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

 

 This is my 15th annual look at St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, but my first as a resident living North of the street named for the civil rights leader. It’s hard not to get depressed by the lack of investment in this corridor. — Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Leaders Prioritize St. Louis’ Central Corridor?

 

 The City of St. Louis stretches a long distance from the Northern-most tip to the Southern-most tip, following the curve of the Mississippi River. St. Louis radiated out in all directions from its starting point on the riverfront, but the most coherent and focust development happened along a spine running …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 29 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 29th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Two bills were introduced last week that weren’t on version 1 or 2 of that agenda.  See BB 220 (Redevelopment Plan for 5467-5559 Delmar) and BB 221 (Redevelopment Plan for 5539-5551 Pershing) Today’s agenda includes ten …

Readers Mixed on Road Conditions Following Snow Storm

 

 I left our new apartment briefly Friday morning, before the snow arrived, using power wheelchair. I didn’t leave again until Sunday morning, driving our car this time. On Sunday we went to Creve Coeur, Brentwood, and a few other places. By then roads were generally acceptable, but I can imagine …

Recent Articles:

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 21 of 2018-2019 Session

October 26, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 21 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 21st meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes four(4) new bills:

  • B.B.#149 – Bosley – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to amend and make technical corrections to Ordinance 70524, which vacated above-surface, surface and sub-surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel in several streets and alleys bounded by St. Louis Ave. on the north, 22nd on the east, Cass on the south and Jefferson/Parnell on the west in the City, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#150 – Ingrassia – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate above surface, surface and sub-surface rights for travel in the 10 foot wide north/south alley, the remaining portion of the 20 foot wide east/west alley and the 25 foot wide north/south alley in City Block 2273 as bounded by Union Pacific Railroad, 21st, Gratiot and 22nd, and a portion of Gratiot beginning 134.01 feet east of 22nd and extending 73.5 feet eastwardly to a portion of Gratiot previously vacated by Ordinance 65340 in the City.
  • B.B.#151 – Bosley – 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 the 15 foot wide east-west alley beginning at Salisbury St. and extending southeastwardly 125.5 feet to the 20 foot wide north-south alley in City Block 1174 as bounded by 19th St., Mallinckrodt, 20th St. and Salisbury in the City, Missouri, as hereinafter described, in accordance with Charter authority, and in conformity with Section l4 of Article XXI of the Charter and imposing certain conditions on such vacation
  • B.B.#152 – Davis – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Rev. Dr. W.H. Goatley Jr., which shall begin at the intersection of North Leffingwell and Franklin and run west on Franklin to the intersection of T.E. Huntley and Franklin.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Readers Split on Missouri Hyperloop

October 24, 2018 Featured, Missouri, Transportation Comments Off on Readers Split on Missouri Hyperloop
 

My grandfathers saw many new things during their lifetimes. Both were born in the 19th century, 1886 & 1899. Transportation changed dramatically during their lifetimes. With that in mind, I’d like to think the hyperloop concept can become a reality in my lifetime.

A Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and/or freight transportation, first used to describe an open-source vactrain design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX. Drawing heavily from Robert Goddard’s vactrain, a hyperloop is a sealed tube or system of tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or objects at high speed while being very efficient.

Elon Musk’s version of the concept, first publicly mentioned in 2012, incorporates reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and axial compressors. (Wikipedia)

Being among the first in the world to have a hyperloop, St. Louis to Kansas City, is great for the imagination. We spent 2 nights last weekend in Kansas City, I drove all but about 45 minutes of the round trip. The idea of getting there in a half hour rather than nearly four hours is incredibly appealing. The boost to both regions, and to Columbia MO at the halfway point, would be huge.

The skeptic in me, however, takes over my brain — kicking aside the dreamer who’d go to KC just for lunch. The season 4 episode of The Simpsons called Marge Vs The Monorail keeps coming to mind.

The tube would utilize the existing I-70 right-of-way

Driving the route for hours helped me see lots of potential problems. The engineers that say, for nearly $10 billion, a St. Louis to Kansas City hyperloop is feasible likely figured a lot of this into the costs.

The median in many places is narrow, and is designed to drain water. Guard rail would need to be used on both sides to prevent cars from slamming into new center supports.
Other areas a very wide
The most common issue is bridges & power lines over the highway. Presumably the tube would go up & over these bridges, power lines would be raised clear the top of the tube.

Despite the numerous obstacles, I do think it’s worth keeping tabs on to see if it develops into a viable transportation option. It was in the recent news:

Saudi Arabia has pulled a planned deal with Virgin Hyperloop One after Sir Richard Branson said he would freeze ties with the kingdom until more details are known about the disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to people briefed on talks between the parties. The two sides were planning to sign a deal for a new feasibility study at a ceremony during the upcoming Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, the people familiar with the situation added. The deal would have focused on manufacturing, knowledge transfer and route alignments for the futuristic transport system. (Financial Times)

Another source says Virgin HyperLoop One says the project has not been cancelled. Undisputed is the fact that billionaire Sir Richard Branson resigned as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll readers were split:

Q: Agree or disagree: Missouri can’t afford a “HyperLoop” between St. Louis and Kansas City.

  • Strongly agree: 6 [25%]
  • Agree: 3 [12.5%]
  • Somewhat agree: 2 [8.33%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [4.17%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [8.33%]
  • Disagree: 4 [16.67%]
  • Strongly disagree: 4 [16.67%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 2 [8.33%]

The agree group totaled 45.83% while the disagree group totaled slightly less at 41.67%. Again, these are non-scientific.

If hyperloop becomes viable, being among the first in the world would bring positive attention and money to Missouri. In the meantime hopefully voters will approve Proposition D on November 6th.

— Steve Patterson

 

The St. Louis Region Needs To Let Go of Fragmentation

October 22, 2018 Featured, STL Region Comments Off on The St. Louis Region Needs To Let Go of Fragmentation
 
A 2011 list of municipalities in St. Louis County

On August 22, 1876 voters in St. Louis County, which included the City of St. Louis, voted on separation. It failed.

The vote took place 22 Aug 1876, and the initial count indicated that the separation question had failed by just over 100 votes. Supporters of separation then brought charges, including fraud, and a recount was ordered. The recount took four months so it was late 1876 before it was determined that the vote for separation had passed. The story of the split is really much more complex than that, so consult the reading list below for more in-depth material. (St. Louis County Library)

Other sources, including St. Louis Day by Day by Frances Hurd Stadler indicates the recount was finalized two months later on October 22, 1876 — 142 years ago today. Regardless of when the recount determined the measure had passed, it was in 1877 when the parties went their separate ways.

This was one of the worst things to happen to the entire St. Louis region. The City of St. Louis has suffered the most, but St. Louis County is now experiencing increased poverty, population loss, etc.

Earlier this year the St. Louis region dropped one spot to 21st:

Overall, the St. Louis metropolitan area, which comprises 14 counties and the city of St. Louis, grew slightly but at a much slower rate than other parts of the U.S., based on population estimates taken from July 1, 2016, to July 1 of last year.

The Baltimore area, which had been ranked 21st, swapped spots on the population list with the St. Louis region. The city of Baltimore saw a numeric population drop greater than St. Louis city, but Baltimore’s loss represented a 0.9 percent decrease, compared with a 1.4 percent loss in St. Louis. (Post-Dispatch)

On October 11th St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie made a surprise announcement that he wouldn’t seek a third term next Spring. In his announcement he said this:

Government in the region needs to be completely remade from the ground up. It does not work in St. Louis City, it does not work in the poorer areas of St. Louis County. We accept that rich people get excellent services because they wall themselves into suburban enclaves and avoid engaging with the rest of the region, and we accept that poor people will have poor services because they are poor. We accept that the middle class will endure a series of choices driven by anxiety and fear rather than love and optimism.

In 2000, a year after moving here, I was riding my bike on a weekend as I often do in Forest Park. A driver began a confrontation with me that ended in an assault near Skinker and Forsyth. Afterwards, angry and annoyed but not particularly hurt, I called the police. The response I got was not, “Are you ok?” but “What side of Skinker were you on?” This is our regional government in a nutshell. It first asks not what someone needs, but where they live. What you get is determined by your address.

We largely got here by accident. But with decades of perspective on this dynamic, we all know it’s the central problem in the St. Louis region. It’s time to do something about it. My parting shot in my role as alderman is this: We need to erase all the artificial boundaries of City and County and Municipalities. The only way this region will ever work is if we are governed as one region, where everyone pays into the same pot, everyone has a seat at the same table to determine the regional direction, and resources are distributed equitably. Tinkering around the edges is metaphorically the same as rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. People are literally dying because of the way this region’s government is structured.

After 8 years in government, my wish is we stop tinkering around the edges of an obviously un-salvageable and routinely harmful regional dynamic – We should be the St. Louis of 1.3 million people we want to be. (Ward 24 St Louis)

I agree completely! I’m also hugely suspicious of anything funded by Rex Sinquefield, including Better Together.

I don’t know what the solution looks like, but I strongly believe doing nothing will continue to hurt the entire region.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Can Missouri Afford A Hyperloop Between St. Louis & Kansas City?

October 21, 2018 Featured, Missouri, Sunday Poll, Transportation Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Can Missouri Afford A Hyperloop Between St. Louis & Kansas City?
 
Please vote below

Today’s poll involves a rather technical new idea, so it makes sense to look at what it is first:

A Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and/or freight transportation, first used to describe an open-source vactrain design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX.[1] Drawing heavily from Robert Goddard’s vactrain, a hyperloop is a sealed tube or system of tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or objects at high speed while being very efficient.

Elon Musk’s version of the concept, first publicly mentioned in 2012,[2] incorporates reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and axial compressors.[3]

The Hyperloop Alpha concept was first published in August 2013, proposing and examining a route running from the Los Angeles region to the San Francisco Bay Area, roughly following the Interstate 5 corridor. The paper conceived of a hyperloop system that would propel passengers along the 350-mile (560 km) route at a speed of 760 mph (1,200 km/h), allowing for a travel time of 35 minutes, which is considerably faster than current rail or air travel times. Preliminary cost estimates for this LA–SF suggested route were included in the white paper—US$6 billion for a passenger-only version, and US$7.5 billion for a somewhat larger-diameter version transporting passengers and vehicles[1]—although transportation analysts had doubts that the system could be constructed on that budget; some analysts claimed that the Hyperloop would be several billion dollars overbudget, taking into consideration construction, development, and operation costs.[4][5][6]

The Hyperloop concept has been explicitly “open-sourced” by Musk and SpaceX, and others have been encouraged to take the ideas and further develop them.

To that end, a few companies have been formed, and several interdisciplinary student-led teams are working to advance the technology.[7] SpaceX built an approximately 1-mile-long (1.6 km) subscale track for its pod design competition at its headquarters in Hawthorne, California.[8]

Some experts are skeptical, saying that the proposals ignore the expenses and risks of developing the technology and that the idea is “completely impractical”.[9] Claims have also been made that the Hyperloop is too susceptible to disruption from a power outage or terror attacks to be considered safe.[9] (Wikipedia)

Last week Missouri received lots of national press because one group is saying a Hyperloop between St. Louis and Kansas City, with a midway stop in Columbia, is feasible:

Virgin Hyperloop One has announced the results of a feasibility study on a planned route connecting Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis. The study, which has yet to be published in full, purports that the route between the three cities is commercially viable. Researchers at Black & Veatch examined the engineering, viability and economic challenges of a proposed line running parallel to I-70.

The release doesn’t go into specifics, but Hyperloop One must feel justified in saying that the route is worth the effort. It claims that the number of people traveling between the three cities would increase by 80 percent, from 16,000 to 51,000. In addition, the local economy is said to be $410 million better off, thanks to reduced journey times, with an extra $91 million coming in savings from a less congested I-70.

Virgin Hyperloop One has doubled down on its claim that journey times between Kansas City and St. Louis could be cut to under half an hour. The release suggests that the trip would now last 28 minutes, with the time to Columbia — roughly equidistant between the two — being cut to 15 minutes. (Engaget)

From the press release:

The news follows on an historic congressional testimony of September 2018 by Virgin Hyperloop One before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the necessity of a new regulatory framework for hyperloop systems.

Two other states are currently studying hyperloop through in-depth feasibility studies—Ohio and Colorado. In addition, Ohio is also participating in the first U.S. Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) of a hyperloop system and Texas has announced its intent to start the process.

Kansas City KS engineering firm Black & Veatch had no Hyperloop study press release on their site.

Here’s more specifics on the user experience:

Travelers would go to what’s called a portal, which will likely be first in transit hubs of major cities before spreading outward to smaller ones. There, they will enter a large tube and board a pod inside of it with 15 to 30 others. The tubes can be built on elevated pylons, underground, through the ocean or at ground-level, and the pod will be roughly the size of a subway car; the tube would be the diameter of a subway tunnel. The door will close behind them, along with the entrance to the tunnel.

The air from the tube will be pulled out so the environment is as close to a vacuum as possible. Airline pilots soar at 30,000 feet in part because it allows them to conserve fuel with low air resistance, and the hyperloop can do that inside the tube. Instead of moving on wheels like a train, the hyperloop will levitate magnetically, allowing it to avoid more resistance. The pod will be accelerated by using electric power and piloted by a computer, zooming forth like a gigantic, passenger-bearing air hockey puck. As it accelerates, floating in the near-airless tube, the pod will be able to coast long distances without losing momentum — like a bike downhill — and the computer will generate bursts of power as needed to maintain extremely high speed. (CNBC)

See articles from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star. Total project cost would be $7.5 billion to $10 billion — from private & public sources. A round-trip ticket would be about the same as gas, about $60.

Sounds great, right? Many say, “not so fast.”

If the Hyperloop’s purpose is to address large-scale urban mobility, then there are many other options already deserving of public funding and attention—ones that do not require a hard rebooting of the entire urban world to be realized. We could increase funding for Amtrak. We could make our existing subways run on time, safely. We could fix our bridges. If boredom is already setting in, recall the fate of the Concorde. We once lived in a world that boasted a supersonic airliner, capable of whisking passengers from New York to London in three and a half hours—but this was a very qualified use of the word “we.” Who exactly could book a ticket on the Concorde was determined entirely by wealth, and, as such, that now lost transatlantic wormhole never felt particularly futuristic. Certainly, it failed to revolutionize international transportation for the masses. Today, it’s as if this feat of aeronautical engineering never existed. (The New Yorker)

More criticism from MIT’s Technology Review. Hopefully that’s enough background, here’s today’s poll:

This poll will automatically close at 8pm tonight.

My husband and I are in Kansas City for the weekend. We usually take Amtrak, but we drove this time because we needed a car to visit a museum that’s inaccessible to public transit. Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts on the St. Louis to Kansas City drive, train ride, and proposed Hyperloop.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 20 of 2018-2019 Session

October 19, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 20 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 20th meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes ten (10) new bills, including a few on candidates & elections:

  • B.B.#138 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4328 Swan
  • B.B.#139 – Arnowitz – An ordinance relating to the employees of theOffice of the Recorder of Deeds’ salaries in cases of voluntaryDemotion or position reallocation, repealing Section 6(b)(2) And Section 6(c)(1) of Ordinance 70336, effective August 14, 2016, pertaining to the same and enacting in lieu thereof new Sections 6(b)(2) and 6(c)(2) pertaining to the same; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#140 – Spencer – An ordinance amending Section 1 of Ordinance 62571, pertaining to exemptions from the graduated Business license tax, codified as Section 8.07.020 of the Revised Code of the City of St Louis, by adding a new Subsection 5, to Section 1 of Ordinance No. 62571, creating An exemption from the graduated business license for the Local farmers selling their agricultural products and products Produced therefrom directly to consumers solely at farmers’ Markets; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#141 – Green – An ordinance pertaining to commercial semi-trailer Trucks, also known as a semis, or tractor-trailers; prohibiting Such traffic along Utah Street from the west boundary of Grand To the east boundary of Morgan Ford Road, exempting from Said prohibition emergency vehicles, including privately owned tow trucks when providing emergency service to non- commercial vehicles, vehicles making deliveries to nearby Addresses, and vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight of less than 26,000 pounds; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#142 – Vaccaro – An ordinance amending Section 4, of Ordinance 49623 approved November 9th, 1959, codified as Section 4.18.050 of the City Code of Ordinances, pertaining to theFiremen’s Retirement System to allow the retirement system,with the approval of the board of trustees, to enter into cooperative agreements to transfer creditable service between the retirement system and any other retirement plan established by the state of Missouri or any political subdivision or instrumentality of the state when a member who has been employed in a position covered by one plan is employed in a position covered by another, in accordance with section 105.691 Revised Statues of the state of Missouri and the policies and procedures established by the board of trustees.
    B.B.#143 – Navarro – An ordinance repealing paragraph (C) of Section Two of Ordinance 63777, approved on June 4, 1996, as amended by Ordinance 64546, approved on December 18, 1998, and by Ordinance 68200, approved on June 4, 2008 and in lieu thereof a new paragraph is enacted extending the period of time during which the Cathedral Square Special Business District shall be permitted to collect the tax within the boundaries of the district therein established; and containing effectiveness and emergency clauses.
  • B.B.#144 – Coatar – An ordinance amending Section 2, of Ordinance No. 58267, approved March 19, 1981 and codified as Section 2.08.060 of the Revised Code of Ordinances of the City, pertaining to candidate payments to the political party upon whose ticket he or she proposes to run as a candidate and seeks nomination, one percent of the annual salary of the office for which he or she is a candidate, to permit a candidate to submit said payments to the Board of Election Commissioners at the time the candidate files his or her declaration of candidacy; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#145 – Coatar – An ordinance revising Section 2.08.120, of the City Revised Code of Ordinances, pertaining to the Board of Election Commissioners preparing sample official ballots, so as to provide for the placement of candidates on said ballots in the order in which they are to appear on the official ballot rather than alphabetically as is currently provided; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#146 – Coatar – An ordinance repealing the first paragraph of Section 2, of Ordinance No. 66193, approved March 10, 2004, codified as Section 2.08.330 of the City Revised Code of Ordinances, pertaining to the nominating process for a nonpartisan candidate, and in lieu thereof inserting a new first paragraph in Section 2, changing said process so that nonpartisan candidates may be nominated by a petition signed by registered voters, rather than a certificate signed by registered electors; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#147 – Coatar – An ordinance revising Section 1, (B)(1), of Ordinance
    No. 59982, approved July 31st, 1986, codified as Section 2.08.400(B)(1), of the City Revised Code of Ordinances, pertaining to the last date on which a candidate may withdraw from a primary election from forty (40) days prior to the date of the primary election to fifty (50) days prior to the date of the primary election; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#148 – Navarro – An ordinance repealing paragraph (f) of Section Two of Ordinance 62622, approved on May 29, 1992, as amended
    by Ordinance 63840, approved on July 19, 1996, as amended by
    Ordinance 64935, approved on May 17, 2000, as amended by Ordinance 68202, approved December 8, 2008 and in lieu thereof a new paragraph is enacted extending the period of time during which the Central West End North Special Business District shall be permitted to collect the tax within the boundaries of the district therein established; and containing effectiveness and emergency clauses.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

More than a week after the big snow and #ada curb ramps are still blocked, this is 9th/Cole. Hard to ⁦‪Explore St. Louis‬⁩ when snow is pushed into pedestrian route. #stl ... See MoreSee Less

15 hours ago  ·  

Couldn’t board the #32‬⁩ bus at the 10th/O’Fallon bus stop because the #ADA ramp was used for storing snow. Bus made a 2nd stop to pick me up. #stl ... See MoreSee Less

5 days ago  ·  

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe