Before It Was Officially Named NorthSide Regeneration, We Knew It As ‘Blairmont’

 

 With the news last week that the City of St. Louis now considers developer Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration project in default and Missouri suing him for tax fraud, I got to thinking about how we got here. To my knowledge the first blog post about Blairmont was Michael Allen’s July …

Sunday Poll: Any Hope of Reviving North St. Louis Without Paul McKee?

 

 Developer Paul McKee had a bad week last week. In a letter filed Tuesday, city officials say it’s time to face facts. “After a decade, the promised redevelopment has not come, nor is there any indication that it will,” the letter states. “Land lies fallow. Taxes go unpaid. Vacant buildings remain …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bill Week 9 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 9th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Today’s agenda includes just new bill: B.B.#87 – Murphy – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an Ordinance authorizing the honorary street name, Robert Prager Way, to begin at the intersection of Morgan Ford Road …

Readers Supportive of Mayor Krewson’s Advocating for a vote on DACA

 

 Many of you might think of immigration issues and those who came here as kids as something for border cities/states — like San Diego, California. The numbers are smaller, but it’s an issue right here in Missouri: In Missouri, 3,500 young people have registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals …

Recent Articles:

Technical Issues Yesterday; One Year Anniversary of Kiener Plaza This Coming Saturday

May 14, 2018 Featured, Parks, Site Info Comments Off on Technical Issues Yesterday; One Year Anniversary of Kiener Plaza This Coming Saturday
 

Yesterday something went haywire, crashing the site. When it did work the poll didn’t appear. I’ve pulled yesterday’s post since only two readers were able to vote.

I’ll have a new post on Friday, my usual on new Board Bills being introduced at the Board of Aldermen. If all goes well I’ll attempt to have yesterday’s poll question on Sunday the 20th.

In the meantime, this coming Saturday is the one year anniversary since Kiener Plaza reopened. I’ve been a few times, I need to return and photograph areas to see how the trees have matured.

Here’s a couple of posts from May 2017:

Have a great week!

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen, New Board Bills Week 4 of 2018-2019 Session

May 11, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen, New Board Bills Week 4 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 4th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Last week Board Bill 47 wasn’t on the published agenda, but it was introduced for a first reading. Here’s the summary:

An Ordinance directing the Director of Streets to change the 3200 block of Sullivan from a one way passage to a two way passage, and containing an emergency clause.

Today’s agenda includes the following new bills:

  • B.B.#1 – Pres. Reed/Williamson – Budget Fiscal Year 2018-2019; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#48 – Roddy – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission, to change the zoning of property on the Central West End Form-Based District Map, from “NG1” Neighborhood General Type 1 Zone to the “NCT1” Neighborhood Center Type 1 Zone in City Block 3914 (4117R West Pine Boulevard), so as to include the described parcel of land in SECTION ONE below and in City Block 3914; and to further change the overall boundaries of the “NG1” Neighborhood General Type 1 Zone and the “NC1” Neighborhood Center Type 1 Zone; established under Ordinance 69406; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#49 – Roddy – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate travel on the north side of Forest Park Ave. abutting City Block 3919-E as bounded by Laclede, Spring, Forest Park and Vandeventer, and adjacent to 3763 (3745-3801) Forest Park.
  • B.B.#50 – Martin – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on May 7, 2018, to change the zoning of property in City Block 2861, from “B” Two-Family Dwelling District to the “F” Neighborhood Commercial District, at 5601-03 S. Broadway, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#51 – Ingrassia – An Ordinance amending Ordinance Nos. 69979, 69980 and 69981; approving and authorizing the execution of a First Amendment to Redevelopment Agreement between The City and ROL Capital III, Inc.; authorizing other related actions; and containing a Severability Clause.
  • B.B.#52 – Tyus – An ordinance pertaining to income that is exempt from the City’s earnings tax, amending Section Eight of Ordinance 47063, approved April 28, 1954, as amended by Ordinance 64586, and as codified in Section 5.22.090 of the City Code of Ordinances, by adding a provision exempting any income received by a person in the form of or related to a grant, vesting or exercise of stock options, performance shares or performance-based stock related to incentive plans from the City’s earnings tax; and containing 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 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: St. Louis’ Government Structure Has Failed City/Region and Generations of Most Vulnerable Residents

May 9, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: St. Louis’ Government Structure Has Failed City/Region and Generations of Most Vulnerable Residents
 
Pruitt-Igoe is St. Louis’ most well-known mistake.

Construction on St. Louis’ city hall began in 1890, completed in 1904. The design reflected the form of government the city had at that time:

When City Hall was designed, St. Louis had a bicameral form of government similar to the Missouri Legislature. The building originally had chambers and meeting rooms for the House of Delegates and the City Council. The 1914 City Charter eliminated the Council and changed the House of Delegates to the Board of Aldermen. The room that once housed the Council is now the Board of Public Service Chamber, and the Board of Aldermen occupy the House of Delegates chamber and committee rooms. The Mayor´s office remains in its original space on the northeast corner of the second floor.(Source)

The 28-member “Board of Alderman” has existed for 108 years of the city’s nearly 254-year history, the most recent 43%.

In 1914, by popular vote, the city adopted what was known as the Charter of 1914 which kept the wards at 28 with a single legislative body and one alderman from each ward elected at large. These elections were replaced by ward elections in 1943. The Charter of 1914, along with popularly voted amendments, is still in effect today.

Present Day – On November 6th, 2012, Proposition R was passed with 61.49% of the vote to amendment the charter of the city of St. Louis to restructure the board of aldermen to a body of Fourteen (14) aldermen representing Fourteen (14) wards, providing a transition schedule for such changes to begin January 1st, 2022. You can view the original Board Bill and resulting Ordiance 69185. (Source)

Though not yet verified, my suspicion is the city was divided into 28 wards beginning with the 1876 divorce from St Louis County — when the current city limits became fixed.

Interesting that from 1914 to 1943 all 28 aldermen were elected at large, one per ward. Can you imagine if candidates for each ward had to win a city-wide election today? For the last 75 years the voters of each ward has elected one alderman to represent them.

The 1940 census showed first time drop in population for a city that had been growing exponentially for over 175 years. The Republicans & Democrats that ran city hall thought it was just a fluke. The 1947 Comprehensive Plan predicted a 1970 population of 900k.  The increased 1950 census of 856,796 affirmed to the city’s leaders — Republicans & Democrats — that the city was growing perhaps even faster than estimated just 3 years earlier. Since the 1940 census they’s gained 50,000 residents. Instead of reaching 900k by 1970 the city lost over 234k.

Decade after decade of aldermanic courtesy treated the city as 28 fiefdoms rather than one city. Patronage jobs and scores of old timers teaching newcomers about how things have always been done led to bad decision after bad decision.

We should be talking about the form of our municipal government and how to change it so it functions better, produces positive results, and represents the best interests of the just over 300k of us who remain.  Just reducing the board from 28 to 14 isn’t the right answer — just as sticking with 28 isn’t either.

The results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: The ideal number of wards/aldermen for St. Louis is:

  • 29 or more: 0 [0%]
  • 28: 2 [6.25%]
  • 15-17: 2 [6.25%]
  • 14: 9 [28.13%]
  • 13 or less: 19 [59.38%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Do really think the structure created in 1914 — highly segregated times in St. Louis — is the best we can do?  I say start over from scratch and design a governance structure that works for the present conditions, population, etc.

— Steve Patterson

 

Permanent Lane Shifts Can Be Problematic

May 7, 2018 Featured, Planning & Design, Transportation Comments Off on Permanent Lane Shifts Can Be Problematic
 

St. Louis has numerous places where, if you drive, you know the lanes shift left or right. The recent work to raise Forest Park Parkway/Ave up to be an at-grade intersection with Kingshighway added two more: WB Forest Park Ave at Euclid Ave and SB Kingshighway at Forest Park. The other day I photographed the former.

Looking East toward Forest Park & Euclid — All 3 lanes of Westbound traffic must shift top the right while crossing Euclid
Looking East from the pedestrian refuge.
The planter protecting pedestrians has been hit numerous times, the yellow markers have been added to make them more visible.

On numerous occasions I’ve been on the #10 MetroBus in the left-turn lane from SB Kingshighway onto EB Forest Park and I’ve seen cars in the center of the 3  SB Kingshighway lanes just continue straight — not shifting to the right. This puts them in the left most of 3 lanes. The problem occurs when a car is also in the left lane and shifts to the right to avoid hitting the pedestrian refuge planter — suddenly you have two vehicles wanting to occupy the same space. I’m rarely in either intersection as a motorist though I have driven both since the change was made.

I have experienced our car nearly being hit in a similar situation on EB Chippewa at Meramec. When traveling EB on Chippewa you have two EB lanes until just past Morganford Rd when only the left lane continues EB and the right lane goes off right to Meramec St. Again, on numerous occasions I’ve seen vehicles in the right lane just continue straight ahead — nearly hitting our car at least once. When I’m driving I’m aware this intersection is poorly designed — so I anticipate other drivers might not be aware of what is expected.

Back ar Forest Park and Kingshighway & Euclid the volume of cars is much higher. Both pedestrian refuge planters have been hit/damaged by vehicles. I suspect traffic accidents have been caused when a motorist doesn’t shift to the right — going straight ahead which means they’re changing lanes in the middle of an intersection.

Most drivers who regularly travel these routes will learn/remember to shift. It only takes one driver not paying attention or visitor to cause an accident or hit the planter and damage their vehicle.

How will future autonomous vehicles handle these shifts? We can and should do better in our street design!

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: What Is The Ideal Number Of Wards/Aldermen For The City Of St. Louis?

May 6, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: What Is The Ideal Number Of Wards/Aldermen For The City Of St. Louis?
 
Please vote below

In November 2012 voters approved Proposition R to reduce the number of wards from 28 to 14, based on the 2020 census. Recently a bill was introduced to the Board of Aldermen that, if passed, would ask voters to reverse their 2012 decision.

An ordinance submitting to the qualified voters of the City a proposed amendment to the Charter of the City to maintain the Board of Aldermen as body of twenty-eight Aldermen representing twenty-eight wards, and preventing its reduction beginning December 31, 2021, to a body of fourteen Aldermen representing fourteen wards as called for under Article I, Section 3 of the City Charter; providing for an election to be held for voting on the proposed amendment and the manner for the voting; and for the publication, certification, deposit, and recording of this ordinance; and containing an emergency clause. (Board Bill 25 summary)

As the approved change approaches the debate between all sides is ramping up their arguments. Lost in the back & forth is the question of what number of wards/aldermen is best for the city to address its problems — so today’s poll question:

For the purposes of this poll assume one alderman per ward. This poll will close tonight at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

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