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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Sunday Poll: Which Merger Plan (if any) Do You Prefer?

January 27, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Which Merger Plan (if any) Do You Prefer?
 
Please vote below

The 2020 election cycle has started. I’m not talking about presidential race either, I’m talking about competing efforts to determine how — if at all — the St. Louis region is organized.

Local mayors and elected officials made official Thursday night their effort to stop any forced consolidation of municipal governments in St. Louis County by a statewide vote and to keep any decisions about the shape of government in local residents’ hands.

The voice vote came without dissent at a meeting of the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis at Chesterfield City Hall. (Post-Dispatch)

This is to counter a statewide vote on a plan backed by a nonprofit called Better Together. See St. Louis city and county: Divorced in 1876. Remarried in 2020?

This is the basis for today’s non-scientific poll:

This poll will close at 8pm, any efforts to swing the poll outcome will result in early closure.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 30 of 2018-2019 Session

January 25, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 30 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 30th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. This is the first full board meeting of 2019.

Today’s agenda includes four (4) new bills covering a wide variety of issues:

  • B.B.#233 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of the Department of Human Services, to accept funding in an amount not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) from the OASIS Institute and to enter into and execute agreements with the OASIS Institute in substantially the same form as Exhibit A and Exhibit B, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, for the purpose of providing two fall prevention programs for older adults; appropriating said funds and authorizing the Director of the Department of Human Services, upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, to expend such funds as permitted by the agreements; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#234 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of the Department of Human Services, to enter into and execute an agreement in substantially the same form as Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, with the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (MA4) for the purpose of providing certain home and community based services in an amount not to exceed seventeen thousand dollars ($17,000); appropriating said funds and authorizing the Director of the Department of Human Services, upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, to expend such funds as permitted by the agreement; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#235 – Kennedy – An ordinance amending Section One of Ordinance 67588, to exclude those blocks of N. Kingshighway Blvd. between Delmar Blvd. and Wells Avenue from the Eighteenth Ward Liquor Control District.
  • B.B.#236 – Roddy – 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 a section of Spring beginning approximately 445 feet south of Forest Park and continuing southwardly 30 feet to its terminus at Market/Interstate 64 in the City.

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

Opinion: We Must Invest Beyond The Central Corridor

January 23, 2019 Featured, North City, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: We Must Invest Beyond The Central Corridor
 
Campbell House Museum on Locust, the last mansion from Lucas Place

From the early days to St. Louis’ founding in 1764, being up from the Mississippi River was a good thing. Namely, those who spread along the banks north & south of the original spot were subject to flooding. Those uphill from the center weren’t subject to floods.

Following the cholera epidemic and fire in 1849, wealthy citizens became convinced that it was no longer desirable to live in downtown St. Louis. James Lucas and his sister Anne Lucas Hunt soon offered a solution. They developed the idea of the “Place,” a neighborhood with deed restrictions that ensured it remained apart from the city and general population. The main thoroughfare was aptly called Lucas Place. Originally Lucas Place (now Locust Street) extended between 13th and 16th streets when the city limits were just one block to the west between 17th and 18th streets. When established, Lucas Place was west of the developed portion of the city, making it St. Louis’ first “suburban” neighborhood.

Lucas priced the lots so that only the wealthy could afford the live there. He also built restrictions into the deeds so that the properties could not be used for commercial purposes. (Campbell House Museum)

As the city’s population ballooned Lucas Place was no longer the desirable location it once was, so the wealthy moved further west.

Originally, the streets around the intersection of Lindell and Grand featured row after row of stately houses, mansions, and even a private street. By the late 19th century, the area had become the wealthiest neighborhood in the city, home to some the most important members of St. Louis society.

Sitting west of the central city and along major streetcar routes, Midtown proved highly desirable to those fleeing the coal-fueled pollution further east. Sitting on a hill, upwind from the central city, the neighborhood began to receive the accouterments befitting its tony status in St. Louis. Vandeventer Place, a private street on the northern edge of the neighborhood, served as the crown jewel of the rapidly expanding area.

Platted by the famous German-American surveyor Julius Pitzman, Vandeventer Place exacted strict obedience from the affluent homeowners who purchased plots along its regal tree-lined boulevard. The new mansions that filled the private street conformed to rigid design and expense requirements that only the wealthiest industrialists in St. Louis could afford. Interestingly, the governance of the street required unanimous votes to change the street’s charter. (St. Louis Magazine)

In 2014 I posted about the dire economic disinvestment in the north county area at Chambers and Lewis & Clark. Click image for May 2014 post.

The Central West End was next, and this continues today. Reinvestment has been seen throughout this “Central Corridor” for a few decades now. As North St. Louis continues to hallow out, we’re seeing North St. Louis County experience devastating disinvestment. With typical suburban development patterns, North St. Louis County is a very large area. It still has nice neighborhoods, but the signs of change are all around. Take Spanish Lake, for example:

When three nearby Shop ‘n Save stores closed in November, it left shoppers fewer options and created what the USDA classifies as a food desert.

Spanish Lake is in the northeast corner of unincorporated St. Louis County. The cities of Florissant and Ferguson are on its west side; the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are on the east.

The population is just under 20,000 and has been shrinking for decades, while the poverty rate has increased.

Until recently, Spanish Lake residents had several options for grocery shopping. Three Shop ‘n Save stores located along the western edge of the community provided easy access to fresh, affordable produce. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Those who’ve been on the fence about moving elsewhere are going to reconsider. I can’t say that North St. Louis County has reached a tipping point, but it feels like it’s close.

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll was about reinvesting in areas north & south of the Central Corridor.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis’ “Central Corridor” (West from Arch) has always been a high priority, areas North & South should just accept this.

  • Strongly agree: 2 [6.06%]
  • Agree: 6 [18.18%]
  • Somewhat agree: 3 [9.09%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 2 [6.06%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [9.09%]
  • Disagree: 9 [27.27%]
  • Strongly disagree: 8 [24.24%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

No, we should not accept this. We can’t afford, as a region, to write off huge areas. Unfortunately, I think the regional pattern was set long before any of us were born. That’s not to say we can’t rethink our approach. I just don’t see the leadership or willpower to take on the change that would be necessary.

— Steve Patterson

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

January 21, 2019 Featured, MLK Jr. Drive, North City Comments Off on 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.

After decades at Tucker & MLK, the Post-Dispatch will soon be moving to smaller offices nearby.
Dr. Martin Luther King Drive ends a block East of Tucker, at Hadley. Hopefully the new owners of the building will do something to improve the pedestrian experience along the West side of Hadley.
Last year this building at 14th was being prepped to reopen, which it did.
Been watching the back of this building fall away for many years now.
A message on the board covering the door of another vacant building, just to the West of the previous.
Next doors is a charming old service station. This is located on the corner where 3 streets come together: MLK, Webster, and James Cool Papa Bell. Bell was a baseball player in the negro leagues, click image to learn more about him.
Close up of the boards covering the door & windows.
The coffeehouse at MLK & Page, in the Housing Authority building, moved a year or so ago. The retail space remains vacant.
This suburban-style business incubator contains a number of businesses, but also a storefront church and the alderman’s office.
Bricks are starting to fall from this building. It should be stabilized, but it’ll likely be allowed to crumble until neighbors demand it be razed.
Across MLK this building is having some issues at the top center. It’ll likely be worse next year.
Would be nice to see a project that includes the rehab of the former John Marshall School. Click image to view the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
Another building in need of stabilization.
After a fire a few years ago I thought this building near Euclid would be gone soon — but it’s still here.
Saw some newer houses so I turned onto Clara Ave., one looks like it has been boarded for a while now. the others all look well maintained.
One of my favorite buildings in the entire city is still hanging on.
Despite lacking a roof…
The hole in the side of this building keeps getting larger every year. I’m thinking now the buildings from here to Hamilton have been razed. Welcome to the once-bustling Welston Loop area.
On the West side of Hamilton the first building is having major issues.
Here’s a close up.
Other buildings on the same block are in better condition. Across MLK is the old JC Penny.
On the South side of MLK another storefront was recently razed.
And finally we have the deteriorating Welston Loop streetcar building.

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?

January 20, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Leaders Prioritize St. Louis’ Central Corridor?
 
Please vote below

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 due west from downtown.

Starting with Market Street, then changing over to Olive and then Lindell, a loose axis developed over the course of the 1800s. Along this axis would rise many city landmarks – its two most prestigious universities, its entertainment district, its most fashionable neighborhood, and its largest park. A second skyline developed in Midtown. The axis is symbolically capped by Washington University’s Brookings Hall, which visually terminates Lindell just beyond city limits. (Built St. Louis)

This pattern continued into St. Louis County, from Clayton to Chesterfield.

Today’s non-scientific poll applies to both St. Louis city & county.

This poll will automatically close at 8pm tonight. Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts and the results.

— Steve Patterson

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