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The Gateway Transportation Center Is Now Amshack #3

August 7, 2017 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on The Gateway Transportation Center Is Now Amshack #3

St. Louis’ first Union Station opened in 1875. but proved too small very quickly. The significantly larger Union Station we know at 18th & Market opened 19 years later on September 1, 1894.

The beauty of Carl Milles’ work with Union Station in the background
Grand Hall in St. Louis Union Station

The busy days of Union Station lasted through WWII, but then saw declines.

As airliners became the preferred mode of long-distance travel and railroad passenger services declined in the 1950s and 1960s, the massive station became obsolete and too expensive to maintain for its original purpose. With the takeover of national rail passenger service by Amtrak in 1971, passenger train service to St. Louis was reduced to only three trains a day. Amtrak stopped using Union Station on October 31, 1978; the six trains daily did not justify such a large facility. The last to leave Union Station was a Chicago-bound Inter-American. Passenger service shifted to an “Amshack” one block east, now the site of the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center. (Wikipedia)

Ticket sales stopped inside the main building for a while, moving to a temporary building under the big train shed. But in 1978 service was moved to the first of two buildings commonly known as “amshack”. The first was a glorified portable building. complete with T1-11 siding.   The 2nd Amshack was of concrete block, opened in December 2004, still exists.

Amtrak service is in the Gateway Transportation Center, just East of Amshack #2, now used by Amtrak workers.

The Gateway Transportation Center is the City of St. Louis’ state of-the-art multimodal transportation hub. It is conveniently located in the heart of downtown St. Louis where Amtrak passenger train, Greyhound bus, and Metro light rail and bus service converge. This new facility provides passengers with a clean, safe, and friendly transportation center featuring 24-hour operations staff and security. (St. Louis Comptroller)

I was there on November 21, 2008 when St, Louis opened the new Gateway Transpiration Center with Amtrak & Greyhound bus. Megabus is a recent addition.

Comptroller Darlene Green speaking at the opening fNovember 21, 2008

Since opening, I’ve used all three  — Megabus, Greyhound, and Amtrak. In the last 5 years I’ve had at least a dozen round trips from this facility. Most recently returning on Amtrak from Chicago on July 30th.

The Gateway Transportation Center is now, in my opinion, Amshack #3. It’s an embarrassing dump.

The opener hasn’t worked on the East doors for years, May 2012 photo
Also in May 2012 two of three urinals weren’t working.

For at least 5 years the opener to the outside door leading from Civic Center MetroLink station hasn’t worked. Same with a urinal in the main men’s room. Our train from Chicago arrived about 15 minutes early on Sunday July 30th . The up escalator from the platform wasn’t working so everyone had to use the elevator up. Once over the tracks we needed to get down to the main station. The down escalators and elevator weren’t working — stairs were the only option. There were families with small children and I’m in my wheelchair. My husband goes down the stairs to see if anyone can help.

Sign on the only accessible way to/from trains indicating out of service. It worked two days earlier.

I knew a ramp existed at the East end of the platform, used ro drive golf carts up to assist those who can’t walk the distance. I make it to the employee parking lot but the elevator I need to get up to the station is the same one I couldn’t use to get down. The only option was to “drive” my wheelchair out of the parking lot, through the gate, to the street.

In June of this years one urinal wasn’t working,

Though Amtrak is just a tenant, it would’ve been nice had they told me the elevator was broken as they got me off the train. I want to know why something is always broken at the Gateway Transportation Center. Is the Comptroller’s office incapable of managing the building? Is proper maintenance beyond debt and rent?

For many travelers this is their first experience in St. Louis. Welcome.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Metro Right To Highlight County Police Covering Cameras

August 2, 2017 Crime, Featured, Public Transit Comments Off on Readers: Metro Right To Highlight County Police Covering Cameras
North Hanley parking garage

In the recent Sunday Poll nearly seventy percent of those who voted don’t by the statement frim St. Louis County police chief Belmer.

Q: Agree or disagree: Media coverage of County police @ MetroLink is a ploy by Metro to get police powers.

  • Strongly agree 1 [2.78%]
  • Agree 1 [2.78%]
  • Somewhat agree 4 [11.11%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [2.78%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [11.11%]
  • Disagree 9 [25%]
  • Strongly disagree 12 [33.33%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 4 [11.11%]

I do think Metro would like to its own police force, I also think the officers caught spending hours in a substation, rather than be out on platforms, need to face discipline. Belmer too.

What I’m not sure of is of Metro should have police powers. The security guards on platforms and in trains are pretty useless, an argument for them getting police power. On the other hand, abuse of power can come with police powers. The St. Louis region is already highly fragmented. Missouri & Illinois granting Metro, aka Bi-State Development, police powers increases fragmentation.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: What’s Up With St. County Police & Metro?

July 30, 2017 Public Transit, St. Louis County, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: What’s Up With St. County Police & Metro?

A week ago we learned about St. Louis County police officers covering the camera at a MetroLink substation.

A federal Homeland Security law enforcement officer was assigned to Metro transit patrol as part of a beefed-up security plan for the busy Fourth of July weekend.

He didn’t like what he saw.

Late in the afternoon on July 4, the officer walked into the North Hanley MetroLink substation to find 12 St. Louis County police officers milling about. A resulting Metro check of video footage determined that not only were county police officers loitering in the North Hanley security office instead of patrolling trains or platforms, at one point they covered the security camera with an envelope and tape. (Post-Dispatch)

Horrible, right? Consider the other side’s position:

The statement released Sunday by county police Chief Jon Belmar and spokesman Sgt. Shawn McGuire implies the allegations are the result of “politics and infighting.” The statement says the security camera at North Hanley MetroLink substation, which documented at least eight instances since 2015 of police covering up its lens, is improperly placed in a “private room.”

“A limited number of carefully selected images from over a two-and-a-half-year period that were pulled from an improperly-placed surveillance camera in a 12×14 private room appeared with the article,” McGuire wrote. “This room is used to monitor security cameras, hold briefings and complete report writing. It is also the only room officers have to take breaks from work and weather as well as change clothes and equipment at the end of a shift.” (Post-Dispatch)

As part of the Post-Dispatch series, apparently the County wants to remove accountability from their contract with Metro, with Metro head John Nations and St. Louis County Police chief Belmar disagreeing on matters for a couple of years now, hence Belmar’s “politics and infighting” comment.

Which brings us to today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Pine @ Tucker Treated Different Than Locust @ Tucker

July 24, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Transportation Comments Off on Pine @ Tucker Treated Different Than Locust @ Tucker

In April I wrote how some drivers get confused on one-way Locust approaching Tucker — some turn left from either lane because it’s not properly marked. Two blocks directly South, on Tine St, is the identical situation but properly marked.  Pine is also a 2-lane street one-way Westbound.  But the city treats Locust very different than it does Locust.

Locust has no pavement markings or signs to indicate where drivers should be.

Locust approaching Tucker, from April post

Pine, however, has both pavement markings and at least one sign.

Pine looking West toward Tucker. Pavement markings and sign indicate the left lane must turn left at Tucker.

Maybe AT&T got the city to make this intersection less confusing? Two blocks away is the same type of intersection treated very differently — untreated. I favor having traffic that wants to continue Westbound being in the right lane. with the left lane for left-turn only traffic. When I drive Westbound on Locust I stay in the right lane to cross Tucker, allowing me to get through the intersection and not be caught behind cars waiting on pedestrians to cross Tucker.

Locust should be treated just like Pine.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis Is A Great Event

July 19, 2017 Bicycling, Featured Comments Off on Opinion: World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis Is A Great Event

The recent World Naked Bike Ride – St. Louis was the 10th annual here. The purpose is clear:

The World Naked Bike Ride in St. Louis is part of an international event to raise awareness of cyclist rights and vulnerability on the road, and promote positive body image and protest oil dependency.

I absolutely love this event! Sadly, the first rode here was just months after my stroke — so I”ve only been able to participate as a spectator.

AS a spectator even it’s excellent. The hubby and I were sitting at 16th & Washington for about 15-20 minutes before the ride came through. In that time we talked to numerous people — strangers. One couple suspected what we were out: “Ready for the naked bike ride?”. they asked. Others, pedestrians & motorists, asked us what was going on.

Unlike many other events, I saw no corporate sponsors, though many local businesses are partners. I saw almost no genitalia — but I wasn’t looking either. I was bust waving, reading signs, enjoying the creative costumes & body paint. Nothing remotely;y indecent.

Most who voted in the non-scientific Sunday Poll seemed to agree:

Q: Agree or disagree: The annual World Naked Bike Ride encourages indecent exposure.

  • Strongly agree 2 [4.35%]
  • Agree 4 [8.7%]
  • Somewhat agree 5 [10.87%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [2.17%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [4.35%]
  • Disagree 13 [28.26%]
  • Strongly disagree 18 [39.13%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.17%]

An important part of the ride is to promote a positive body image, to show the world we’re not all cover models.

How we feel about ourselves as people directly impacts what we ultimately see in the mirror. Negative messages from others in our lives and from the media can make this a challenging proposition. Creating a positive body image requires being able to integrate our feelings about ourselves with the messages we are getting from others.

When we have a hard time reconciling how we feel with external influences, we are likely to experience insecurity in our social lives–anywhere from a low hum of anxiety to a crippling self consciousness. We may also find that a good feeling about our body image is hard to hold onto and can be disrupted by small comments or an unexpected glimpse of our reflection. (Psychology Today)

Years ago I did some design work at a local facility that treats patients with eating disorders. Seeing young people with visible bones but think they’re fat leaves a lasting impression. My stroke caused me to have a food disorder, gourmand syndrome.Desiring fine food I have to work hard to not get even fatter.

Keep it up St. Louis, ignore those who can’t see past exposed skin.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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