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Wildlife In Citygarden

Not sure why I’m surprised to see wildlife in the city, but I always am. Citygarden has the large white rabbit sculptures but the other night we saw a little bunny.

Walking through Citygarden the other night my boyfriend spotted a little bunny
Walking through Citygarden the other night my boyfriend spotted a little bunny
Close up of bunny
Cropped image of bunny

What wildlife have you seen in your city yard or city park that surprised you?

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Mixed on How to Reduce Auto Congestion in Forest Park

A few of you have expressed that you feel the weekly poll results here are predictable. Maybe you’re more perceptive than me because I couldn’t have predicted the outcome of the poll last week.

The green Forest Park Trolley loops around in the park and stops just north of the park at the Forest Park MetroLink station
The green Forest Park Trolley loops around in the park and stops just north of the park at the Forest Park MetroLink station

Here are the final results:

Q: How should we address auto congestion in Forest Park? (Pick up to 3)

  1. Run the existing Forest Park Trolley more frequently 44 [21.57%]
  2. Build a trolley/streetcar circulator system within the park 35 [17.16%]
  3. Change nothing, fine as is 32 [15.69%]
  4. Whatever you do don’t allow overhead wires within the park 23 [11.27%]
  5. Ban cars in the park at peak times only 17 [8.33%]
  6. Charge a toll per car to drive into the park anytime 15 [7.35%]
  7. Charge a toll per car to drive into the park at peak times only 11 [5.39%]
  8. Ban cars in the park at all times 10 [4.9%]
  9. Build an elevated monorail circulator in the park 9 [4.41%]
  10. Build an electric bus circulator system within the park 7 [3.43%]
  11. Unsure 1 [0.49%]

I’m not sure how I’d feel about tracks and/or overhead wires in Forest Park, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like a monorail. I included that option as a joke, but 9 voted for it.

Thankfully banning cars all the time got less than 5% of the vote. Comments on the original post showed a variety of viewpoints. I think it is fair to say no consensus was reached, the top three answers above are pretty dissimilar.

The Zoo and the Art Museum are the two biggest generators of autos, besides special events like the Ballon Glow.  The Zoo will be moving most parking across I-64 and using a gondola to get people into an expanded zoo. The Art Museum opens a new wing this coming weekend with a below-grade parking garage:

The design organically links the East Building to the Cass Gilbert. A new grand staircase provides a seamless transition to the lower-level galleries, where a concourse leads to a new café, a gift shop, auditorium and the new 300-space parking garage. (West End Word)

Both of these efforts will help. I think we need a year or two of both changes and evaluate then. In the meantime I’d like to see the Forest Park Trolley become more BRT (bus rapid transit) like with actual stations, longer hours, notification of the next trolley bus, etc. Hybrid buses would be nice to reduce pollution.

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: How Should We Address Auto Congestion In Forest Park

Last week Loop businessman & Loop Trolley backer, Joe Edwards, said he thinks we’ll eventually see cars banned in Forest Park. He’d like to see an electric powered trolley (aka vintage streetcar) on tracks circulating within the park. I know weekend traffic in the park can be so bad the #95 (Hampton) MetroBus reroutes to avoid going through the park. Cars are banned/limited at times — like the annual Ballon Glow.

Parking along park roads or in surface parking lots can be difficult at times
Parking along park roads or in surface parking lots can be difficult at times

Traffic can be obnoxious in Forest Park, ruining the pleasure of being outdoors to some. I recall flying back to St. Louis one night a few years ago and lighting in the parking lots stood out like a sore thumb in an otherwise dark park.

Currently the Forest Park Trolley does a decent job for those of us who enter the park without a car.

The green Forest Park Trolley loops around in the park and stops just north of the park at the Forest Park MetroLink station
The bright Forest Park Trolley loops around in the park and stops just north of the park at the Forest Park MetroLink station. Yes, it is a new low-floor MetroBus with a cartoonish wrap.

Still, the vast majority drive into the park rather than use public transportation. This has prompted the St. Louis Zoo to buy the former hospital site across I-64/Highway 40 for additional parking with plans for a gondola to transport patrons back and forth. By eliminating some, or all, of the surface parking between the zoo and the highway the zoo can expand to the south with more exhibits.

So what are some of the options for dealing with congestion?

  • Bans cars at peak times or all the time
  • Construction of a electric trolley on a track, as Edwards suggested
  • Construction of an electric bus system with overhead wires like the trolley but no track
  • Run the existing trolley bus more frequently

Some will object to overhead wires and/or tracks, but others object to all the cars.

So this is the poll topic this week, the exact question is: How should we address auto congestion in Forest Park? I’m allowing you to pick up to 3 choices from the list. The poll is in the right sidebar.

Please take a moment to vote in the poll then share your thoughts in the comments below.
— Steve Patterson

 

Picking Up Trash A Good Way To Volunteer

Returning to our loft from a visit to Union Station last week, my boyfriend and I decided to check out the Meeting of the Waters fountain by Carl Milles in Aloe Plaza.

The beauty of Carl Milles' work with Union Station in the background
The beauty of Carl Milles’ work with Union Station in the background

Timidly DFS asked me if I minded if he picked up some trash while we were there. Mind? Of course not! Knock yourself out…

For the next 90 minutes we covered the two blocks of Aloe Plaza until it was clean
For the next 90 minutes we covered the two blocks of Aloe Plaza until it was clean
We quickly realized most of the trash cans were already overflowing with trash
We quickly realized many of the trash cans were already overflowing with trash
DFS collected quite a bit of trash, thankfully we found  a nearby trash can that had room
DFS collected quite a bit of trash, thankfully we found a nearby trash can that had room

A few times since he’s gone back to Aloe Plaza, and parts of the Gateway Mall to the east, to pick up more trash. He’s been looking for the right volunteer opportunity and helping clean the Gateway Mall seems to be a perfect fit.

Aloe Plaza isn't always this clean, but it looked nice when we left
Aloe Plaza isn’t always this clean, but it looked nice when we left

Picking up trash allows him to volunteer on his schedule and doesn’t require coordination with others. DFS hasn’t even lived in St. Louis for four months but already he’s making a small impact. DFS is the perfect boyfriend for me!

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Say Botanical Garden & Zoo Are Favorite ZMD Institutions

Last week readers selected their favorite two institutions in the Zoo-Museum District (original post) .

Missouri Botanical Garden, June 2011
Missouri Botanical Garden, June 2011
St. Louis Zoo
St. Louis Zoo

Here are the results:

Q: Which TWO (2) institutions in the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District are your favorites?

  1. Missouri Botanical Garden 98 [31.61%]
  2. Saint Louis Zoological Park 94 [30.32%]
  3. Saint Louis Art Museum 77 [24.84%]
  4. Missouri History Museum 22 [7.1%]
  5. Saint Louis Science Center 18 [5.81%]
  6. Unsure/No Answer 1 [0.32%]

The botanical gardens are my favorite, but I’ve spent a lot of time at events at the history museum. I haven’t been to the zoo in 20 years, but I’ll go again this year.

– Steve Patterson

 

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