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Why I Use Washington Avenue Rather Than A More Direct Route

April 20, 2013 Accessibility, Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Walkability Comments Off on Why I Use Washington Avenue Rather Than A More Direct Route

When I leave my loft at 16th & Locust to go east into our downtown central business district I often go north to Washington Ave to head eastbound even if I plan to end up on Locust, Olive, Pine, etc. Why go out of my way rather than a more direct path? Why not just stay on Locust or go down to Olive? Here’s why…

ABOVE: The city cites "health and safety reasons" for closing the sidewalks.
Besides accessibility problems, the city has closed Locust sidewalks between 14th-15th.
Olive has many accessibility issues as well, like this one between 11th & Tucker.
This photo was taken two years ago today at 6:19pm on April 20, 2011

I’ve reported the above problem but like so many others downtown it remains an obstacle.  There are blocks I avoid completely because of a lack of a curb ramp (such as SE corner of 11th & St. Charles, SE corner of 9th & St. Charles).

I’m surprised these have remained for so long.

— Steve Patterson


Dumpsters Block Pine Street Sidewalk At The Park Pacific

I’ve not had much reason to walk along the south side of the Park Pacific building but that changed on Monday when three new eateries opened for business: Smoothie King, Alumni St. Louis, & Flying Cow Frozen Yogurt.

Flying Cow Frozen Yogurt in the NW corner of the Park Pacific at 13th & Olive
Flying Cow Frozen Yogurt in the NW corner of the Park Pacific at 13th & Olive
Alumni St. Louis restaurant facing 13th Street
Alumni St. Louis restaurant facing 13th Street
Smoothie King is located on Pine St in the garage attached to the Park Pacific
Smoothie King is located on Pine St in the first floor of the parking garage attached to the Park Pacific

Very handy having these three so close to my loft! Unfortunately a problem exists reaching all three. You see, the roll out dumpsters for Park Pacific are frequently left out blocking the sidewalk along Pine. Depending upon where they are it’s ether a pain in the butt, or impossible, to pass by in a wheelchair. The able-bodied are forced into the street as well.

Looking west toward 13th
Looking west toward 13th
Looking east toward Tucker
Looking east toward Tucker

The dumpsters have a designated space between the Park Pacific and adjacent parking garage, yet someone is just leaving the out where the block the sidewalk. Hopefully this won’t continue!

— Steve Patterson



Don’t Drive Your Scooter On The Sidewalk Like The McDonalds GoodMorningSTL Commercial

If you watch local television no doubt you’ve seen a McDonald’s “Good Morning St. Louis” commercial filmed in the Delmar Loop, from a January RFT Gut Check report:

Gut Check spotted a film crew and a guy on a moped wearing a McDonald’s jacket in front of Chuck Berry Plaza this morning, and we just hoofed it down the block from Gut Check International Headquarters to confirm that McDonald’s is indeed shooting a TV commercial at the University City, um, landmark.

At 9 a.m., a crew set up a limited McDonald’s breakfast menu and a call box like the kind used to place orders in drive-throughs. When inquisitive pedestrians walk by and decide to try to order from the seemingly random speaker, much to their surprise (or maybe not, given that there are camera crews all over), a guy rides up on the aforementioned moped to deliver fresh, hot McDonald’s food to the person who placed the order. (RFT)

Each time I see the commercial I keep thinking it’s getting people okay with the idea of driving a motor scooter on the public sidewalk — a very bad idea. Illegal too.

Screenshot from McDonald's commercial showing a scooter delivering food on the sidewalk. Click image to view commercial in YouTube.
Screenshot from McDonald’s commercial showing a scooter delivering food on the sidewalk. Click image to view commercial in YouTube.

Hopefully McDonald’s obtained permits to close the sidewalk during filming but I’m disappointed it shows an illegal act.

On the positive side I do like they’re doing locally-focused commercials.

— Steve Patterson


Sidewalks Are For People, Not Vehicles

Few things are as frustrating to me as people who feel entitled to park their vehicles on public sidewalks. They must think they’re so much more important than everyone else that may use the sidewalk.

I thought I was photographing a pedestrian forced to walk in the street but it was the owner returning to his car.

He was upset with me for photographing his car parked on the sidewalk! I’m just so insensitive toward others I guess. I posted the pic to Twitter & Facebook and feedback was positive, except one…

A conservative gay man, Yippee Skippee on Facebook, posted the only comment not upset with the driver. Yippee Skippee has posted before, click image for post.

So it’s liberal to hold people personally responsible for their actions? I suppose I could’ve called the police but they’ve got bigger issues to worry about. Besides, I’m not sure they’d understand the problem.

The day before…

Police vehicle
A police vehicle parked on the 9th Street sidewalk between Olive & Pine, in front of a substation.
The opposite view

True, I was still able to continue, but it shows disrespect for pedestrians. As I took this picture an officer came out of the substation and asked “You like that?” as he passed by on the way to his personal vehicle. I replied, “Not on the sidewalk, I don’t.” He laughed.

Pedestrians get so little of the public right-of-way as it is, but even that is taken away daily.

— Steve Patterson


Thinking Ahead To When The Kids Leave The Nest

Dining & entertainment just blocks from many lofts.
Dining & entertainment just blocks from many lofts.

Recently a friend of 40+ years, living in suburbia, posted on Facebook she didn’t know what she’ll do when her two boys move out of the house.   I had to confirm with her, but the oldest is not yet 13.

Empty Nest Syndrome refers to feelings of depression, sadness, and/or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes. This may occur when children go to college or get married. Women are more likely than men to be affected; often, when the nest is emptying, mothers are going through other significant life events as well, such as menopause or caring for elderly parents. Yet this doesn’t mean that men are completely immune to Empty Nest Syndrome. Men can experience similar feelings of loss regarding the departure of their children.

More mothers work these days and therefore feel less emptiness when their children leave home. Also, an increasing number of adult children between 25 and 34 are now living with their parents at home. Psychologist Allan Scheinberg notes that these “boomerang kids” want the “limited responsibility of childhood and the privileges of adulthood.” Children may also return home due to economics, divorce, extended education, drug or alcohol problems or temporary transitions. (Psychology Today)

From a 2011 story on Census data:

According to the data set, entitled America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011, the number of 25 to 34 year olds living with mom and dad has risen among both sexes since 2005: the number of young men living with parents is up from 14% to 19% and the number of young women is up from 8% to 10%. The Census’ graphs indicate that the numbers of older Generation-Yers living under their parents’ roofs — a number that had already been trending up before the “Great Recession” — continued to shoot up following the financial meltdown of 2008, specifically from the beginning of 2009 onwards. (Forbes)

If this continues my friend may not find out what an empty nest is like.

My loft building has all age groups, including many Baby Boomers, that sold their suburban homes for a walkable life downtown. Not for everyone, but the 10,000 a day who turn 65 are impacting the marketplace:

America’s aging population is already placing different demands on the housing market and affecting what developers will likely be focused on providing, according to Terry Holzheimer, director of economic development in Arlington County, Virginia. He’s expecting to see more infill housing, more housing in areas that are walkable, and more pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods with high levels of services and amenities. (The Atlantic Cities)

Some of you will likely argue why empty nesters will keep the suburban nest rather than relocate to a more walkable area. Certainly, many will stay in the home where they raised their kids. Others, like neighbors of mine, will switch places. The kids now with kids of their own will move into the parents house and the parents will move into the kids loft.

— Steve Patterson