My 15th Look at St. Louis’ Martin Luther King Drive

 

 Today is the annual holiday to honor the civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated in Memphis in 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the …

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Police Continue To Be Required To Live In The City?

 

 For the nearly 30 years I’ve lived in St. Louis all city employees must live within the city’s limits. This has included members of our police department. This may change — for the police only. “Right now, we have a clean bill,” Hicks said in a committee hearing on the …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 28 of 2019-2020 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 28th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 27. Today’s agenda includes two (2) new bills. B.B.#191 — Rice/P.Boyd/Spencer/Navarro/Ingrassia/Guenther Green – An Ordinance amending …

St. Louis Lambert International Airport Needs An Open Regional Approach, Not Private Shareholders

 

 Recently St. Louis Mayor  Lyda Krewson announced the process to consider bids to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport, which began with her predecessor, was dead. To many of us this was a good thing. Whenever I’d post about airport privatization a reader would post a comment like this: What …

Recent Articles:

Sunday Poll: Should Strikes Be Limited By Law?

October 27, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Strikes Be Limited By Law?
 
Please vote below

The 2019 worker strike against General Motors has ended with a new 4-year contract.

The longest auto workers’ strike in 50 years is officially over.

General Motors employees voted overwhelmingly in favor of a deal struck by the United Auto Workers union and company executives. Nearly 48,000 workers who were on strike will return to work on Saturday.

The vote ends a painful work stoppage that has lasted six weeks, costing GM nearly $2 billion in lost production and employees nearly $1 billion in lost wages. (Vox)

The St. Louis region has only one vehicle manufacturing plant remaining, a GM truck plant:

The members of the local auto workers union approved a new deal with General Motors as part of a nationwide vote to end a five-week strike.

Exactly 3,300 members of United Auto Workers 2250 cast ballots on Thursday; 20 ballots were voided.

The local UAW were in favor of the agreement by a final tally of 2,115 to 1,185 votes. (Fox2)

Local transit workers haven’t voted to strike, but they’ve had some days where many called in sick.

Bi-State Development and the Amalgamated Transit Union 788 have been negotiating for more than a year. The existing contract’s one-year extension expired at the end of June. A new contract would affect the wages and benefits of more than 1,500 workers across St. Louis-area transit systems in Missouri and Illinois, including vehicle operators and mechanics. (St. Louis Public Radio)

So today’s poll is about strikes.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. My thoughts and results on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 20 of 2019-2020 Session

October 25, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 20 of 2019-2020 Session
 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 20th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 19.

Today’s agenda includes five (5) new bills.

  • B.B. #135 – Ingrassia – An ordinance allowing persons, business enterprises, and other entities, organizations, and groups who reserve any of the City of St. Louis’ park amenities by permit issued by the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to exclude from the permitted area persons carrying firearms in accordance with 571.107(15) of the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, regardless of whether carried concealed on or about their person and whether they hold a concealed carry permit or endorsement; and containing an emergency
  • B.B. #136 – J. Boyd – An Ordinance, recommended by the Board of Public Service of the City of St. Louis (the “Board of Public Service”), establishing multiple public works and improvement projects within the City of St. Louis (the “Projects”).
  • B.B. #137 – Middlebrook – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to vacate public surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel on Frederick Street and in conformity with Section l4 of Article XXI of the Charter and imposing certain conditions on such vacation.
  • B.B. #138 – P. Boyd – An ordinance regulating the storage, transportation and disposal of waste tires, and the permitting of waste tire haulers and tire dealers, and providing penalties for violations of the provisions thereof.
  • B.B. #139 – Guenther – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate above surface, surface and sub-surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel in westernmost 5 foot of Missouri Ave. from Cherokee St. south approximately 115 feet to a point, abutting City Block 1558 as bounded by Cherokee, Missouri, Potomac and Jefferson in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, as hereinafter de- scribed, in accordance with Charter authority, and in conformity with Section l4 of Article XXI of the Charter and imposing certain conditions on such vacation.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Readers Don’t Think McKee Will Come Through With Urgent Care, Hospital/Medical School

October 23, 2019 Featured, NorthSide Project, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers Don’t Think McKee Will Come Through With Urgent Care, Hospital/Medical School
 
Only one wall of the urgent care facility started a couple of years ago is still standing on the West end of the old Pruitt-Igoe site. Photo from 6:41pm last night.

Paul McKee’s 3-bed urgent care facility had been under construction, but after a wall collapsed last year it stopped.

Given aldermen’s failure to do their jobs before Friday’s vote approving tax subsidiesfor McKee, St. Louis taxpayers can only hope those creditors will thoroughly scrutinize the viability of the two-phase medical-complex project McKee proposes for north St. Louis. The first phase of the project, a three-bed urgent-care clinic, will cost $21 million, with McKee having come up with only $8 million in promised credit. The second phase involves building a 103,000-square-foot hospital/medical school. McKee has no funding source in sight for the $73 million he’ll need for that.

Friday’s vote puts taxpayers on the hook for $4.6 million in subsidies to be drawn from tax-increment financing worked out years ago with McKee after he used shell companies and other means to acquire around 1,500 acres of dilapidated, abandoned north St. Louis properties. Instead of improving those properties, he allowed them to deteriorate while punting property maintenance to the city. McKee offered grand designs for housing projects and retail-office complexes surrounding the new site of the $1.75 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency western headquarters. Those plans fizzled. (Post-Dispatch editorial)

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll readers were skeptical of McKee delivering:

Q: Agree or disagree: The 3-bed urgent care facility and the hospital/medical school will open by the promised deadlines.

  • Strongly agree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 3 [10.71%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [7.14%]
  • Disagree: 7 [25%]
  • Strongly disagree: 14 [50%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [3.57%]

If I were a gambling man I’d say not only will he not deliver, but the deadlines will get extended and the subsidies increased. Twenty-three aldermen voted in favor of Board Bill 103, sponsored by Tammika Hubbard.

Ayes (23)
Ward Alderman

  • 1 Sharon Tyus
  • 3 Brandon Bosley
  • 4 Samuel L Moore
  • 5 Tammika Hubbard
  • 6 Christine Ingrassia
  • 9 Dan Guenther
  • 10 Joseph Vollmer
  • 11 Sarah Martin
  • 12 Larry Arnowitz
  • 13 Beth Murphy
  • 14 Carol Howard
  • 15 Megan E. Green
  • 17 Joseph D Roddy
  • 18 Jesse Todd
  • 19 Marlene E Davis
  • 21 John Collins-Muhammad
  • 22 Jeffrey L Boyd
  • 23 Joseph Vaccaro
  • 25 Shane Cohn
  • 26 Shameem C Hubbard
  • 27 Pam Boyd
  • 28 Heather Navarro
  • President Lewis E Reed

One voted “present”:

Present (1)
Ward Alderman

  • 8 Annie Rice

Three were absent for the vote:

Absent (3)
Ward Alderman

  • 2 Lisa Middlebrook
  • 7 Jack Coatar
  • 16 Tom Oldenburg

Only two had the convictions to vote “no”:

Noes (2)
Ward Alderman

  • 20 Cara Spencer
  • 24 Bret Narayan

Aldermanic courtesy, the process of rubber-stamping legislation in another ward, is alive and well.

— Steve Patterson

Charging Electric Vehicles Part 1: Charging Stations

October 21, 2019 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on Charging Electric Vehicles Part 1: Charging Stations
 

Though I’ve had a couple of car-free periods, I’ve owned a car most of the nearly 37 years since I got my driver’s license. All my 17 vehicles have had an internal combustion engine (ICE).

I’ve wanted a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric vehicle (EV) for a while now. We even had a Tesla Model S at our 2014 wedding.  Eventually we’ll have a more more fuel efficient vehicle.

A friend’s new Tesla Model 3 on South Grand

More and more friends now have EVs. Recently a friend picked me up for lunch in her new Tesla Model 3 (shown above). Another friend and his wife are new owners of a Chevy Bolt. As an apartment dweller the idea of home charging seems challenging, if not impossible.

Last month I shared the following on this blog’s Facebook page:

Would be nice to see a former/current gas station in St. Louis go this direction…“The first gas station in the U.S….

Posted by UrbanReview ST LOUIS on Friday, September 27, 2019

Here’s a direct link to the CNBC article.

The St. Louis region has hundreds of current and former gas stations, it would be nice to see just one make the switch. But where? With most EV owners charging at home at night, with some able to  at work during the day, is there a need for such a charging station?

I remember when this former BP gas station was built at Lackland & Midland, it closed sometime between 2008 & 2012.

One thing is certain, as society switches from ICE vehicles to EVs many more gas stations will close. There just won’t be the need for some much of our metropolitan area devoted to refueling ICE vehicles.  Perhaps as we transition from ownership to autonomous vehicles, that we just summon as needed, current gas stations will become places for these vehicles to wait for the next customer.

The St. Louis region does have EV charges spread around, but many are hit or miss. If everyone is charging at home and their EV gets over 200 miles on a charge why bother with public charging stations? Well, an owner might drive more miles than originally planned. Others might be visiting St. Louis and want to add to their available distance.

A Chevy Bolt EV charging at 620 Lucas in downtown St. Louis.
Google Maps & PlugShare.org list this auto body shop at St. Charles Rock Rd & Hanley as a place to charge your EV. Perhaps when they’re open…

With EV prices now within reach of Millennial and Gen-Z buyers they’ll become more common. More manufacturers are releasing EVs, or will within the new few years. These include a second Porsche EV, the first of five Volvo EVs, and future ID models from Volkswagen. Ford is planning several EVs, including a Mustang-inspired crossover.

To facilitate sales when EVs arrive in Ford showrooms, they recently announced access to a charger network:

Ford doesn’t currently offer any electric vehicles, but it announced Thursday that, once it does, it will offer the largest North American network of electric vehicle chargers of any automaker — including Tesla.

Unlike Tesla, though, Ford didn’t build this charging network on its own. Working with EV charging companies Greenlots and Electrify America, Ford has created what it calls the FordPass Charging Network. When needed, users will be directed to one of the network’s chargers using an app or in the vehicle’s central touch screen. (CNN)

It’ll be interesting to see if two years of free charging helps move Ford EVs. In a future post I’ll look at issues & solutions regarding home charging, including at apartments and on street. I’d also like to do a post on redeveloping former gas stations.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Will Paul McKee’s Urgent Care, Hospital, and Medical School Open By June 2023?

October 20, 2019 Featured, North City, NorthSide Project, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will Paul McKee’s Urgent Care, Hospital, and Medical School Open By June 2023?
 
Please vote below

On Friday the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a bill (103aa) worth $8 million in incentives for developer Paul McKee:

The bill, which passed on a 23-2 vote, will help fund a three-bed urgent care center at Jefferson and Cass avenues that, along with infrastructure improvements, will cost about $21 million.

Under a revised plan negotiated with city development officials, developers must prove by the end if 2021 that they have financing for a larger second phase beyond the initial three-bed facility in order to qualify for all the tax-increment financing, or TIF, subsidies.

That second phase — a $73 million, 103,000-square-foot hospital with a medical school  — would have to be completed by June 2023 before some  subsidies are paid. (Post-Dispatch)

Today’s poll is about this subject.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

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