get unlimited access to articles, breaking news, photo galleries, blog posts, reader comments, Missoulian archived articles and more. All visitors are able to view 15 pages FREE during any 30-day period (not calendar). Exceeding that amount will result in the need for a digital subscription to continue enjoying missoulian.com’s suite of articles and tools. For more information on the recent changes to missoulian.com, please read the letter from our editor and publisher.

If I have multiple computers at my residence or place of work, do I need to purchase multiple digital subscriptions?

No. You will be provided a username and password to access missoulian.com at your residence, at work, on the go, at a library, wherever. It is this ease of access that allows our customers to obtain news and information instantly, anywhere by logging in with your username and password.

If I already subscribe to the print version of the Missoulian, do I receive a discount to my digital subscription?

Yes. Customers who already subscribe to the Missoulian print edition will receive a hefty discount to their online subscription. Enmeshing the functionality of missoulian.com’s online tools with the print version’s tactile appeal creates a news and information one-two punch unmatched by any other local news medium. For more specific pricing information, click here.

Is my digital subscription exclusive to missoulian.com, or does it include online access to other Lee newspapers?

The subscription package does NOT include access to the other Lee news websites in Montana and Wyoming.

What about viewing missoulian.com articles on my mobile phone? Do I need a digital subscription for that?

No. Mobile-optimized versions of our website and mobile apps do not limit the number of articles you can view. Click here for more information regarding our suite of mobile offerings.

Each time I clicked the link to view the rates I got a “403 Forbidden” error message, not a good way to sell digital subscriptions. So I looked at the Billings Gazette. Very similar to the Missoulian, but only 10 pages are free in any 30 day period before having to pay. I tried the rate button in two different browsers and got nothing.

I actually want to pay the Post-Dispatch something every year because I do get value from the news they provide. Many are cynical but I think we’d be much worse off if the daily “paper” didn’t exist.

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Will You Subscribe If stltoday.com (Post-Dispatch) Puts Up A Pay Wall?

Last month our daily paper laid off another round of journalists, editors, photographers and others:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch laid off nearly two dozen employees, 14 of them from the paper’s newsroom, NewsChannel 5 Sharon Stevens has learned.

Speaking to Post-Dispatch employees Friday afternoon, Stevens learned the newsroom employee layoffs included: 3 reporters, 1 photographer, 1 cartoonist, 2 copy editors, 4 photo editors, 1 deputy managing editor, 1 news editor and 1 food editor. The remaining cuts were made in other departments. (KSDK)

This is really a shame too, especially for my friends who’ve lost jobs.

ABOVE: Entrance to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at 900 N. Tucker

Some might say it’s just the changing media environment while other blame the debt carried by parent Lee Enterprises:

DAVENPORT, Iowa (July 17, 2012) — Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (NYSE: LEE) reported today for its third fiscal quarter ended June 24, 2012, a loss of 3 cents per diluted common share, compared with a loss of $3.46 a year ago. Excluding reorganization costs in 2012, non-cash impairment charges and a non-cash curtailment gain in 2011, and debt financing costs and other unusual matters in both years, adjusted earnings per diluted common share(1) totaled 2 cents, compared with 21 cents a year ago. The majority of the decline is attributable to higher interest cost in 2012. (Reuters)

Lee Enterprises purchased the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2005:

Lee Enterprises is currently the fourth largest newspaper group in the United States of America. The company acquired Howard Publications (16 daily newspapers) for $694 million in 2002 and Pulitzer, Inc. (14 daily, over 100 non-daily), for $1.5 billion in 2005. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011. It emerged from bankruptcy less than two months later. (Wikipedia)

CEO Mary Junck was rewarded handsomely so far this year:

Lee Enterprises disclosed yesterday [July 25, 2012] that CEO Mary Junck acquired 500,000 shares of company stock. That stock was worth $1.31 per share at the close of business on the date the paperwork was filed, but Junck paid nothing for it.

Junck received the stock as a “Grant by the Issuer’s independent Executive Compensation Committee (ECC) of non-incentive restricted shares of common stock pursuant to Issuer’s 1990 Long Term Incentive Plan,” according to the footnote on the company’s paperwork.

This marks the second time this year that Junck has received a bonus from the company. She was gifted $500,000 in March for leading the company into and out of bankruptcy. Yesterday’s bonus totals out to a cash value of $655,000, which is a pretty good take for a Wednesday. (Riverfront Times)

Currently the only way to subscribe to the Post-Dispatch is by receiving a delivered paper, but that may change:

We introduced digital subscriptions in 11 more markets during the quarter, for a total of 17 so far, and expect nearly all of Lee’s 52 markets to follow by the end of the calendar year. (Lee Enterprises)

It’s still unknown if some form of a digital subscription will be added to the Post-Dispatch website, stltoday.com. The poll question this week asks you to assume the Post-Dispatch puts up a pay wall, will you subscribe? If yes, how much are you willing to pay? The poll is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson

 

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