Nearly a Quarter of St. Louis Households Underserved by Transit


 Last month Streetsblog USA had a post that caught my attention: Where should your city aim to add transit service? The places where more buses and trains will be most useful are areas where lots of people live or work, but there’s not enough service to meet the demand. A new …

Sunday Poll: Any Issues With ‘In God We Trust’ on Wentzville’s Board of Alderman Dais?


 The opening of new buildings can sometimes be controversial, but using things like proportions, materials, colors, etc.  Wentzville’s new city hall opened last year and 12 letters are sparking protest & debate. From earlier this month: Dozens of people packed Wentzville City Hall on Wednesday night to rally behind a display of …

Aldermen Approved Failed St. Louis Centre Forty Years Ago


 Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s also the 40th anniversary of the start of one of St. Louis’ worst decisions: St. Louis Centre This Day in St. Louis History, March 17, 1978: The first step towards St. Louis Centre The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved three bills that …

Opinion: Video Gaming Would Be a Mistake For Missouri


 Remember back to 1994 when gambling in Missouri was limited to actual boats? Two riverboat casinos recently opened in Missouri despite the state’s ban on slot machines and many other games of chance. The President Casino on the Admiral is permanently moored on the Mississippi River, just north of the Gateway Arch. …

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Sunday Poll: Tax Cuts Bill a Great Xmas Gift for the Middle Class?

December 24, 2017 Featured, Taxes Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Tax Cuts Bill a Great Xmas Gift for the Middle Class?
Please vote below

On Friday President Trump signed a bill making major changes to our tax code.

The bill reduces the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent and supporters argue that will make U.S. business more competitive overseas. Many pass-through businesses also receive a 20 percent deduction. 

It lowers individual tax rates, including trimming the top bracket to 37 percent from 39.6, while doubling the standard deduction and replacing personal exemptions with a $2,000 partly refundable child tax credit. The law eliminates various deductions while limiting others on state and local taxes and mortgage interest. (NBC News)

Earlier last week Trump had this to say about the bill:

“They’re going to start seeing the results in February. This bill means more take-home pay. It will be an incredible Christmas gift for hard-working Americans. I said I wanted to have it done before Christmas. We got it done,” Trump said. (ABC News)

With Christmas tomorrow I thought I’d ask readers their view of the bill.

This non-scientific poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Winter Break

December 22, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Winter Break
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen are on their winter break, the next meeting for in the 2017-2018 session will be Friday January 5, 2018.

Previous meetings can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session.

— Steve Patterson

Readers Split on Picking the Next St. Louis Police Chief

December 20, 2017 Featured Comments Off on Readers Split on Picking the Next St. Louis Police Chief

The recent non-scientoifoc Sunday Poll asked readers to pick from the 6 candidates for Police Chief. Answers were presented to readers in random order, but here they are in the order listed by the Post-Dispatch:

Q: Which of the six finalists to become the next Chief of the St. Louis Police would you hire?

  • Lawrence O’Toole, St. Louis (Interim Chief) 4 [18.18%]
  • John Hayden, St. Louis 3 [13.64%]
  • Mary Edwards-Fears, St. Louis 6 [27.27%]
  • Stephen Max Geron, Dallas TX 1 [4.55%]
  • Keith L. Humphrey, Norman OK 2 [9.09%]
  • Patrick Melvin, Port Arthur TX 0 [0%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 6 [27.27%]

Again, this is non-scientific and the vote total was low.

The office of Chief of Police as it looked durimg the open house for the new police headquarters.

Part of me thinks bringing in someone from another state would be healthy for the department, part of me thinks a female chief would also be healthy.

— Steve Patterson


NEW BOOKS — Beyond Mobility: Planning Cities for People and Places & Design As Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity

December 18, 2017 Books, Featured Comments Off on NEW BOOKS — Beyond Mobility: Planning Cities for People and Places & Design As Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity

Last week I received two new books from Island Press. Since both look interesting I thought I’d share in a combined post.

Beyond Mobility: Planning Cities for People and Places by Robert Cervero, Erick Guerra, and Stefan Al

Cities across the globe have been designed with a primary goal of moving people around quickly—and the costs are becoming ever more apparent. The consequences are measured in smoggy air basins, sprawling suburbs, unsafe pedestrian environments, and despite hundreds of billions of dollars in investments, a failure to stem traffic congestion. Every year our current transportation paradigm generates more than 1.25 million fatalities directly through traffic collisions. Worldwide, 3.2 million people died prematurely in 2010 because of air pollution, four times as many as a decade earlier. Instead of planning primarily for mobility, our cities should focus on the safety, health, and access of the people in them.

Beyond Mobility is about prioritizing the needs and aspirations of people and the creation of great places. This is as important, if not more important, than expediting movement. A stronger focus on accessibility and place creates better communities, environments, and economies. Rethinking how projects are planned and designed in cities and suburbs needs to occur at multiple geographic scales, from micro-designs (such as parklets), corridors (such as road-diets), and city-regions (such as an urban growth boundary). It can involve both software (a shift in policy) and hardware (a physical transformation). Moving beyond mobility must also be socially inclusive, a significant challenge in light of the price increases that typically result from creating higher quality urban spaces.

There are many examples of communities across the globe working to create a seamless fit between transit and surrounding land uses, retrofit car-oriented suburbs, reclaim surplus or dangerous roadways for other activities, and revitalize neglected urban spaces like abandoned railways in urban centers.

The authors draw on experiences and data from a range of cities and countries around the globe in making the case for moving beyond mobility. Throughout the book, they provide an optimistic outlook about the potential to transform places for the better. Beyond Mobility celebrates the growing demand for a shift in global thinking around place and mobility in creating better communities, environments, and economies. (Island Press)

Design As Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity edited by David de la Pena, Diane Jones Allen, Randolph T. Hester, Jeffrey Hou, Laura J. Lawson, and Marcia J. McNally

How can we design places that fulfill urgent needs of the community, achieve environmental justice, and inspire long-term stewardship? By bringing community members to the table, we open up the possibility of exchanging ideas meaningfully and transforming places powerfully. Collaboration like this is hands-on democracy in action. It’s up close. It’s personal. For decades, participatory design practices have helped enliven neighborhoods and promote cultural understanding. Yet, many designers still rely on the same techniques that were developed in the 1950s and 60s. These approaches offer predictability, but hold waning promise for addressing current and future design challenges. Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity is written to reinvigorate democratic design, providing inspiration, techniques, and case stories for a wide range of contexts.

Edited by six leading practitioners and academics in the field of participatory design, with nearly 50 contributors from around the world, Design as Democracy shows how to design with communities in empowering and effective ways. The flow of the book’s nine chapters reflects the general progression of community design process, while also encouraging readers to search for ways that best serve their distinct needs and the culture and geography of diverse places. Each chapter presents a series of techniques around a theme, from approaching the initial stages of a project, to getting to know a community, to provoking political change through strategic thinking. Readers may approach the book as they would a cookbook, with recipes open to improvisation, adaptation, and being created anew.

Design as Democracy offers fresh insights for creating meaningful dialogue between designers and communities and for transforming places with justice and democracy in mind.

– Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Which of the 6 St. Louis Police Chief Candidates Would You Hire?

December 17, 2017 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Which of the 6 St. Louis Police Chief Candidates Would You Hire?
Please vote below

St. Louis will soon have a new chief of police. The six finalists include three from within the ranks and three from other cities:

• Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole, 59, the interim chief, who has been with the St. Louis police department for 33 years. Mayor Lyda Krewson appointed him to temporarily head the department after then-chief Sam Dotson abruptly resigned in April, on Krewson’s first day in office.
• Maj. John Hayden, currently the commander of the department’s North Patrol Division. He has been with the department for 30 years.

• Capt. Mary Edwards-Fears, 57, who is currently assigned to the Bureau of Professional Standards, which includes the Community Policing and Internal Affairs units and the Police Academy. She has been with the department for 31 years.

And for the first time in modern history, candidates from outside the department are being considered for the chief’s office. Those finalists include:

• Maj. Stephen Max Geron of the Dallas Police Department, with nearly 25 years of experience. He has held a variety of positions in the department, including as its spokesman.

• Norman, Okla., Police Chief Keith L. Humphrey, who worked in the Arlington, Texas, department before becoming chief in Lancaster, Texas, and then Norman.

• Chief Patrick Melvin of the Port Arthur Police Department in Texas. Before that he worked in Phoenix and later became the founding police chief for the City of Maricopa in Arizona. He was placed on administrative leave there before resigning in 2016. (Post-Dispatch)

Today’s non-scientific poll seeks to find out which of the six is preferred by readers, their names are in random order.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson