Reading: Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities For All by Philip Langdon

 

 Last week I received a new book that immediately caught my attention. Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities For All speaks to a core personal issue for me — walkability. Before the personal automobile displaced public transit, most everything in American cities was within walking distance. For nearly a century now Euclidean, …

Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Close Interstate Rest Areas?

 

 Missouri has low fuel taxes and the legislature is unwilling to increase it. Maintenance needs remain. Some states in this situation have opted to closer rest areas: For more than half a century, old-fashioned, no-frills highway rest stops have welcomed motorists looking for a break from the road, a bathroom …

Lyda Krewson Is The 5th Mayor Since I Moved To St. Louis

 

 On Tuesday, while waiting for the inauguration of our first new mayor in 16 years, I reflected on the mayors we’ve had since I moved here in August 1990. For many of you, Francis Slay has been the only mayor you’ve had as a voting-age adult. This could be because …

Opinion: Turnstiles Are For Fare Collection, Not Public Safety

 

 Many, including regional elected officials, letters to the editor, and others, are pushing the idea of turnstiles as a way to increase public safety on our MetroLink light rail system. Incredibly ill-informed because turnstiles, physical & virtual, are meant to combat fare-evasion. Heavy rail systems like Chicago’s EL, the NYC …

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Accessibility To Food Trucks Is Often Lacking Due To Location Issues

January 30, 2017 Accessibility, Featured, Planning & Design, Popular Culture Comments Off on Accessibility To Food Trucks Is Often Lacking Due To Location Issues
 

More than two decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed, the ongoing food truck revolution remains largely inaccessible to those of us who use wheelchairs. Not because of the tricks themselves, but because of where they park.

From a 2013 post — Foods trucks at Third Degree’s open house require lining up on grass — a challenge for some.

In early September a proposed food truck park was in the news:

St. Louis may soon get its first food truck park — a regular gathering spot for some of the area’s best-regarded mobile kitchens. The proposed site is on a stretch of South Vandeventer Avenue — not far from the popular Grove entertainment district — that officials hope to regenerate with new businesses.

Some planning remains, and the park’s developers have yet to choose the project’s name. But they have a site and hope to conduct a food truck pop-up event there this fall.

If plans work out, next spring a rotating assemblage of food trucks will begin to operate daily on what is now an overgrown lot next to the long-ago home of Liberty Bell Oil Co. The vacant building at 1430 South Vandeventer will be redone as the joint commissary for the food trucks. (Post-Dispatch)

My hope is if this moves forward it’ll be designed so everyone can patronize the food trucks. Often I can’t reach the trucks parked downtown at one of my favorite spots: Citygarden.

Even downtown many access problems exist. Just walk up right?
Even downtown many access problems exist. Just walk up right?
No, in this case the window isn't lined up with the walk shown in the previous picture.
No, in this case the window isn’t lined up with the walk shown in the previous picture.
Market next to Citygarden is a very narrow strip of concrete. Enough to stand on but not enough for a wheelchair.
Even when the window is lined up it can still be a challenge if there are others in line.

When I started blogging 12+ years ago I argued for more food carts to activate streets — food trucks weren’t a thing yet. I still wish food carts were more common because they trend to be easier to access in a wheelchair. But trucks have replaced carts so now we need to ensure the public can access them.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Would You Send Your Child To The Fully Accredited St. Louis Public Schools?

January 29, 2017 Cherokee Business District, Education, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Would You Send Your Child To The Fully Accredited St. Louis Public Schools?
 
Please vote below

Earlier this month the St. Louis Public Schools became fully accredited:

The state board gave unanimous approval to upgrade St. Louis Public Schools’ status from provisionally accredited to fully accredited. Officials with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education cited the district’s rising test scores, improved attendance rates and fiscal stability as the reasons for recommending the change.

The decision comes nearly a decade after the state took over the St. Louis Public Schools system and replaced its elected board with a special administrative board. Most members of the state board credited Superintendent Kelvin Adams with helping facilitate the district’s turnaround.  (St. Louis Public Radio)

Now, many are wondering if more parents will choose the district over other options. Good question so I’ve made it the subject of today’s poll.

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Bissell Water Tower First Saved 55 Years Ago Today

January 27, 2017 Featured, History/Preservation, North City Comments Off on Bissell Water Tower First Saved 55 Years Ago Today
 
Image from the 1970 nominating to the National Register of Historic Places, click image to view
Image from the 1970 nominating to the National Register of Historic Places, click image to view

Today’s post was originally supposed to be about how a historic water tower, one of our three, was saved 55 years ago. In researching, however, I found the truth was a little differing.

A few years ago the STL250 group posted a daily tidbit — I saved those which thought might be of interest here.

This Day in St. Louis History, January 27, 1962:
Salvation for the Bissell Street Water Tower

When news was released that the city had decided to tear down the dilapidated Bissell Street Water Tower at Blair and Bissell Street in North St. Louis, protests came from every direction. The tower had been losing bricks from its face due to water infiltration and freezing, but people demanded the structure be saved. Thanks to a matching grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the realization that tearing it down would be just as expensive, the tower was saved and restored. The Bissell Street Water Tower was constructed in 1885 to control surges of water pressure along with its older adjacent neighbor, the Grand Avenue Water Tower, shaped like a giant Corinthian column. Less than ten Victorian-era water towers remain in the United States, and three are in St. Louis.

Their post has been deleted from Facebook. So it was saved on a Saturday in 1962 — great

From the city’s page on the water tower:

Bissell Street Water Tower – City Landmark #12

Built in 1885, the Bissell Street Water Tower, also called the “Red” Water Tower, was designed by William S. Eames in the form of a Moorish Minaret.  The tower stands 206 feet high and is located at the intersection of Blair Avenue and Bissell Street in the Hyde Park City Historic District.

There are nine doorways leading into a space containing an iron standpipe and spiral staircase. At the top is a look-out platform. The tower was renovated in 1913.  There was an attempt to raze the tower in 1958, but luckily it was halted by Donald Gunn, the President of the Board of Aldermen.  The Red Tower was restored once again in the 1960s and designated a City Landmark in 1966..  It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

So it was saved from demolition in 1962, restored and listed on the National Register. Not quite.

From the nomination to the register completed on April 8, 1970:

No material alterations have been made on the structure since its construction and its appearance remains essentially the same as when it was completed. The tower was taken out of use  June 8, 1913 when new pumping engines rendered both it and its companion, the Grand Avenue Water Tower, obsolete. It has received no substantive maintenance since that date and has fallen into such a state of disrepair that it has been barricaded since 1965 to protect people from falling bricks. Because it has been deemed a danger to public safety, it is now threatened with imminent demolition.

This description of the physical appearance of the building is based on the data included in a field report by Edward A. Ruesing written, on February 26, 1970. The report is filed at the central office of the Missouri State Park Board, P.O. Box 1?6, Jefferson Building, Jefferson City, Misoouri 65101.

No doubt something happened 55 years ago today, but it was just part of many steps taken to save it from demolition. I haven’t been up there since December 2011 — not sure of the current condition. Would be nice to see the Compton Hill Water Tower & Park Preservation Society expand to cover all three of our water towers or help form an organization to help the two north side towers.

It is located at the intersection of Bissell St & Blair Ave.

— Steve Pattetrson

Readers: Climate Change NOT A Hoax!

January 25, 2017 Environment, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Climate Change NOT A Hoax!
 

First off let me quote NASA to explain some terms:

Weather vs. climate

Weather refers to atmospheric conditions that occur locally over short periods of time—from minutes to hours or days. Familiar examples include rain, snow, clouds, winds, floods or thunderstorms. Remember, weather is local and short-term. 

Climate, on the other hand, refers to the long-term regional or even global average of temperature, humidity and rainfall patterns over seasons, years or decades. Remember, climate is global and long-term.

Global warming

Global warming refers to the upward temperature trend across the entire Earth since the early 20th century, and most notably since the late 1970s, due to the increase in fossil fuel emissions since the industrial revolution. Worldwide since 1880, the average surface temperature has gone up by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), relative to the mid-20th-century baseline (of 1951-1980).

Climate change

Climate change refers to a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to Earth’s atmosphere. These phenomena include the increased temperature trends described by global warming, but also encompass changes such as sea level rise; ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in flower/plant blooming; and extreme weather events.

The science behind climate change is clear, the facts are overwhelming…there is no such thing as alternate facts.

Last year, global warming reached record high temperatures — and if that news feels like déjà vu, you’re not going crazy.

The planet has now had three consecutive years of record-breaking heat.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released its annual State of the Climate report, which says it’s the hottest it has been since scientists started tracking global temperatures in 1880.

separate analysis, by NASA scientists, came to the same conclusion. (NPR)

Human activity is causing the planet to heat up, melting ice, raising ocean levels. Thankfully, most of you realize the situation the world is in isn’t a hoax.

Q: Agree or disagree: ‘Climate Change’ is a hoax.

  • Strongly agree 5 [3.38%]
  • Agree 5 [3.38%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [0.68%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [2.03%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 6 [4.05%]
  • Strongly disagree 127 [85.81%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [0.68%]

As you can see from the non-scientific results above, few think it is a hoax.

Click image to view this 2013 tweet on Twitter.
Click image to view this 2013 tweet on Twitter.

Click here to see a top 10 list of Trump’s climate denying tweets and here to see climate deniers in the Trump administration.

Thankfully we still have Bernie Sanders in the U.S. Senate.

— Steve Patterson

February 27th: Please Join Me For My Last Night In My 40s Happy Hour @ 360 St. Louis

January 23, 2017 Featured, Steve Patterson Comments Off on February 27th: Please Join Me For My Last Night In My 40s Happy Hour @ 360 St. Louis
 

The last day of February is my birthday, but this year is a special one: the big 5-0.

I wasn’t born on a leap year, but I was born on a cousin’s 13th birthday. Interestingly, another cousin was born on my oldest brother’s 13th birthday.

Three-Sixty St. Louis was built 5+ on the roof of a decades-old hotel at Broadway & Market.
Three-Sixty St. Louis was built 5+ on the roof of a decades-old hotel at Broadway & Market.

A 50th birthday is special, especially considering I came close to not reaching my 41st. To celebrate my last night in my 40s I’ll be at 360’s happy hour 4pm-7pm talking to whomever stops by to say hello, No cards or presents please.

If you’ve not been to 360 before, this is your excuse to check it out. The design is brilliant — a steel & glass box on a new 26th floor with views in all directions.

Through the end of March they have great happy hour specials — on Tuesdays the fish tacos are $2 each 4pm-7pm.

View of the East area from the South patio
View of the East area from the South patio
One of several fire pits among several outdoor areas
One of several fire pits among several outdoor areas
One of two kitchens in the central area
One of two kitchens in the central area
A variety of seating is first come first serve
A variety of seating is first come first serve
View looking West
View looking West

This is one of the best examples of adapting an old building for modern uses…though the building is slightly younger than I am. Anyway,  I hope you can stop by to say hello on Monday February 27th.

Note that everyone is responsible for their own food & beverage.

— Steve Patterson

 

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