St. Louis Board of Aldermen, New Board Bills Week 5 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 5th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. It appears I missed numerous new bills last week, they were: B.B.#53 – Kennedy – An Ordinance adopting the 2018 International Building Code with amendments, including Appendices E, F, G, H, I and …

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 …

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

 

 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 …

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

 

 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 …

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Sunday Poll: Will Missouri Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment A Returning the City of St. Louis to St. Louis County?

April 1, 2018 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will Missouri Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment A Returning the City of St. Louis to St. Louis County?
 

Please vote below

Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft has verified a citizen petition for an amendment to the constitution for the statewide August 7th primary ballot. If approved it would make the City of St. Louis a municipality within St. Louis County — reversing the Great Divorce of 1876. A simple majority os needed to pass.

Official Ballot Title
Constitutional Amendment A

[Proposed by Initiative Petition]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

Strip the City of St. Louis of status as an “independent city”; 
Redraw the boundaries of St. Louis County so the City of St. Louis is fully within said boundaries;
Eliminate county-level offices in the City of St. Louis;  

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to make the City of St. Louis a municipality within St. Louis County. 

A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

If passed, this measure is expected to lower taxes.

Today’s poll is about this effort.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Bike/Pedestrian/Smoke-Free Advocate Martin Pion (1936-2018)

March 30, 2018 Bicycling, Featured, Smoke Free, Transportation Comments Off on St. Louis Bike/Pedestrian/Smoke-Free Advocate Martin Pion (1936-2018)
 
Martin Pion’s Facebook profile pic

This week St. Louis lost a great advocate, visitation was last night.

Martin Pion, 81, passed away on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at his home.
Dear husband of Joyce Pion; dear father of Jerome (Sarah) Pion; Loving grandfather of David and Katie Pion; beloved uncle of Nicola (Kim) Teoh, Stephan (Jenny) Williams and Karen (Stacey) Williams dear great uncle to James and Andrew.
Martin and his family came from England in 1977. He loved the environment, bicycling and was a founding member and president of GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution).
Memorial visitation will be Thursday, March 29, 4-7pm at HUTCHENS Mortuary, 675 Graham Rd, Florissant.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to charity of choice. (Hutchins)

Martin and I shared many interests including bicycling and smoke-free environments. Though we didn’t always agree, our disagreements were some of our best conversations. More often, we did agree — because of our shared beliefs we both supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary.

I first met Marin in the late 90s when I took his Road 1 bicycling course — he was the only instructor certified by the League of American Bicyclists teaching in the region. Later, while we were both serving as board members of the now-defunct St. Louis Bicycle Federation, he got me and other board members to also become certified instructors.

Martin in Ferguson, 2012

Even after my 2008 stroke he pushed me to not give up on cycling. I went to their home in Ferguson where he filmed me riding one of his English trikes.

Martin helped get me on the trike then used my iPhone to record the video. Afterwards, to get me off the trike, he had to tip me over onto a bed of ivy them help me up. We determined it would take a trike made from a bike with a very low cross bar to work for me.

We also spent many hours discussing technology and blogging. I got him to move from a static website to a WordPress blog — see ThinkBicycling!

Martin invested in cameras and posted numerous videos to YouTube and Vimeo. Martin was a huge advocate of bicycling within traffic, not being pushed off into inadequate bike lanes. Both videos below feature mutual friend Karen Karabell.

And a look at the protected bike lane on Chestnut.

It’s so great to hear Martin’s soft voice. Here’s how he described himself on Vimeo:

Scientist, majoring in Physics & Math., with environmental interests and sustainability, including promoting smoke-free air and proficient on-road bicycle transportation.

You’ll be missed friend.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Plenty To Blame For Region’s Drop From 20th To 21st

March 28, 2018 Featured, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: Plenty To Blame For Region’s Drop From 20th To 21st
 

Last week we learned nw U.S. Census estimates show the St. Louis metropolitan area dropping from 20th to 21st in terms of population.

Overall, the St. Louis metropolitan area, which comprises 14 counties and the city of St. Louis, grew slightly but at a much slower rate than other parts of the U.S., based on population estimates taken from July 1, 2016, to July 1 of last year.

The Baltimore area, which had been ranked 21st, swapped spots on the population list with the St. Louis region. The city of Baltimore saw a numeric population drop greater than St. Louis city, but Baltimore’s loss represented a 0.9 percent decrease, compared with a 1.4 percent loss in St. Louis. (Post-Dispatch)

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but it is. Many still think a loss of population in the City of St. Louis means people just moved out to the suburbs. While that happens, it isn’t the story. The story is the entire region is suffering from rot. Our fragmented government to awful namesake pizza we’re stuck in the past. Everyone outside St. Louis can tell and steer clear.

The voters who approved the 1876 Great Divorce kicked off the downfall of both the city & region;

What made short-term sense in the 1870s turned into a long-term wall, separating entire generations of St. Louisans and creating barriers that the Great Divorce’s authors never could have foreseen. On the surface, St. Louis’s lower population and tiny footprint—among the smallest of any major American city—make its issues with violent crime look even worse as it annually tops lists of the country’s most dangerous cities. More deeply, the city-county divide creates a duplication of services, the cost of which possibly runs into the billions, and pits the city and county against each other in attracting businesses.

Generations since have been unwilling to undo this mistake. The problem has been leap-frogged by the population shift to St. Charles County. Hundreds of fiefdoms have created thousands of political positions that wan the pond to remain small so they seem important.

The entire region needs a reboot. A complete restructuring. I don’t see the needed change ever happening though. I do see a region that, in time, willl fall out of the top 25.

Here’s the results from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: The City of St. Louis is the primary reason for the region falling from 20th to 21st.

  • Strongly agree 6 [15.79%[
  • Agree 4 [10.53%]
  • Somewhat agree 8 [21.05%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 4 [10.53%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [5.26%]
  • Disagree 3 [7.89%]
  • Strongly disagree 8 [21.05%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 3 [7.89%]

— Steve Patterson

Design for Lucas Park Unveiled 110 Years Ago Today

March 26, 2018 Featured, History/Preservation, Parks Comments Off on Design for Lucas Park Unveiled 110 Years Ago Today
 

It was one hundred ten years ago that St. Louis first saw plans for the Lucas Park sunken garden that sorta remains today: From STL250:

This Day in St. Louis History, March 26, 1908:
Plans unveiled for Lucas Park

North of the proposed Central Public Library, plans were unveiled for a “sunken garden” of rich green foliage. The site, along with the site of the Central Library, had formerly been occupied by the massive St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall, which was the premiere space for large scale events in St. Louis from 1883-1907. It had hosted the St. Louis Symphony, three national nominating conventions, and was one of he first buildings in the United States to have electric lights. When it was razed, the entire site had been left below ground and the idea for a sunken park space was developed. Lucas Park still occupies this space, just north of the Central Library at Olive Street between 13th and 14th Streets.

“This photo shows Lucas Park as seen in 1920, with Christ Church Cathedral and the rear of the St. Louis Public Library to the right. The large sign that says “Velvet” is now the site of the curving Shell Building. Missouri History Museum Archives. Swekosky Collection.”

 

The 1908 plans were not the first public park on the site, from an old city website I saved:

Lucas Garden was the site of a brick house built by Judge Lucas in 1820 facing the present St. Charles Street or King’s Road, as it was called. There is still a flowing spring in the Public Library basement that was the water supply for the Judge’s home.

“Desirous of contributing to the ornament and health of the City of St. Louis and at the same time to establish a permanent monument to the memory of his ancestor (father) the late Honorable John B. C. Lucas, in the shape of a public square bearing his name,” reads the deed signed by James H. and Marie E. Lucas on March 24, 1857, giving the block of land immediately north of the St. Louis Public Library to St. Louisians. The deed states further that, “This conveyance is however made with the express condition, to wit: that said public square shall forever be maintained as a public promenade for the inhabitants of the City of St. Louis.”

On the same day in 1857 that he signed the deed on Lucas Garden, James H. Lucas sold the block where the Public Library now stands to the city for the sum of $95,000.

In 1859, a board of improvement for the park was created and its development started.

Its layout caused Locust Street to be closed at 13th and the park was given an asymmetrical plan with a bandstand near the foot of Lucas Place. Sale of the buildings at the southwest corner of the park was authorized by Ordinance in 1872. From the time of the first appropriation in 1858 to 1877, $41,465 was spent on it.

The entire 6.25 acres was named Missouri Park and provided popular downtown breathing space until the erection of the St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall in 1883. Licensed to a private corporation for a period of 50 years, the ground was restored to use as a park in 1907 and designs for the Italian Renaissance inspired library building were drawn up by the famous architect Cass Gilbert. The library was completed in 1912.

Locust Street was reopened behind the Library from 13th to 14th Streets and the present sunken garden with its fountain was developed. (source)

The 1875 Compton & Dry map shows the park 8 years before the St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall was built on the block.

 

Since the formal 1908 plan the park has retained the original feel, but lost considerable detail.

1960, source unknown

For example, the reflecting pool & fountain were recently filled in.

Lucas Park March 2014

Hopefully we’ll eventually put back lost details like the center fountain, I’m not holding my breath though…

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: The St. Louis Region Dropped From 20th to 21st In Population, Is This The City’s Fault?

March 25, 2018 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: The St. Louis Region Dropped From 20th to 21st In Population, Is This The City’s Fault?
 
Please vote below

Thursday the St. Louis region found out it had dropped from 20th to 21st nationally — switching places with Baltimore MD.

Overall, the St. Louis metropolitan area, which comprises 14 counties and the city of St. Louis, grew slightly but at a much slower rate than other parts of the U.S., based on population estimates taken from July 1, 2016, to July 1 of last year.

The Baltimore area, which had been ranked 21st, swapped spots on the population list with the St. Louis region. The city of Baltimore saw a numeric population drop greater than St. Louis city, but Baltimore’s loss represented a 0.9 percent decrease, compared with a 1.4 percent loss in St. Louis. (Post Dispatch)

The above quote focuses on the city at the center of each region. Population leaving the city for say Jefferson or St. Charles counties doesn’t alter the region’s population. It’s people that leave the St. Louis region for others like Dallas-Ft. Worth, for example, that reduces regional population. But the region didn’t lose population — it gained 556 based on estimates. Of the 20 regions ahead of St. Louis only one lost population — the Chicago area dropped by over 13,000. It’s still way ahead of 4th place Dallas/Ft. Worth (9,533,040 vs 7,399,662, respectively). According to the Census esteems the St. Louis region is only 837 people behind 20th place Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD. While we gained a mere 556 people they gained 7,147.

This is the subject of today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

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