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Yellow Curb Isn’t Visible Enough To Keep Motorists From Parking In Bus Stops

One of my pet peeves is blocked bus stops, people thinking they’re entitled to park in them. To be fair, many drivers who do so may just be oblivious to the fact that buses need to pull up next to the curb so some of us can board/deboard. The response of some is “call the police” or “tow them away.”  Yes, enforcement is part of the solution — but the St. Louis Police really have more important things to do. I don’t think Metro’s Police have jurisdiction on city streets.

Besides, the police can be just as guilty.

Last year A St. Louis traffic police officer parked in front of a fire hydrant and blocked the adjacent bus stop. Market at 16th.
Last year A St. Louis traffic police officer parked in front of a fire hydrant and blocked the adjacent bus stop. Market at 16th.

When you’re on the bus and need to get off at a blocked stop you can’t expect it to wait a couple of hours for a tow truck to remove the offending car, or when you need to get on the bus you don’t have time for enforcement to work. Ticketing the car still doesn’t get you on the bus.

What’s needed at some bus stops is highly visible markings so the oblivious drivers see they shouldn’t park there. Those who don’t care will potentially be more embarrassed parking in a visible bus stop than at a yellow curb. It doesn’t need to be complicated, just out of the ordinary.

Paint is cheap, by painting the pavement in addition to the curb they've made it clear this isn't for parking. Location: in front of St. Louis Police Headquarters on  Olive.
Paint is cheap, by painting the pavement in addition to the curb they’ve made it clear this isn’t for parking. Location: in front of St. Louis Police Headquarters on Olive.

I’ve said all this before, so why bring it up again? Last Tuesday morning my husband and I visited the St. Louis Zoo, we were there for four hours — great time.  I returned downtown the way I arrived, via public transit in my wheelchair. My husband drove our car, going directly to work. Leaving the Zoo’s North entrance I saw a problem as soon as I started across the street to the bus stop.

The last three vehicles are parked in the bus stop I need to get home
The last three vehicles are parked in the bus stop I need to get home
I'm now at the spot where the bus should extend the ramp to pick me up.
I’m now at the spot where the bus should extend the ramp to pick me up.

I went down to the corner to wave at the bus as it approached. It turned the corner and stopped in the street since it couldn’t get to the curb. All traffic was now stopped. I rolled in the street to reach the bus. After I paid the fare the ramp was folded back into the bus — the #3 Forest Park Trolley. I was inconvenienced, the other passengers were inconvenienced, other motorists were inconvenienced, the bus was delayed so more people were inconvenienced.

My goal is compliance, to ensure people don’t park in the bus stop. Sure, increased enforcement of tickets, booting, & towing might also keep it clear. But at what cost? First the person(s) that would be assigned to increased enforcement wouldn’t be able to serve the public elsewhere in the city or park.  Ticketing, booting,  & towing also isn’t free — and it just server to anger motorists. Yes, they parked at a yellow curb. I suspect many didn’t notice, or didn’t see any harm.

If there is paint on the pavement though, the oblivious excuse goes out the window. Adding the words “NO PARKING”, “BUS STOP, and/or “TOW AWAY ZONE” would convey the message to the driver that parking here isn’t a good idea.

The stop above is served by the #90 (Hampton) and #3 (Forest Park Trolley)

The Metro #3 Forest Park Trolley is a partnership between Forest Park Forever, Bi-State Development Agency/Metro, Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Zoo, and the City of St. Louis. (Forest Park Forever)

This trolley bus operates May through September, largely to mitigate the summer problem of traffic congestion within the park.

2012: People board the Forest Park Trolley to visit the park
2012: People board the Forest Park Trolley to visit the park

I’d like to see these seven partners take action so the bus can reliably be used by everyone. On Twitter I offered to ride the trolley with them so they can see which stops are problematic. I suggested the stops be painted solid so they’re not only visible to motorists but to visitors. The stops could become part of the marketing effort.

I emailed Forest Park Forever President & Executive Director Lesley Hoffarth, who replied, and said they’re working on new striping for the park now, this issue will be taken into consideration. I’m not optimistic it’ll be solved. The new striping work should be done before Fall, I’ll keep trying to influence the work before it’s done.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Remove/Change The Confederate Memorial

First, let me apologize for the lack of posts Monday & Tuesday, our new fiber optic internet in our building went out last Saturday night. Our building’s IT provider didn’t get it fixed until after 4pm yesterday.

Sunday the poll software didn’t automatically close the poll at 8pm like I had set it to do. As a result, the poll stayed open until I noticed it Monday morning — closing it via my smartphone. That said, the percentages are roughly the same as they were at 8pm the night before:

Q: What should St. Louis do about the confederate memorial & street name in Forest Park?

  1. Change the street name & remove the memorial from Forest Park 20 [28.17%]
  2. TIE: 14 [19.72%]
    1. Do nothing
    2. Change the street name & supplement the memorial with additional information
  3. Change the street name, leave the memorial in Forest Park 11 [15.49%]
  4. Leave the street name, supplement the memorial with additional information 10 [14.08%]
  5. TIE: 1 [1.41%]
    1. Unsure/no answer
    2. Other: Change the street name and move the memorial History Museum grounds 
  6. Leave the street name, remove the memorial from Forest Park 0 [0%]

The “do nothing” vote was less than 20%, conversely those who wanted change of some type was more than 78%. This is a great opportunity for a public process to brainstorm possible solutions that’ll help us reach a consensus. Last week I visited the confederate memorial to check it out, I’ve lived here almost 25 years and didn’t know about it until recently.

I also asked landscape architect Eären Hummel for her thoughts, which were:

  • I think there should be a dialog, rather than a reactionary move. Further, I don’t think the monument should have been placed there to begin with.
  • City parks are meant to be places for all people to have a respite away from their busy lives, I think a park is no place for a confederate memorial, especially without the balance of a union memorial. That may sound “politically correct”. A civil rights garden could be created of the area, if the process is inclusive of all the players that civil rights – or lack there of – has affected. Whatever is done, I think it is important that it is not just a bandage, but true dialog.
  • As far as I can tell, there is no monument to the Union soldiers in St. Louis, nor a Civil Rights monument/memorial other than the “Naked Truth” sculpture at the Compton water tower. And that is really a monument to 3 German men, and not really for the cause of civil rights. Meaning there is not civil rights memorial significant to African-Americans.
  • The lack of other memorials in St. Louis, I think speaks volumes about the attitudes of the people of StL. Reinforcing the notion of white supremacy, everyday racism… It is the ongoing issues that were raised in Ferguson last summer, but have since fallen silent. Personally, I think focusing on removing flags or memorials skirts around the true issues and are only platitudes to quiet the cries of racism.
  • One thing that greatly bothers me about the monument, is the statement on it about the “battle to preserve the independence of the states…” The war was fought over slavery, as very clearly stated in the southern states on declarations. It was treason. The statement on the monument is revisionist history of the “lost cause”. That I find offensive and reprehensible. For that alone, I wish the monument was not there as it perpetuates erroneous “history”.
  • I would leave the language as is, but definitely have a panel next to it explaining that it is wrong, and why many people wanted to rewrite the history of the war.
  • It is a beautifully crafted monument by a notable sculptor.
  • I believe a civil rights garden could be sensitively incorporated into the park. There have been numerous additions to the park over the years.

I agree the memorial represents revisionist history and shouldn’t have been built. Let’s take a look…

The confederate memorial was dedicated in 1914, rededicated in 1964. Click image for more information
The 32 foot high confederate memorial was dedicated in 1914, rededicated in 1964. Click image for more information
The sculpture is by George Julian Zolnay,
The sculpture is by George Julian Zolnay, Click image to read about him on Wikipedia
The words on the south face
The words on the south face
I could't read the revisionist  text on the north face
I could’t read the revisionist text on the north face
Confederate Dr is in poor condition
Confederate Dr is in poor condition, the memorial is on the right

Renaming, or even removing, Confederate Dr is a given — relatively easy. The memorial is a much more complicated issue. The words are offensive, but it is a good reminder of St. Louis’ race problem. I think we should discuss the creation of a civil rights garden that would educate visitors on events from our history, for example:

There are many more that could be included in a civil rights garden, these could all be told.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Sunday Poll: What Should St. Louis Do About The Confederate Memorial & Street In Forest Park?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Since nine people were shot & killed at a historically black church in Charleston S.C., the confederate flag has thankfully become politically toxic:

In South Carolina, the governor called for the Confederate flag to stop flying over the capitol. The governors of Virginia and North Carolina quickly declared that they would remove the flag from state license plates. Meanwhile, several of the country’s top retailers — from Walmart to eBay and Amazon — announced in quick succession that they would stop selling Confederate flag merchandise.

Not for the first time this year, the concerns of political leaders and business elites converged on a single issue — and swiftly forced dramatic change. (CNN: Why business fought the Confederate flag)

The confederate battle flag should’ve been banished decades ago, but what about other confederate symbols & memorials? Namely the confederate memorial in Forest Park…located on Confederate Drive:

Historians say don’t let the old artillery mislead you. Forest Park was never a civil war battle field. The only reason there a confederate statue here is because it is where the donor wanted it built back in 1914. But now, some want it gone.

For 100 years the statue has stood just east of the Missouri History museum and some would say on the southern side of the state’s Civil War history – a monument to Confederate “soldiers and sailors” built fifty years after the war. (KSDK: Confederate memorial debate in Forest Park)

Today’s poll question asks: “What should St. Louis do about the confederate memorial & street name in Forest Park?”

The poll, open until 8pm tonight, is at the top of the right sidebar. Mobile users will need to switch to the desktop view to vote.

— Steve Patterson

 

Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park Dedicated 10 Years Ago Today

June 18, 2015 Featured, Metro East, Parks Comments Off on Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park Dedicated 10 Years Ago Today

Today is the 10th anniversary of one of my favorite parks in the region:

On June 7th, 2005, Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis transferred title of the Gateway Geyser and the 34.1 acres of grounds, known as the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, to Metro East Park and Recreation District (MEPRD). The Gateway Center had worked tirelessly for 40 years to protect the property from commercial development and with the transfer, was entrusting MEPRD with the task of bringing to life the dream of their founder and benefactor, Malcolm W. Martin, to transform the property into a true memorial park complementing the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and Gateway Arch directly across the Mississippi River. On June 18th, 2005, the park was officially dedicated as the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, in honor of the man whose passion, dedication and generosity made the project possible. (Metro East Parks & Recreation District)

The Gateway Geyser began operating a decade earlier, on May 27, 1995.

One of my best photos at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park was taken at 12:51pm on December 10, 2010. The overlook, left, gives you great views across the Mississippi River.
One of my best photos at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park was taken at 12:51pm on December 10, 2010. The overlook, left, gives you great views across the Mississippi River.
Malcolm W. Martin at the top of the overlook.
Malcolm W. Martin at the top of the overlook.
esl gateway geyser
esl gateway geyser
Hundreds gathered at Malcolm Martin Memorial Park in East St. Louis IL to watch the St. Louis fireworks on July 4th, 2011
Hundreds gathered at Malcolm Martin Memorial Park in East St. Louis IL to watch the St. Louis fireworks on July 4th, 2011
I introduced David to this park while we were engaged, We held our wedding here on Sunday June 8th 2014, officiated by our friend Chris Reimer.
I introduced David to this park while we were engaged, We held our wedding here on Sunday June 8th 2014, officiated by our friend Chris Reimer.

If you’ve never experienced this park I highly recommend a visit. Driving there isn’t the easiest, but there is parking once you arrive. The better way from downtown St. Louis wold be to walk or bike across the Eads Bridge. From Missouri or Illinois take MetroLink to the East Riverfront station then go south of the grain elevator.

If you can, try to catch the geyser:

April 15th through October 15th
Daily eruptions (each 10-minutes) at noon, 3PM, and 6PM
Each eruption is dependent on current wind and weather conditions.

Less than 5 years until the 25th anniversary of the geyser!

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Opposed To Open/Concealed Carry In Public — Including At The STL Zoo

St. Louis Zoo
St. Louis Zoo

Not only are readers not having guns at the St. Louis Zoo, they really don’t like guns, concealed or openly carried, in public. Period.

Because the Zoo obtained a temporary restraining order, Jeffrey Smith, of Ohio, held his protest outside the Zoo.

He says that since the zoo is taxpayer funded he should have the right to carry his firearm on zoo property. But, the zoo says its ban is within Missouri law because it qualifies as a child care facility and educational institution. The zoo has a child care facility on site and hosts educational camps and field trips throughout the year.

Saturday, the group ‘Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’ showed up to support the zoo’s firearm ban.

“This is no place for firearms. There are other places where I can understand they would be necessary. But in the zoo, for such a family friendly part of our community, it’s just really not necessary,” said Becky Morgan of Moms Demand Action. (KSDK)

Here are the results from the Sunday Poll:

Q: Yesterday a Ohio man wanted to enter the St. Louis Zoo openly carrying his gun, thoughts?

  1. I’m opposed to open carry & concealed carry in public — including at the STL Zoo 27 [55.1%]
  2. I’m opposed to open carry, but support concealed carry — but not at the STL Zoo 9 [18.37%]
  3. I’m opposed to open carry, but support concealed carry — including at the STL Zoo 5 [10.2%]
  4. I support concealed & open carry — including at the STL Zoo 3 [6.12%]
  5. Other: 2 [4.08%]
    1. I’m opposed to the ownership of guns at all by loony right-wing fascists
    2. what is everyone so scared of?
  6. TIE 1 [2.04%]
    1. I’m opposed to concealed carry, but support open carry — but not at the STL Zoo
    2. I support concealed & open carry — but not at the STL Zoo
    3. Unsure/ no answer
  7. I’m opposed to concealed carry, but support open carry — including at the STL Zoo 0 [0%]

More than half those who support concealed &/or open carry do not support it at the zoo.

Not sure about the 2nd “other” Who is that reader thinking is scared? Could apply to those who think they need to carry a gun into a zoo patronized largely by families or could apply to those of us who fear the possibility of the presence of a gun(s) presenting a very real danger. The latter is very real considering the event on the day of the poll: Five injured after gun fires accidentally during wedding at Waldorf Astoria.

I suspect we’ve not heard the last of this.

— Steve Patterson

 

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