St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 24 of 2017-2018 Session


 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 24th week of the 2017-2018 session. No new bills were introduced last week. THIRTEEN (13) NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 11/17/17: *Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, …

Readers: A Burrito Is Not A Sandwich


 A century ago retailers could lease or buy a storefront where they pleased, but with shopping centers/malls leases began to include clauses to exclude potential competition.A Boston-area franchisee of St. Louis-based Panera sued their landlord when it leased a space to a burrito place. The lease prohibited another sandwich place. …

The LRA’s 10 Smallest Properties For Sale.


 Last week I posted about the city’s Land Reutilization Authority, see Land Reutilization Authority Selling Vacant Lot That Is Less Than An Inch Wide. Today I want to highlight this property and nine others to make the 10 smallest properties for sale — out of 151 under 1,000 square feet. …

Sunday Poll: What Qualifies As A Sandwich?


 I’m still recovering from wrist surgery so this week’s poll is one I’ve been saving for a rainy day. Nothing too serious, yet highly controversial. Some have narrow definitions of s sandwich, while others have a more broad definition that includes hot dogs, tacos, and burritos. From Merriam-Webster: Definition of sandwich …

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Crosswalks Meet At One Curb Ramp, Rather Than Two

August 28, 2017 Accessibility, Featured, Planning & Design, Walkability Comments Off on Crosswalks Meet At One Curb Ramp, Rather Than Two

Recent work downtown has been mostly good for pedestrians, but Saturday night my husband and I found an awful corner: the NE corner of Market & Broadway.  This is the SW corner of the Old Courthouse. I;m not sure who gets the blame, the possible culprits are city streets dept, city board of public service (BPS), MoDOT, National Park Service, or Gateway Arch Park Foundation.

Most new work has gotten away from placing one curb ramp at the apex at the corner, instead doing a ramp/crosswalk to cross each street. This improves ADA-compliance and reduces inconveniences for all pedestrians.

We had to cross the ramp on the NE corner of Market & Broadway as we crossed Broadway. Both times the ramp was full of pedestrians waiting to cross Market. Both times I had to ask others to move.

Heading back to Kiener Plaza I snapped this photo of the crowd at the corner, two guys on the left are avoiding the crowd at the corner by walking in the street — not an option for those of us who use mobility devices.
In this crowed view you can see hoe the one crosswalk is angled to meet the sole curb ramp.

The idea is to get Arch visitors to start in Kiener Plaza, so this corner should see many pedestrians. It amazes me each crosswalk doesn’t lead to its own curb ramp.

No, I’m not amazed. I’ve experienced first hand how even brand new work ism’t designed by people who think like pedestrians.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should The Cardinals Get To Adopt ‘Rally Cat’?

August 27, 2017 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should The Cardinals Get To Adopt ‘Rally Cat’?
Please vote below

On August 9th a small kitten ran across the outfield during a Cardinals baseball game, followed by a grand slam. The internet quickly dubbed it Rally Cat. Just as quickly Rally Cat disappeared, but then Rally Cat was found in Citygarden.

Then the controversy started.

The Cardinals publicized a plan to adopt the good-luck cat. He would live in the Cardinals Clubhouse and be pampered by the team, officials with the team said.

But alas, it won’t be so.

Public conflict between the birds and the cat lovers who captured Rally Cat have led to irreconcilable differences.

The cat nonprofit claims the Cardinals organization has the wrong priorities. (Post-Dispatch)

And here we have the subject for today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

Wheelchair Users Locked Out Of St. Louis Public Park

August 25, 2017 Accessibility, Featured, Parks Comments Off on Wheelchair Users Locked Out Of St. Louis Public Park

Since moving downtown nearly a decade ago I’ve spent a lot of time in Lucas Park, just two blocks to the East. Unfortunately, the city has me locked out of the park. Lucas Park has four entrances — two along the South edge off Locust St, and two along the North edge off St. Charles Sr. The city’s parks department keeps the two South gates locked and opens the North gates during the day. The problem is the two North gates both have steps.

When I first began visiting Lucas Park only one ramp existed — the South entrance nearest to 14th. When the dog park was added a 2nd ramp was installed near the North entrance nearest to 13th. That pedestrian gate gas unlocked by the nearby gate at the ramp does not. It’s impossible for me, while using my power wheelchair, to use Lucas Park.

The SW gate is locked on Wednesday August 23rd @ 8:32am.
The NE gate for the ramp was also locked
An hour later, on the way home from the grocery store, the park still looks inviting.

Wednesday I emailed the first two photos to a couple of city officials and posted them to social media. Yesterday was also a very nice day, I tried to visit the park again on my way to the grocery store.

A couple of people were working out in the park at 1:50pm
Again, the SW gate to the original ramp was locked
The NW gate was unlocked
It has steps down
The NE gate to the newer ramp was locked
The NE gate with steps was wide open
I can see into the park, I just can’t get inside
The SE gate was locked.

As I understand it, city parks dept employees come out to unlock the NE & NW gates, but don’t unlock the NE gate for the ramp. I don’t think this is deliberate, just another example of people not thinking.

— Steve Patterson

The Total Eclipse In St. Clair MO

August 23, 2017 Featured Comments Off on The Total Eclipse In St. Clair MO

Today I’m staring a few eclipse photos from Monday. We decided to go to St. Clair Missouri. My husband had to work early that morning, we left around 10:39am stopping only for fuel. WE arrived in St, Clair around noon. Traffic seemed slightly heavier, though neither of us drive much beyond I-270 on a regular basis.

I’d studied the centerline and wanted to be near it.

The blue line represents the center of the 73-mile wide path of totality, thw red star the point where we were.
WE joined a few others in the parking lot of an old motel that is for sale.
It was bright and sunny at 1pm.
Seventeen minutes later is was dark and the temperature drop was noticeable,
The drive home was considerably longer, with only a few points we reached the speed limit. Everyone was cautious and patient.

Our round trip was about 5 hours — for less than 3 minutes of totality.  I didn’t think I’d be able to, but I saw the partial eclipse with a combination of my prescription glasses and eclipse glasses. During totality it was amazing.

We’re looking forward to April 8, 2024.

— St.Louis

Total Eclipse Today, Next One In 2024

August 21, 2017 Featured Comments Off on Total Eclipse Today, Next One In 2024

Today’s total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event. there hasn’t been an eclipse in the St. Louis region in the last 400 years. Carbondale IL, a 2 hour drive, is a good viewing spot today.  Can’t get out of work for this once-in-a-lifetime event?  Mark your calendar for Monday April 8, 2024. That’s right, another total eclipse will cross the United States, including Carbondale, IL

Yes, just 2,422 days until the next eclipse!

Those not in today’s path of totality will not experience the moon’s shadow the way the rest of us will. I tried on my solar glasses and to my eyes, with early cataracts, was a tiny spot. I’m not going to look up at the sun, today I want to experience day become night, and then back to day a couple minutes later. I want to feel the temperature drop.

This image shows how the total eclipse will go through part of the St Louis region.
Lots of areas in South St. Louis within the path of totality explains why you need to be within the grey path of totality:

Our task is to convince people who are not in the path of totality, that they simply must travel into the path, in order to see one of the most spectacular things they will ever see in their life. The task is difficult, because it is natural to believe that if one is “close” to the path, one will see something that is “pretty good”. But just as the person who only smells the meal outside the steakhouse remains hungry, so too do those who observe the eclipse from outside the path of totality end the day wondering what, indeed, all the fuss was about.

For those who choose to experience this eclipse outside the path, a partial eclipse is all they will see. Even if the sun is 99.9% eclipsed for these observers, they will not experience the full, jaw-dropping, knee-buckling, emotionally-overloading, completely overwhelming spectacle that is totality.

Partial eclipses are somewhat interesting, in that with the proper eye protection (which MUST be used at all times), one can see the moon moving slowly across the face of the sun. But there is no climax, no culmination of the event, no exhilarating moment of true beauty in the sky above them. The event is not memorable, not life-changing, not anything to inspire one to join the ranks of “umbraphiles” – “shadow-loving” persons who travel the world to the most remote locations, in anticipation of experiencing those few fleeting seconds of wonderment inside the shadow of the moon.

For those outside the path, there is no dramatic moment of totality, no dance of Baily’s Beads around the edge of the moon’s disk, no intense darkening of the skies, no stars and planets suddenly revealing themselves against an impossible twilight, no corona flashing into view (the otherworldly beauty of which makes even veteran total eclipse observers gasp in amazement), and no primordial fear which sinks ever so slightly even the modern heart. There is no pitch-blackened disk of the sun, no discernable temperature drop, no impossible nighttime during the day, no scintillating chromosphere or glorious prominences, no 360-degree sunset effect around the horizon, no uncontrollable shouts of emotional overload from the assembled crowd, and no lingering post-eclipse sensation of certainty that you have just done one of the coolest things you’ll ever do in your life.

A partial eclipse is interesting but forgettable, while a total eclipse is a memorable, life-changing event which burns itself into memory – and never fades. And so we, who have seen this sight, ask you to join us on this momentous day, and do everything you possibly can to see it with us. But you must remember that “close” is not close enough; in order to see the eclipse in all its glory, you simply must…

Get thee to the path!

Later today I’ll watch video taken by others of the eclipse, but I plan to be within the path of totality — as close to the centerline as i can get. Can’t drive an hour or more? Get to South St. Louis.

Based on yesterday’s non-scientfic Sunday Poll I’m preaching to the choir.

Q: Agree or disagree: Meh…solar eclipse…I won’t be in the path of totality tomorrow. No biggie.

  •  Strongly agree 3 [12.5%]
  • Agree 2 [8.33%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [8.33%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [4.17%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 4 [16.67%]
  • Strongly disagree 11 [45.83%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [4.17%]

Enjoy the experience!

— Steve Patterson