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 …

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

 

 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 …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 19 of 2019-2020 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 15th 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 18. Today’s agenda includes six (6) new bills. B.B.#129 – Arnowitz – An ordinance authorizing and …

Readers Opposed To Loop Trolley Bailout

 

 I’m a huge fan of modern streetcars, like the line in Kansas City, but I’m indifferent to “heritage” trollies that use vintage or reproduction of early 20th century equipment. They’re great for nostalgia buffs, Instagram-worth photos, etc. Actual transportation?  Sorta, mostly for tourists. Many comments I read online said the …

Recent Articles:

Two Urban Medical Campuses Compared: Big Differences Despite Similarities

September 16, 2019 Central West End, Featured, Planning & Design, Travel, Walkability Comments Off on Two Urban Medical Campuses Compared: Big Differences Despite Similarities
 

I often spend days, weeks, or months thinking about a post before writing it. I’ve been thinking about today’s post for over 5 years now!

It was May 2014 when we first stayed at friend’s newly purchased vacation condo in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood — across the street from Northwestern Hospital. Not a wide boulevard either, Erie Street is like most of Chicago’s streets — two drive lanes and two parking lanes.

We experienced the busy sidewalks but also the internal walkway system connecting the campus’ numerous buildings, complete with bridges over roadways. I immediately thought how different it felt from St. Louis’ Washington University Medical Campus (WUMC)/Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJC).

St. Louis’ Washington University Medical Campus is prominently identified along Kingshighway, Forest Park Ave, etc
Points along Kingshighway are now labeled A, B. C, etc…

In the Fall of 2017 I had an unexpected emergency surgery and an overnight stay at BJC, I got to experience the walkway going from the Center for Advanced Medicine to Barnes. Then again the next morning going to the bus transit center. Yes, usually you don’t leave hospitalization via public transit, but that’s how I got there with my power wheelchair and a very broken wrist.

I’ve visited the Northwestern campus numerous times while visiting Chicago and I’ve returned to WUMC/BJC for numerous appointment and to photograph/observe the walkway.  I’m finally in a position to compare observation of the two.

First, the similarities between the two:

  • Were built over decades, slowly expanding.
  • Began life in an affluent neighborhood of gridded streets.
  • Comprised of generic beige buildings, parking garages.
  • Lots of people & cars.
  • Have an internal network to help people navigate from building to building indoors.
  • Have one hard edge (Lake Michigan in Chicago, Forest Park in St. Louis)

Given all the above similarities you’d think the two would function the same. But no, the end results are vastly different! This post will hopefully explain the differences I’ve observed and their impact on each campus and surrounding neighborhoods.

In short, the major differences can be reduced to:

  • Sidewalk level activities: Many of Northwestern’s buildings, especially newer ones, have “active” ground floors — mostly restaurants.
  • Street grid: Northwestern didn’t alter the street grid, WUMC/BJC has decimated the grid.

Let’s start in St. Louis (map):

The Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) building on the SW corner of Forest Park & Euclid avenues is a very busy place
As a pedestrian you can’t enter the building directly off of either major avenue.
Pedestrians have a narrow walk next to the large auto drive to reach the actual entry.
The newer Center for Outpatient Health across Forest Park Ave did not repeat the pedestrian access problem of CAM.
It is built right up to Euclid. An auto drive for patient drop-off is on the back side.
Pedestrians get their own entrance right off the Euclid sidewalk.
There’s a change of level but the ramp is wide and direct, the steps are narrower and off to the side. Through the windows you can see the automobile drive & patient drop-off entrance.
Looking North on what used to be Euclid Ave., the CAM building is on the left.
Looking at the closed Euclid from the WUMC/BJC walkway system — called LINK. Entering LINK from CAM is pretty natural, but the rest is convoluted.
Back on the ground for a moment, another closed part of Euclid, the LINK is visible.
In the background is the busiest light rail station in Metro’s system. LINK overlooks it, but they don’t connect.
This was the view to the North from my hospital room in November 2017.
The LINK winds its way around connecting all the buildings.
Sometimes it is in a spacious area
There are a few retail outlets, but not many. There was also a tiny Sprint store.
Windows give you a glimpse of where you are.
When I was discharged a nurse had to escort me to Metro’s bus transit center because there is no good public route from the BJC hospital to transit! Her card had to be used a couple of times along the way.
Finally I’m on my way to the bus. This walkway also connects to massive parking garages for staff.
Here we are, the entrance to the garage where the buses converge on the ground level.

Before moving on I should note that I was very pleased with my treatment and all those who took care of me that visit and my other appointments, cataracts surgery, etc.

Okay, now Chicago (map). Starting outside.

Am ambulance only drive for the emergency department
An auto area for the outpatient building next door to where we stay while in Chicago. You can see all the way through to the next block. To the left there are three retail spaces spaces — including on both street corners.
The sidewalks are wide with street trees.
There are some truly awful buildings along some of the sidewalks. No retail, no life.
But old historic buildings, including ones not owned by Northwestern still exist within the street grid.
One of the oldest campus buildings is very attractive — much more so than most everything around it.
Another example of not everything along the sidewalks was interesting. That’s mostly reserved for the corners at intersections.
One of the newest buildings. Being located mid-block it didn’t have any sidewalk retail.
Another older building, not exactly inviting.
Here is a corner, which is very active.
Another corner
And another corner
Medical entrance mid-block
Another auto drop-off area
An older parking garage with a mid-block entrance

Now let’s go inside their walkway system.

There are numerous maps posted, all showing how to reach the street grid outside and other buildings
Building lobbies invite you to the walkway system.
An internal intersection in a central building. A couple of food court areas are very close to this point.
One of the newest food court seating areas with lots of seating
There are many different food retailers located along their walkway system, most concentrated in a couple of central areas.
Another restaurant
Their walkways always seen to be busy.

CONCLUSION:

Both medical campuses have good & bad buildings. While Northwestern does a far better job activating corners it is the fact they still have corners that explains why the sidewalks are so full of people. The non-medical public, like us, are able to easily get through the campus on the sidewalks or via the enclosed walkway system. Northwestern’s campus isn’t a monolithic fortress to go around — you can go right through it just like you would elsewhere in Chicago.

I’m firmly convinced the many closed streets within St. Louis’ Washington University Medical Campus are largely responsible for the relative lack of pedestrian activity. Short of reopening the closed streets, I don’t think there’s anything we can do to fix the problem.

There’s a lot more detail I’d hoped to include, but I knew I just had to get this post finished. I might do some followup posts.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Feel Safer or Less Safe Now That Some Stores Don’t Want Open Carry?

September 15, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Feel Safer or Less Safe Now That Some Stores Don’t Want Open Carry?
 
Please vote below

Recently some retail stores have changed their policies regarding customers carrying weapons.

Supermarket and pharmacy chains across the U.S. have begun asking customers to not openly carry firearms in their stores, including in states where open carry is legal. It’s a trend that appears to have been sparked by Walmart, whose CEO Doug McMillon announced the decision on Tuesday following a string of mass shootings around the country — including the Aug. 3 shootingin which 22 were killed at a Walmart store in El Paso, Tex.

McMillon announced on Tuesday that Walmart would stop selling handguns and military-style rifles. In the same statement, he requested that customers no longer openly carry firearms into Walmart stores. Several other chains have followed suit. As of Friday, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens and Wegmans had all issued similar statements of their own. (Time)

Local grocery chain Schnucks had allowed open carry, but changed after recent events.

Schnucks will continue to allow concealed carry where permitted. Authorized law enforcement personnel will still be allowed to carry a firearm openly. (Fox2)

This is the subject of today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 14 of 2019-2020 Session

September 13, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 14 of 2019-2020 Session
 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen return from their Summer break with a full meeting at 10am today, their 14th 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 13.

Today’s agenda includes twelve (12) new bills. I want to highlight a few; one creates yet another community district (98), another requiring future traffic calming measures to go through the Board of Aldermen rather than the Board of Public Service (102), an agreement regarding Northside Regeneration’s proposed urgent care (103), and an ordinance regarding reporting failed background checks for firearms (106).

  • B.B.#95 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”) to enter into and execute on behalf of the City the First Amendment to Banking Concession Agreement, AL-278 (“First Amendment”) between the City and U.S. Bank National Association (“Concessionaire”), containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #96 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”) to enter into and execute on behalf of the City the Seventh Amended and Restated Food and Beverage Concession Agreement AL-110 (“Agreement”) with Host International, Inc. between the City and Host International, Inc., (“Concessionaire); containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #97 – Pres. Reed – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, making a supplemental appropriation to the Annual Budget Ordinance 70963 for Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020 amounting to the sum of Three Million and Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($3,500,000) for the purpose of purchasing body-worn cameras for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B. #98 – Davis – An ordinance approving the petition to establish the Olive West Community Improvement District, establishing the Olive West Community Improvement District, reaffirming certain findings of blight and finding a public purpose for the establishment of the Olive West Community Improvement District.
  • B.B. #99 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”) to enter into and execute on behalf of the City the Second Amendment to Operating Agreement for Management and Operation of Parking Facility Services AL-267 (“Second Amendment”) between the City and ABM Aviation, Inc., (“Concessionaire”), containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #100 – Davis – An ordinance recommended and approved by the Airport Commission and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller, on behalf of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), the owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”), to accept and execute on behalf of the City a certain Airport Aid Agreement offered by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (the “Grant Agreement”) for the marketing and promotion of air service at the Airport for a maximum obligation of Five Hundred Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($515,000) for the reimbursement of direct costs associated with the projects funded under the Grant Agreement; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #101 – Muhammad An ordinance submitting to the voters of the City of St. Louis a proposed revision to Article XVI, Section 3 of the Charter to require the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to, at least ninety-days prior to the start of each Fiscal Year, submit to the Board of Aldermen a proposed annual budget ordinance; and to permit the Board of Aldermen to reduce or increase the amount of any budget item except those fixed by statute for payment of principal or interest of City debt or to meet ordinance obligations, and to add new items so long as the budget balances; and, if the Board of Estimate and Apportionment fails to submit a budget
    ordinance to the Board of Aldermen as required the Budget Director shall submit to the Board at least ninety-days prior to the Fiscal Year an estimate of revenues for the Fiscal Year, a
    statement of a Table of Organization and all expected City budget requirements from which the Board shall approve a budget.
  • B.B. #102 – Muhammad – An ordinance revising Section Three of Ordinance No. 70333, requiring the Director Traffic to have the approval of the Board of Public Service with regard to the development and promulgation of the City of St. Louis Traffic Calming Policy, to instead require the approval of the Board of Aldermen.
  • B.B. #103 – Hubbard – An ordinance authorizing the execution of an Amended and Restated Parcel Development Agreement by and among The City of St. Louis, Missouri, Northside Regeneration, LLC, and Northside Urgent Care Property, LLC, NS QALICB, LLC and HGP Hospital Corp.; prescribing the form and details of said Amended and Restated Parcel Development Agreement; authorizing certain actions by City officials; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B. #104 – Howard – An ordinance amending the Redevelopment Plan for the Gravois / Morgan Ford Redevelopment Area
  • B.B. #105 – Pres. Reed/Davis/Vaccaro/Hubbard/ Middlebrook/Clark-Hubbard/P. Boyd – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, making a supplemental appropriation to the Annual Budget Ordinance 70963 for Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020 amounting to the sum of Eight Million Dollars ($8,000,000) for the purpose of providing funding for the violence prevention alternative program, “Cure Violence,” and containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B. #106 – Pres. Reed/Vaccaro/Davis/Coatar/Middlebrook/ Clark-Hubbard/Muhammad/Murphy/P. Boyd- An ordinance establishing reporting requirements for licensees selling firearms to report failures of a background check system when a firearm purchase is denied within the limits of the City of St. Louis and containing a severability and an emergency clause.

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

9/11 18th Anniversary

September 11, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on 9/11 18th Anniversary
 
People just outside Ground Zero, October 30, 2001

9/11/2001 is one of those days I’ll remember the rest of my life. I was driving to meet with clients about a remodeling project, we watched the second tower fall on their television.

Now I know how my parent’s generation felt about days like when JFK or MLK were assassinated.

For the families of those who were killed that day the pain must be unimaginable.

A victims group has a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia.

The alleged Saudi role in the September 11 attacks gained new attention after two former U.S. senators, co-chairmen of the Congressional Inquiry into the attacks, told CBS in April 2016 that the redacted 28 pages of the Congressional Inquiry’s report refer to evidence of Saudi Arabia’s substantial involvement in the execution of the attacks, and calls renewed to have the redacted pages released. 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. (Wikipedia)

Their lawsuit has sought to release a redacted name. The plaintiffs believe that person has a connection to Saudi Arabia.

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll didn’t get many responses — common with a wonky topic:

Q: Agree or disagree: The U.S. Department of Justice should not release the name that was redacted in a 2012 FBI report.

  • Strongly agree: 2 [14.29%]
  • Agree: 1 [7.14%]
  • Somewhat agree: 2 [14.29%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 5 [35.71%]
  • Strongly disagree: 3 [21.43%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [7.14%]

As you can see above, most who responded think the name should be released. I agree, but don’t think it will be.

— Steve Patterson

 

Urban Flooding May Be The New Normal In St. Louis Region

September 9, 2019 Environment, Featured, STL Region Comments Off on Urban Flooding May Be The New Normal In St. Louis Region
 

The St. Louis region is no stranger to flooding — from the slowly rising Mississippi River (think 1993) and from flash floods overwhelming creeks, rivers, and man-made drainage.

On the afternoon of Aug. 19, 1915, remnants of a hurricane reached St. Louis from Texas. Heavy and steady rainfall fell through the next day, dumping a total of 7.4 inches across the area. (6.85 inches on Aug. 20 remains the one-day record in St. Louis.)

The River Des Peres rushed from its banks, swamping long stretches of Delmar and Lindell boulevards, Manchester Avenue and other streets. People were stranded on the Wabash Railroad platform at Delmar (now a Metrolink station) by a seven-foot-deep current 200 yards wide. Firefighters reached them with ladders and used boats to rescue residents of Maple and Hodiamont avenues. (Post-Dispatch)

South on DeBaliviere Avenue from Wabash Railroad toward the Jefferson Memorial Building. River Des Peres flood of August 1915. [photo page 2, top]. Kinsey Collection. Photograph, 1915. River Des Peres Drainage Problem. [Report by J.W. Horner, 1916]. Kinsey Collection. Missouri Historical Society Photographs and Prints Collections. SS 0740. NS 15188. Scan © 2007, Missouri Historical Society.
Their solution was a massive project to bury much of the River Des Peres and create a wide channel for the rest as it runs out to the Mississippi River.

More than a century later flooding is still a major problem in the region.

First, let’s talk about some definitions:

Flash Floods

These quick-rising floods are most often caused by heavy rains over a short period (usually six hours or less). Flash floods can happen anywhere, although low-lying areas with poor drainage are particularly vulnerable. Also caused by dam or levee breaks or the sudden overflow of water due to a debris or ice jam, flash floods combine the innate hazards of a flood with speed and unpredictability and are responsible for the greatest number of flood-related fatalities.

Urban Flooding

Flash floods, coastal floods, and river floods can occur in urban areas, but the term “urban flooding” refers specifically to flooding that occurs when rainfall—not an overflowing body of water—overwhelms the local stormwater drainage capacity of a densely populated area. This happens when rainfall runoff is channeled from roads, parking lots, buildings, and other impervious surfaces to storm drains and sewers that cannot handle the volume. (Natural Resources Defense Council)

The term “urban flooding” better describes what we’ve recently experienced in the region.

From July 22, 2019:

The ensuing floods inundated streets and businesses in Eureka, displaced residents from a University City apartment complex, caused sewage overflows and prompted a spate of rescues around the area for motorists stranded in high water.

In Eureka — no stranger to flood damage from the adjacent Meramec River in recent years — the intense, early-morning rain flooded streets of the Old Town business district. Police said they had no reports of injuries.

The flooding happened between about 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Monday, police said. The National Weather Service said local reports indicated Eureka received about 5.5 inches of rain overnight. (Post-Dispatch)

From August 14, 2019:

Flash floods that closed roads and delayed the start of the school year in Granite City are being blamed on the perfect storm: torrential rain, an outdated and inadequate storm drainage system, and political finger pointing.

A thunderstorm dropped between 5 and 7 inches of rain on the central and northern areas of Granite City Sunday night and into Monday morning, flooding the city and turning its roads into waterways. The southern part of the city received roughly 4 inches of rain.

“There was a deluge of water in a short time and the area couldn’t drain fast enough,” Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler said. “It was storm on top of storm.” (Belleville New Democrat)

From August 21, 2019:

Flash flooding causing water rescues and major problems for drivers. Video shows water covering 141 at Interstate 44 in Valley Park.

Police have blocked off 141 to keep cars from driving through the high water.

Most of the rescues dispatched for first responders were in the Valley Park and Fenton area. (Fox2)

Route 141 in Valley Park has routinely flooded, but one of the objectives of MoDot’s $25 million 141 at I-44 project, completed last year, was to reduce flash flooding — the contractor’s proposal included “Improved drainage to reduce the possibility of flash flooding.”

From August 26, 2019:

Flash flooding left drivers stranded and closed roads and highways across the St. Louis area Monday morning.

A flash flood warning was in effect during the morning commute for most of St. Louis County, the city and areas west. The warning was allowed to expire at 10:15 a.m. Some areas reported getting rain at a rate of 1-3 inches per hour. (KSDK)

Last week KMOV reported on a couple rebuilding their lives/home after the August flooding in Granite City. The couple didn’t have flood insurance — I’ll let them explain why they didn’t.

Michelle and Michael are working hard to put their home back together. They don’t have flood insurance because they said they are not in a flood zone and were told they didn’t need it.

“This has never happened in 25 years. Never,” Michelle explained. (KMOV)

It had never happened in 25 years and their home was not in a flood zone! Unfortunately, this is likely the new normal — non-flood zone areas will become overwhelmed by concentrated rains. Homes that had never flooded before will be flooded.

We’ve simply paved over too much land, our drainage systems can’t keep up when inundated with high volumes of rain. Do we invest in beefed up drains throughout the region? Do we begin to remove impervious materials to allow water to drain naturally?  Somewhere in between?

— Steve Patterson

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

Unable to display Facebook posts.
Show error

Error: (#10) To use 'Page Public Content Access', your use of this endpoint must be reviewed and approved by Facebook. To submit this 'Page Public Content Access' feature for review please read our documentation on reviewable features: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/apps/review.
Type: OAuthException
Code: 10
Please refer to our Error Message Reference.

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe