Charter Amendments On General Election Ballot

 

 A week from tomorrow is the general election in St. Louis.  I already posted about the School Board & Junior College Board races. We all know about the mayor’s race, and some of us live in a ward electing an alderman to a 4-year term. All of us have the following six …

Sunday Poll: Should Municipal Bans On Pit Bulls Remain?

 

 Two weeks ago one local municipality voted to repeal a prior ban on pit bulls: The Florissant City Council voted Monday night to end the city’s ban on pit bulls and pit bull mixes. The new ordinance that passed states it “allows pit bull dogs in the city with mandatory spaying …

April 4th Ballot: School Board & Junior College Board

 

 In a little over a week St. Louis voters will return to the polls for the general election — mostly a rubber-stamp of the Democratic nominees selected earlier this month. In addition to propositions that I’ll cover next week, there are two often overlooked nonpartisan races on our ballot (sample): …

Opinion: Loop Trolley Will Surprise Naysayers

 

 I’m not a huge fan of vintage/heritage streetcar/trolley lines — I much prefer modern streetcar lines using 21st century low-floor vehicles (see Kansas City’s streetcar). I have ridden vintage/heritage lines in San Francisco, Little Rock, New Orleans, and Memphis. I wanted to ride the one in Dallas after becoming disabled, …

Recent Articles:

Senior Apartments To Be Built Adjacent To Swansea MetroLink Station Parking Lot

January 9, 2017 Featured, Metro East, Planning & Design, Public Transit, Transportation Comments Off on Senior Apartments To Be Built Adjacent To Swansea MetroLink Station Parking Lot
 

Back in September 2016, on the 20th,  I received a press release from our transit agency Metro — aka Bi-State Development:

SWANSEA, IL, SEPT. 20, 2016…  Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA), in partnership with Bywater Development Group and Bi-State Development (BSD), is pleased to announce a new, $10.5 million development that will bring senior apartment living adjacent to the Swansea MetroLink Station in Swansea, Ill. The transit-oriented development (TOD) project, which will be developed by SWIDA and Bywater, was approved by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) in Chicago on September 16. 

This new development, called Metro Landing of Swansea, will feature a handsome three-story building with 62 affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments for older adults seeking an independent lifestyle. Located adjacent to the Swansea MetroLink Station, residents will have car-free transportation options via MetroLink and MetroBus to conveniently access restaurants, retail, entertainment venues, recreational locations, employment centers, and medical facilities around the bi-state region. The Swansea Station is located on the Metro East Park and Recreation District BikeLink trail system, so seniors will be able to utilize the trail for exercise and recreation.

This development would not have occurred without the collaboration of a number of groups including IHDA, the St. Clair County Transit District and the Village of Swansea.  The Village has been a vital asset in the predevelopment planning process.  “It is truly an example of how public and private partnerships can lead to an important community investment,” James Nations, SWIDA’s Chairman said. “This is an excellent opportunity for SWIDA and Bywater Development Group to contribute to active senior housing as this segment of the population continues to grow.” The SWIDA Board of Directors is seeking other markets in the region in need of comparable developments.

Mike Lundy, Executive Director of SWIDA said, “It has been great working with Bi-State Development. We are very pleased with the new senior housing development and worked extremely hard to move this development forward.”

“This new development to be positioned next to the Swansea MetroLink Station reflects other successful transit-oriented projects in our area, and is a testament to the positive benefits the Metro transit system brings to the region,” said John Nations, President and CEO of Bi- State Development (BSD). BSD operates the metro public transportation system for the St. Louis region. 

“Metro Landing of Swansea is reflective of a very strong and effective public/private partnership and stands to serve as a model for transit oriented senior housing. It will create both a positive impact on the community and an ideal living environment for its residents.  Our organization is highly honored to be a part of this collective effort,” said Aaron Burnett, President of Bywater Development Group.

Metro Landing of Swansea is scheduled for construction commencement in the summer of 2017 with full completion by late summer of 2018. 

 

About SWIDA

The Southwestern Illinois Development Authority is a special-purpose, municipal corporation and local governmental unit whose purpose is to promote and enhance economic development within the counties of Bond, Clinton, Madison and St. Clair Ill. To learn more, visit www.swida.org. 

About Bi-State Development

Bi-State Development (BSD) operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway, the region’s freight district, and the Bi-State Development Research Institute. BSD is the operator of the Metro public transportation system for the St. Louis region, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; 391 MetroBus vehicle fleet that serves 77 MetroBus routes; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 120 vans. BSD owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams. 

Within 90 minutes of receiving the press release I emailed Mike Lundy of SWIDA and Aaron Burnett of Bywater Development volunteering to help with accessibility, pedestrian issues, etc. I wanted to make sure they avoided common problems I’ve found throughout the region.Unfortunately, I’ve yet to hear back from either.

The stories online that day from the Post-Dispatch & other media outlets was a rephrasing of the press release along with the image provided.  Rather than do the same as others, I visited the Swansea MetroLink station and surrounding area a few days later  — on the morning of September 23rd. I was in the area nearly 2 hours — taking 158 photos in that time.

Go back up and read the press release again, you’ll see buzz words/phrases like ‘car-free’, ‘transit-oriented senior housing’, and ‘ideal living environment.’ Yeah…not so much.

The main thing these independent seniors will be buying is groceries. The nearest grocery store is al Aldi about a half a mile walk to the South, a Schnucks just over a half mile to the North. Before we go to the grocery stores let’s take a look at the station.

From the station looking out we see a drive for buses, a drive for cars, and surface parking for cars.
From the station looking out we see a drive for buses, a drive for cars, and surface parking for cars.
Out looking back we see the main parking lot -- another is to the left out of frame. Most likely the new building will be built on the grassy area to the right.
Out looking back we see the main parking lot — another is to the left out of frame. Most likely the new building will be built on the grassy area to the right.
A more direct look at the likely spot where the building whirl be built. Other than the parking lots, this is the largest land owned by Metro at this station.
A more direct look at the likely spot where the building whirl be built. Other than the parking lots, this is the largest land owned by Metro at this station.
Further away firom the station we see the secondary parking lot on the left
Further away firom the station we see the secondary parking lot on the left

Let’s go to the Aldi first since it is slightly closer and we’re almost out to the main road, IL-159/N. Illinois St.

Looking back from near the main road.
Looking back from near the main road.
Looking South at IL-159, but no sidewalk on this side. Metro also owns owns this land and building, so perhaps they plan to build senior housing here?
Looking South at IL-159, but no sidewalk on this side. Metro also owns owns this land and building, so perhaps they plan to build senior housing here?
I went back to the station and used the circuitous trail to head South. The trail goes under Belt (left), a spur comes up (right)
I went back to the station and used the circuitous trail to head South. The trail goes under Belt (left), a spur comes up (right)
Heading toward the side of the Aldi
Heading toward the side of the Aldi
Getting closer
Getting closer
At this point you're dumped into the parking lot where you risk getting hit by cars. The store entry is to the left out of the frame.
At this point you’re dumped into the parking lot where you risk getting hit by cars. The store entry is to the left out of the frame.

Let’s return to the station entrance and go North to try to access the Schnucks. Though the Schnucks is also on the West side of IL-159, there’s no sidewalk so we must cross to the West to head North.

Not exactly friendly
Not exactly friendly
Looking back West we see an office park that includes medical offices -- not reachable as a pedestrian though
Looking back West we see an office park that includes medical offices — not reachable as a pedestrian though
Catching a bus at the station would save some distance, the Schnucks is behind the Mcdonald's
Catching a bus at the station would save some distance, the Schnucks is behind the Mcdonald’s
On the NW corner of 159 & Fullerton Rd we see the bus stop needed if we wanted to catch the bus back to the station. There's no sidewalk here, how do we reach the store?
On the NW corner of 159 & Fullerton Rd we see the bus stop needed if we wanted to catch the bus back to the station. There’s no sidewalk here, how do we reach the store?
The North side of Fullerton Rd has a sidewalk, but theres no connection to the Schnucks or other businesses.
The North side of Fullerton Rd has a sidewalk, but theres no connection to the Schnucks or other businesses.

Seniors living here might not be able to carry a bag or two of groceries, so an inexpensive folding shopping cart is a good option. But traversing parking lots are dangerous and trying to get the cart up & over many curbs is a challenge at any age/ability. My experience confirms the WalkScore of 33 out of 100 for the MetroLink light rail station — car dependent.

Metro and its partners want everyone to believe seniors will be able to live here car-free. I realize pedestrian-friendly development doesn’t happen around transit immediacy — it takes time. This station has only been open since…May 5th…2001 — over 15 years!

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Index Fuel Taxes?

January 8, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Index Fuel Taxes?
 
Please vote below
Please vote below

The new year brought changes to fuel tax rates in many states:

Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida will each see modest gas tax increases of less than a penny per gallon, based on automatic adjustments in those states, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Two states — New York and West Virginia — will have slight reductions based on automatic adjustments, according to the institute. The Empire State’s rate will fall 0.8 cents per gallon, and the Mountain State’s rate will drop 1 cent per gallon.

The hikes reflect state efforts to balance budgets for road construction and maintenance when Congress hasn’t raised the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. State transportation officials and the construction industry contend federal funding hasn’t kept pace with inflation and more fuel-efficient cars. (USA Today)

Missouri’s fuel taxes, however, remain unchanged since 1996. Numerous attempts over the lsat two decades to raise fuel taxes have failed.

From May 2016:

The state legislature did not pass a transportation funding fix during the regular legislative session that ended Friday. One measure that passed in the Senate but died in the House would have asked voters if Missouri’s gas tax should be increased 5.9 cents per gallon to help pay for roads and bridges.

Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) says he worked hard to find a compromise this year in hopes that the proposal would pass.

“The people of the state of Missouri will not be able to vote on whether or not they would like to pay a little more to get better roads and bridges to drive on,” said Libla.

Lawmakers agree transportation funding must increase but they disagree on how to fund it. (MissouriNet)

It seems like some states use indexing to adjust fuel taxes, is this something Missouri should consider?

This poll closes at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills 1/6/2017 (229-246)

January 6, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills 1/6/2017 (229-246)
 
St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen return from their Winter break today, introducing the following eighteen (18) Board Bills — review the full agenda here.

  • B.B.#229 – Ortmann/Spencer – An ordinance approving the petition to establish the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District, and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#230 – Murphy – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for 5092 Milentz; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#231 – Krewson – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4485 Westminster.
  • B.B.#232 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1519 Tower Grove.
  • B.B.#233 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4101-4117 Manchester.
  • B.B.#234 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4140 & 4145 Park.
  • B.B.#235 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for 100 N. Kingshighway Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#236 – Coatar – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1302-24, 1314R Russell & 2128 Dolman.
  • B.B.#237 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3305 Winnebago.
  • B.B.#238 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for Chippewa Park Scattered Sites Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#239 – Ogilvie – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for the 5814 West Park Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#240 – Ortmann – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1828 Victor.
  • B.B.#241 – Ortmann – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2720 Indiana.
  • B.B.#242 – Conway – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3901-3905 Shaw.
  • B.B.#243 – Cohn – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for 4137 Virginia; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#244 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance establishing a four-way stop site at the intersection of Field Avenue and Blow Street by regulating all northbound and southbound traffic traveling on Field Avenue at Blow Street and regulating all eastbound and westbound traffic traveling on Blow Street at Field Avenue, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#245 – Kennedy – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of Streets to temporarily close, barricade, or otherwise impede the flow of traffic on Enright by blocking said traffic flow at the west side of Sarah, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#246 – Pres. Reed/Conway – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and the Board of Public Service authorizing and directing the execution and delivery of a Financing Agreement by and among The City of St. Louis, the 14th and Market Community Improvement District, and the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of the City, pertaining to the financing of the rehabilitation of the real property located at 1401 Clark on which real property is located a multipurpose sports and entertainment venue commonly known as the Scottrade Center and issuance of and provision for repayment of bonds issued by the Authority to finance said rehabilitation; and containing an emergency clause and a severability clause.
In 1993 the convention hall at the back was razed to construct what is now called the Scottrade CenterIn 1993 the convention hall at the back go the Kiel Opera House was razed to construct what is now called the Scottrade Center
In 1993 the convention hall at the back go the Kiel Opera House was razed to construct what is now called the Scottrade Center

The meeting begins at 10am, it can be watched online here.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: Next Mayor Should Not Continue Slay’s Policies Unchanged

January 4, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Next Mayor Should Not Continue Slay’s Policies Unchanged
 
Mayor Slay
Mayor Slay

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than 60% felt our next mayor should not continue the policies of 4-term mayor, Francis Slay. Agreed!

Q: This year St. Louis will have their first new mayor in 16 years. Agree or disagree: the new mayor should continue, largely unchanged, the policies of Mayor Slay.

  • Strongly agree 1 [3.03%]
  • Agree 3 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree 6 [18.18%]
  • Neither agree or disagreeii 2 [6.06%]
  • Somewhat disagree 5 [15.15%]
  • Disagree 6 [18.18%]
  • Strongly disagree 9 [27.27%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [3.03%]

Currently there are seven candidates for mayor in the Democratic primary in March, one Libertarian has also filed.

A debate will be held Sunday January 29th from 3pm-5pm at the Busch Student Center on the campus of Saint Louis University.

St. Louis Mayoral Debate: Questions from the People, is sponsored by more than 10 community organizations including St. Louis Action Council, ArchCity Defenders and Deaconess Foundation. We feel it is important to convene a collective space for candidates to respond to real questions by community-focused organizations.

For more information see the event details here.

— Steve Patterson

 

There’s A New Sheriff In Town

January 2, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on There’s A New Sheriff In Town
 

I moved to St. Louis over 26 years ago, in that time there has only been one sheriff: James Murphy.  When I ran for the Board of Alderman in 2005 Murphy was working the poll for the incumbent on the day of the primary — he’s as old guard South St. Louis Democrat as they come.

From September 2010:

Two deputies on Friday won a lawsuit against St. Louis Sheriff James Murphy that claimed a racially hostile work environment but said afterward the sheriff still doesn’t understand the systematic problems that led them to sue.

A jury awarded William “Patrick” Hill and Jacques Hughes a combined $850,000 in actual and punitive damages, deciding Murphy was liable for a weak response when a supervisor in his department hung a noose in the courthouse in 2006.

To award damages, the jury had to decide whether Murphy was liable because his conduct was either evil in motive or recklessly indifferent. (Post-Dispatch)

Sheriff Vernon Betts
Sheriff Vernon Betts

Former sheriff’s deputy Vernon Betts, elected in November, challenged Murphy in 2012:

Murphy, who comes from an influential family in city politics, narrowly defeated Vernon Betts in the 2012 Democratic primary. Murphy had fired Betts, a former sheriff’s deputy, for actively campaigning for the office—something that Murphy had banned for employees. 

Murphy later lifted the ban, which has kept his employees from challenging him at the ballot box.  (Post-Dispatch)

Murphy didn’t run for another term, a crowded field, including Betts, ran in the August 2016 Democratic primary.  Swearing in Vernon Betts, an African-American, as sheriff, is a huge step in the right direction.

It also reminds me of a favorite movie: Blazing Saddles.

Brooks has never been known for his subtlety, and Blazing Saddles is no exception. Gone are the earnest, long-winded speeches about racial harmony that characterized movies like The Defiant Ones; instead, the film, co-written by Richard Pryor, tackles race and racism head-on and with humor. (It’s so un-PC that Brooks told Jimmy Kimmel in 2012 he wouldn’t be able to make the film today.) (NPR)

Warning, the N-word is spoken three times in the following clip.

Hopefully Sheriff Betts will get a better reception than Black Bart did.

— Steve Patterson

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe