Two Buildings, One Small Lot

 

 In the past you’d see multiple buildings on a single lot. Usually this was house and outhouse, stable, or garage. Large fancy homes might have servant quarters over the stable/garage — such was the case at the Campbell House. In more modest neighborhoods you might see two houses or a …

Renovated Kiener Plaza Reopened 5 Years Ago Today

 

 Five years ago the trees at the renovated Kiener Plaza looked so new, provided no shade. Now they’ve matured nicely. Saturday we spent 2+ hours sitting in the shade. It’s nice seeing Kiener Plaza be a space that can hold thousands of people and still function. Now if only we …

Rethinking 811 North 9th Street (Holiday Inn Express)

 

 I recently posted about a 1960s hotel in the Downtown West neighborhood that no longer worked (see Rethinking 2211 Market Street (Pear Tree Inn). Today is a similar look at an early 1980s hotel the no longer works: The Radisson/Ramada/Holiday Inn at 811 North 9th Street. It is across 9th …

Vacant Land Near Centene Stadium Awaits New Construction

 

 Centene Stadium (St. Louis) – Wikipedia, the soccer stadium finishing up construction now, is reshaping the Downtown West neighborhood.   This got me thinking about a vacant parcel just south of the stadium, next to the former YMCA that became a Drury Hotel in the 1980s. The official address is …

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Readers Either Neutral or Feel Less Safe Around Open Carry

September 18, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Readers Either Neutral or Feel Less Safe Around Open Carry
 
Grand Theft Auto’s gun store Ammu-Nation

To many people the presence of a firearm makes them feel less safe.  Some research indicates it isn’t just a feeling — they’re less safe!

Does carrying a gun make you safer? Does it make other people safer? Millions of Americans who pack heat think so, and 33 states with “right to carry” laws permit them to tote a gun. But a long-range study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that these states would have had less violent crime had they restricted gun-carrying. John J. Donohue, a Stanford law professor and economist, is a lead author of the analysis, which used more than 30 years of crime statistics and a novel algorithm: Researchers identified states whose crime rates paralleled those of states like Texas before it passed a “right to carry” law, and came up with models — called synthetic states — to look at before-and-after violent crime in right-to-carry states and non-right-to-carry “synthetic” states. It’s comparing apples and virtual apples, and Donohue – who’s also an expert witness in a right-to-carry lawsuit against the state of California — concluded that gun-toting indeed makes a difference in violent crime: it can increase it, by as much as 15%. (Los Angeles Times op-ed)

The NBER research report can be found here.

From the conclusion:

The extensive array of panel data and synthetic control estimates of the impact of RTC laws that we present uniformly undermine the “More Guns, Less Crime” hypothesis. There is not even the slightest hint in the data that RTC laws reduce violent crime. Indeed, the weight of the evidence from the panel data estimates as well as the synthetic control analysis best supports the view that the adoption of RTC laws substantially raises overall violent crime in the ten years after adoption.

Many who participated in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll likely concur with this conclusion.

Q: Agree or disagree: I feel safer patronizing retail stores/restaurants that allow open carry of firearms.

  • Strongly agree: 10 [17.24%]
  • Agree: 4  [6.9%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [1.72%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 12 [20.69%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [3.45%]
  • Disagree: 12 [20.69%]
  • Strongly disagree: 17 [29.31%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

A minority of people feel safer around guns. Here’s an interesting  article by a person explaining why he and his wife carry a gun, though not open carry.

— Steve Patterson

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

 

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