Opinion: Things Shouldn’t Go Back The Way They Were Before The Stockley Verdict

 

 Since Friday’s not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of former police officer Jason Stockley our lives have been disrupted — roads blocked, events postponed or cancelled, and yes…minor property damage.  .Many of you just want things to “normal” Normal means block men are shot and killed by white police. Yes, …

STL Downtown Multimodal Study Engagement Week Begins Today

 

 Today kicks off a week of events, from the Facebook Event page: You’re invited to join the City of St. Louis as we talk about the future of our Downtown transportation system. Join any of these half-day workshops. We hope you are able to attend and take part in the …

Sunday Poll: Was Justice Served In The Stockley Verdict?

 

 On Friday a judge finally issued his ruling on the murder trial of a former St. Louis police officer. Stockley, then a St. Louis officer, fatally shot Smith, 24, after a police chase in December 2011 over a suspected drug deal. After he pleaded not guilty to a murder charge, …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bill #122

 

 Last week the St. Louis Board of Aldermen introduced twenty (20) new Board Bills. Today. only one. ON AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 9/15/17: *Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced if they suspend the …

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The Gateway Transportation Center Is Now Amshack #3

August 7, 2017 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on The Gateway Transportation Center Is Now Amshack #3
 

St. Louis’ first Union Station opened in 1875. but proved too small very quickly. The significantly larger Union Station we know at 18th & Market opened 19 years later on September 1, 1894.

The beauty of Carl Milles’ work with Union Station in the background
Grand Hall in St. Louis Union Station

The busy days of Union Station lasted through WWII, but then saw declines.

As airliners became the preferred mode of long-distance travel and railroad passenger services declined in the 1950s and 1960s, the massive station became obsolete and too expensive to maintain for its original purpose. With the takeover of national rail passenger service by Amtrak in 1971, passenger train service to St. Louis was reduced to only three trains a day. Amtrak stopped using Union Station on October 31, 1978; the six trains daily did not justify such a large facility. The last to leave Union Station was a Chicago-bound Inter-American. Passenger service shifted to an “Amshack” one block east, now the site of the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center. (Wikipedia)

Ticket sales stopped inside the main building for a while, moving to a temporary building under the big train shed. But in 1978 service was moved to the first of two buildings commonly known as “amshack”. The first was a glorified portable building. complete with T1-11 siding.   The 2nd Amshack was of concrete block, opened in December 2004, still exists.

Amtrak service is in the Gateway Transportation Center, just East of Amshack #2, now used by Amtrak workers.

The Gateway Transportation Center is the City of St. Louis’ state of-the-art multimodal transportation hub. It is conveniently located in the heart of downtown St. Louis where Amtrak passenger train, Greyhound bus, and Metro light rail and bus service converge. This new facility provides passengers with a clean, safe, and friendly transportation center featuring 24-hour operations staff and security. (St. Louis Comptroller)

I was there on November 21, 2008 when St, Louis opened the new Gateway Transpiration Center with Amtrak & Greyhound bus. Megabus is a recent addition.

Comptroller Darlene Green speaking at the opening fNovember 21, 2008

Since opening, I’ve used all three  — Megabus, Greyhound, and Amtrak. In the last 5 years I’ve had at least a dozen round trips from this facility. Most recently returning on Amtrak from Chicago on July 30th.

The Gateway Transportation Center is now, in my opinion, Amshack #3. It’s an embarrassing dump.

The opener hasn’t worked on the East doors for years, May 2012 photo
Also in May 2012 two of three urinals weren’t working.

For at least 5 years the opener to the outside door leading from Civic Center MetroLink station hasn’t worked. Same with a urinal in the main men’s room. Our train from Chicago arrived about 15 minutes early on Sunday July 30th . The up escalator from the platform wasn’t working so everyone had to use the elevator up. Once over the tracks we needed to get down to the main station. The down escalators and elevator weren’t working — stairs were the only option. There were families with small children and I’m in my wheelchair. Mu husband goes down the stairs to see if anyone can help.

Sign on the only accessible way to/from trains indicating out of service. It worked two days earlier.

I knew a ramp existed at the East end of the platform, used ro drive golf carts up to assist those who can’t walk the distance. I make it to the employee parking lot but the elevator I need to get up to the station is the same one I couldn’t use to get down. The only option was to “drive” my wheelchair out of the parking lot, through the gate, to the street.

In June of this years one urinal wasn’t working,

Though Amtrak is just a tenant, it would’ve been nice had they told me the elevator was broken as they got me off the train. I want to know why something is always broken at the Gateway Transportation Center. Is the Comptroller’s office incapable of managing the building? Is proper maintenance beyond debt and rent?

For many travelers this is their first experience in St. Louis. Welcome.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Is The NAACP Travel Advisory For Missouri Necessary?

August 6, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Is The NAACP Travel Advisory For Missouri Necessary?
 

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Please vote below

Recently the National NAACP recognized a Missouri NAACP travel advisory issued in June, relating to SB43, which changes the standards used in discrimination lawsuits. Governor Greitens signed the bill into law.

The organization is circulating a travel advisory after the state passed a law that Missouri’s NAACP conference says allows for legal discrimination. The warning cites several discriminatory incidents in Missouri, included as examples of “looming danger” in the state.

The NAACP says this is the first travel advisory ever issued by the organization, at the state or national level. The Missouri conference initially published the advisory in June, and it was recognized nationally at the NAACP’s annual convention last week. (CNN)

Here’s more:

Black travelers in the state are “subject to unnecessary search seizure and potential arrest,” the Missouri NAACP warned.

“Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri,” the original advisory stated. “Warn your families, co-workers and anyone visiting Missouri to beware of the safety concerns.”

The advisory wasn’t just prompted by concerns about safety on the road. At the time, the state’s Republican governor had not announced whether he would sign or veto legislation that the NAACP has described as bringing back “Jim Crow.” (NPR)

Today’s poll question is about the issuance of a travel advisory.

This poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Reading: Resilient Cities, 2nd Edition: Overcoming Fossil Fuel Dependence

August 4, 2017 Featured, Reading Comments Off on Reading: Resilient Cities, 2nd Edition: Overcoming Fossil Fuel Dependence
 

One could argue that St. Louis is resilient to have survived major population and job loss, in the center of a stagnant region. The cities presented in a new book. Resilient Cities, are very different places:

What does it mean to be a resilient city in the age of a changing climate and growing inequity? As urban populations grow, how do we create efficient transportation systems, access to healthy green space, and lower-carbon buildings for all citizens?
 
Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, and Heather Boyer respond to these questions in the revised and updated edition of Resilient Cities. Since the first edition was published in 2009, interest in resilience has surged, in part due to increasingly frequent and deadly natural disasters, and in part due to the contribution of our cities to climate change. The number of new initiatives and approaches from citizens and all levels of government show the promise as well as the challenges of creating cities that are truly resilient.
 
The authors’ hopeful approach to creating cities that are not only resilient, but striving to become regenerative, is now organized around their characteristics of a resilient city. A resilient city is one that uses renewable and distributed energy; has an efficient and regenerative metabolism; offers inclusive and healthy places; fosters biophilic and naturally adaptive systems; is invested in disaster preparedness; and is designed around efficient urban fabrics that allow for sustainable mobility.
 
Resilient Cities, Second Edition reveals how the resilient city characteristics have been achieved in communities around the globe. The authors offer stories, insights, and inspiration for urban planners, policymakers, and professionals interested in creating more sustainable, equitable, and, eventually, regenerative cities. Most importantly, the book is about overcoming fear and generating hope in our cities. Cities will need to claim a different future that helps us regenerate the whole planet–this is the challenge of resilient cities. (Island Press)

The contents show you the organization:

  • Introduction. Urban Resilience: Cities of Fear and Hope
  • Chapter 1. Invest in Renewable and Distributed Energy
  • Chapter 2. Create Sustainable Mobility Systems
  • Chapter 3. Foster Inclusive and Healthy Cities
  • Chapter 4. Shape Disaster Recovery for the Future
  • Chapter 5. Build Biophilic Urbanism in the City and its Bioregion
  • Chapter 6. Produce a More Cyclical and Regenerative Metabolism
  • Conclusion. Growing Regeneratively

Great subjects.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: Metro Right To Highlight County Police Covering Cameras

August 2, 2017 Crime, Featured, Public Transit Comments Off on Readers: Metro Right To Highlight County Police Covering Cameras
 
North Hanley parking garage

In the recent Sunday Poll nearly seventy percent of those who voted don’t by the statement frim St. Louis County police chief Belmer.

Q: Agree or disagree: Media coverage of County police @ MetroLink is a ploy by Metro to get police powers.

  • Strongly agree 1 [2.78%]
  • Agree 1 [2.78%]
  • Somewhat agree 4 [11.11%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [2.78%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [11.11%]
  • Disagree 9 [25%]
  • Strongly disagree 12 [33.33%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 4 [11.11%]

I do think Metro would like to its own police force, I also think the officers caught spending hours in a substation, rather than be out on platforms, need to face discipline. Belmer too.

What I’m not sure of is of Metro should have police powers. The security guards on platforms and in trains are pretty useless, an argument for them getting police power. On the other hand, abuse of power can come with police powers. The St. Louis region is already highly fragmented. Missouri & Illinois granting Metro, aka Bi-State Development, police powers increases fragmentation.

— Steve Patterson

16th & Market Curb Ramp Slightly Less Shoddy Than It Was

July 31, 2017 Accessibility, Featured, Planning & Design, Walkability Comments Off on 16th & Market Curb Ramp Slightly Less Shoddy Than It Was
 

Over a year ago I posted about one of the many poorly design/constructed curb ramps in this city, see Shoddy Curb Ramp/Crosswalk At 16th Street & Market St  from May 2016. Here are a couple of images from that post:

May 2016: The pained crosswalk was to left of the line, but most pf the ramp was to the right. Plus, the ramp violated the “no lips” rule. One corner of the tactile surface hangs over the curb!
May 2016; Looking West across 16th St at Market, note the location of the crosswalk relative to the detectable warning mat.

At some point in the last year I was told the city will be correcting this ramp. I’ve been through this intersection a lot over the last few months and hadn’t noticed a change — until the other day. While I was glad to see the city hadn’t forgotten about it, I was disappointed by what was done.

The old ramp was torn out and a new one poured. New asphalt fills in the gap that was removed to form the new ramp.
Another view. Like most ramps, this one is still too high so the asphalt helps make up for the error. Not ADA-compliant.
Looking West. Hopefully the crosswalk will be changed at some point, but the ramp still directs you into the intersection.

So the city has gone from an “F” to a “C-“. How much did this cost? What does it take for the city to do A or B work?

I know, I should just accept this city doesn’t care about pedestrian like it does motorists, crappy pedestrian infrastructure has been the norm for too long.

— Steve Patterson

 

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