9th & 10th Streets Need To Be Two-Way North of Cole Street

 

 Five years ago I suggested 9th & 10th Streets through the Columbus Square neighborhood (Cole to Cass) be uncoupled so that both are two-way streets again. See Columbus Square: 9th & 10th Streets from May 19, 2014. In short, 9th & 10th have been a one-way couplet (opposite directions) to facilitate …

Sunday Poll: Should Roe v. Wade Be Overturned?

 

 On Friday the Missouri House passed a restrictive abortion bill. Gov. Parsons is expected to sign it into law. Missouri’s Republican-led House on Friday passed sweeping legislation designed to survive court challenges, which would ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. If enacted, the ban would be among the most …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 5 of 2019-2020 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their  5th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. Today’s agenda includes seven (7) new bills: B.B.#40 – Green/Ingrassia/Rice/Guenther/Navarro/Narayan – An ordinance submitting to the qualified voters of the City, a proposal to amend the Charter of the City by adding a new Article, …

Opinion: Climate Change Making Natural Weather More Intense, Frequent

 

 The St. Louis region has experienced flooding events since its founding, so it’s easy to think current flooding is usual Spring flooding. It’s not. The impact of climate change on snowfall in the Midwest and Plains is uncertain, but projections suggest that heavy snow events will become more likely in …

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Understanding Vehicle Size Classifications

February 4, 2019 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on Understanding Vehicle Size Classifications
 

Later this week we’re taking the train to Chicago, our annual trip to the media preview of the Chicago Auto Show. So I have vehicles on my mind right now.

One aspect I find interesting is the various size classifications of passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs.

The size class for cars is based on interior passenger and cargo volumes as described below. The size class for trucks is defined by the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the weight of the vehicle and its carrying capacity. Fuel economy regulations do not apply to heavy-duty vehicles, so they are not tested.  (FuelEconomy.gov)

Below is how cars & trucks are classified:

Source: fuelecnomy.gov

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata we bought last year competes in the mid-size class with vehicles such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima. Chevy & Ford are getting out of the midsize sedan market, each to cease production of the Malibu & Fusion, respectively.

Our car, however, it’s not a mid-size — it’s a large (full) size!

Our Sonata, left, has 106 cubic feet inside plus a 16 cubic foot trunk for a total of 122. The Camry & Accord have 118 & 119, respectively. 120 or more defines a large car.

Prior to this car I’d owned subcompacts, compacts, and one mid-size (87 Volvo). I’d never even driven a full-size (large) car until January 2013 when Enterprise upgraded the rental I needed to attend an uncle’s funeral in Amarillo, TX. It seemed huge, as did our car last year. I’m used to it now, the extra interior room makes it easier for me to get in/out of the car.

The Honda Accord grew from a subcompact to compact to mid-size to large, before returning to midsize for the 9th generation starting in 2013.

Trucks are different. Back in the 70s pickups were either regular or a tiny compact (think Mazda-based Ford Courier). Today’s mid-sized pickups are bigger than the full-size pickups of my childhood.

Many SUVs on the road today are car-based crossovers, like the Honda CR-V. It is based on the compact Honda Civic platform. True SUVs have body-on-frame construction, not unibody like passenger cars. Even still, you get SUVs based off different sizes of truck chassis.

Used to be every car maker trying to compete would have at least one passenger car per size classification.  Now, that’s optional — but they must have an SUV/CUV in every possible size & price point.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Sunday Poll: Which Team (if any) Are You Rooting For In The Super Bowl?

February 3, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Which Team (if any) Are You Rooting For In The Super Bowl?
 
Please vote below

I’ve said before I’m not a sports fan, that’s still true. To me the most interesting thing about the Super Bowl is the commercials — I can watch those online now.

This year is more intriguing for some reason. Maybe it’s because of the unique stadium architecture, news stories talking about the age difference between the quarterbacks, or the Patriots’ recent Super Bowl record:

The team owns the record for most Super Bowls reached (nine) and won (five) by a head coach–quarterback tandem, and most Super Bowl appearances overall (eleven). Currently, the team is tied with the 49ers and Cowboys for the second most Super Bowl wins with five, after the Steelers, who have six. (Wikipedia)

It’s in my nature to root for the underdog, give someone else a chance. Then we turn to the St…uh…Los Angeles Rams.

The franchise has won three NFL championships, and is the only one to win championships representing three different cities (Cleveland in 1945, Los Angeles in 1951, and St. Louis in 1999) (Wikipedia)

Three championships…but only one Super Bowl…when they were still the St. Louis Rams. Of course the Rams were again in the Super Bowl the year after their only win…to lose to the New England Patriots. They meet again.

If you’re like me you’ve seen reports of loyal Rams fans still in St. Louis, as well as lawyer Terry Crouppen’s new ad critical of Ram’s owner Stan Kroenke. So today I’m curious which team you’re rooting for…or if you care.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Last Meeting of St. Louis Board of Aldermen Before Spring Elections

February 1, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on Last Meeting of St. Louis Board of Aldermen Before Spring Elections
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 31st meeting of the 2018-2019 session. This is their last meeting before the March 5th primary and April 2nd general.

Since no new bills could get through the process before the end of the 2018-2019 session, there are no new bills being introduced. Today’s agenda includes a long list of bills that will likely get passed and sent to the mayor for her signature.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2018-2019 session.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Better Together Merger Plan Doesn’t Go Far Enough

January 30, 2019 Featured, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: Better Together Merger Plan Doesn’t Go Far Enough
 
Herbert (Bert) Walker III, a cousin of George Herbert Walker Bush, speaking at the Better Together kickoff event on November 19, 2013. Emcees from KMOX, John Hancock and Michael Kelley

I moved to St. Louis in 1990, at age 23.  I was born & raised in Oklahoma City, OK.

As a child OKC was the largest U.S. city. Better put, it was the biggest in terms of land area. It had annexed itself into this position. As of 2016 it had fallen to the 8th largest — still capable of holding 7 major cities within its boundaries.

For most U.S. cities, annexation was the norm. Between 1764 and 1876 St. Louis grew in physical size through annexation. But after The Great Divorce the boundaries of the City of St. Louis were locked into place. At the time they thought it would be many decades before development pushed up against the rural city limits. They were very wrong.

Had the divorce not happened, allowing St. Louis city to exist outside of St. Louis County, the city would’ve annexed small towns, villages, and unincorporated areas. Cites that could annex — did. This enabled them to grow physically and keep outward moving population within the tax base.

Without the ability to annex, it has suffered greatly. Population loss, topping crime rankings, etc. By extension, the region has also suffered greatly. For the region to attract investment, employers, etc we must take action. A unified city is the only answer.

By creating one big St. Louis we change the outside perception of St. Louis as a dying core city that lost most of its population and is among the most dangerous places. The new St. Louis, the size of the city & county, would become the 10th largest U.S. city, by land area — still smaller than OKC (8th) and Houston (9th).

Let that sink in. If we combined St. Louis city & county the total land area (588 square miles) would still be smaller than Houston and 8 other U.S. cities.  Total population would move us up as well.

It will cause problems too. There will be less elected officials, including minorities. However, I think having more investment, jobs, opportunities, etc is worth eliminating fiefdoms.

At this point I’ve only browsed Better Together’s 160 page report, but I’m disappointed by the fragmentation it would leave in place. Zoning & trash hauling, are two examples.

Here are the non-scientific results from the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Which “merger” plan for St. Louis do you prefer?

  1. Consolidate St. Louis City and all St. Louis County municipalities into one: 23 [53.49%]
  2. Add St. Louis City back into St. Louis County, along with all the existing municipalities: 13 [30.23%]
  3. Other: 4 [9.3%]
    1. Merge and include the schools the city schools need the funding.
    2. Require any “city” to have its own fire department, otherwise disincorporate.
    3. incremental cooperation
    4. merge city and 4 counties
  4. Unsure: 2 [4.65%]
  5. None, leave things exactly as they are: 1 [2.33%]

No doubt this topic will consume a lot of attention over the next year plus.  The Great Divorce was a huge mistake, with huge negative consequences — it’s going to take a huge solution. My gut feeling is it needs to be bigger than proposed.

— Steve Patterson

Restaurant Space Available In Historic Union Market

January 28, 2019 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, Local Business Comments Off on Restaurant Space Available In Historic Union Market
 

Union Market, North Broadway,  is an interesting building.

Union Market in February 2010. New floors were added for hotel rooms.

It is considered a local landmark.

Mauran, Russell and Crowell designed the market in a Eclectic Revival Style in 1924.

One of only four extant market buildings remaining in St. Louis, Union Market was constructed in 1924-25 as the city´s largest, most architecturally significant and functionally progressive market. Occupying a full city block, the building´s strong presence and individuality are established by bold rhythms of large Gothic arches and battered buttressing at the lower stories. Speckled buff brick curtain walls are handsomely accented by horizontal bands of terra cotta ornament. The three-story garage above the market space was one of the City´s early indoor parking facilities.   For over five decades, Union Market has served as one of the City´s two principal markets and has continued a tradition of marketing established on the same site during the Civil War.  Union Market is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (St. Louis City Landmark #103)

More on the building, including pre-hotel photos on the early 80s nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. As a public market, it was a failure (read nomination). It’s had a tough life, see timeline and lease battle details.

On December 31, 2018 the hotel restaurant, J.F. Sanfilippo’s Italian Restaurant, closed after 28 years.

J.F. Sanfilippo’s Italian Restaurant will close after service on Dec. 31, owner Joe Sanfilippo announced Tuesday. The restaurant has operated inside the Drury Inn & Suites at 705 North Broadway downtown since February 1991. Sanfilippo tells Off the Menu a number of factors went into the decision to close, including the departure of major companies from downtown over the years to the arrival this decade of Ballpark Village. (Post-Dispatch)

No doubt the reduction of the downtown workforce, Ballpark Village, and fewer conventions have had an impact. My only time in this building was on Saturday April 21, 2012 — for dinner solo using a Groupon.

At 7:22pm I took this photo of the empty 80s looking dining room.
At 7:50pm I photographed my pasta con broccoli.
And at 8:10pm I photographed my dessert.

As I recall, the food & service met or exceeded my expectations. The place just felt dated…bad 80s dated. Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t close earlier than NYE. I wish them the best of luck at their Chesterfield location.

The closed J.F. Sanfilippo’s Italian Restaurant earlier this month

I do hope someone will open a new restaurant in this space — after changing the interior. XFL games begin in one year.

— Steve Patterson

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