Readers Split On Restriction Of Police Tactics

 

 Following protests earlier this year, the ACLU sued the St. Louis Police over their tactics.  Last week came a ruling: U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry’s order says that police can’t declare an “unlawful assembly” and enforce it against those “engaged in expressive activity, unless the persons are acting in concert …

Reading: The Community Resilience Reader: Essential Resources for an Era of Upheaval

 

 Communities must remain resilient to weather change, a recent book explores this issue: The sustainability challenges of yesterday have become today’s resilience crises. National and global efforts have failed to stop climate change, transition from fossil fuels, and reduce inequality. We must now confront these and other increasingly complex problems by …

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Police Be Able To Declare Protests Are “Unlawful Assembly”?

 

 Last week a judge put limits on the St. Louis {P;oce: U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry’s order says that police can’t declare an “unlawful assembly” and enforce it against those “engaged in expressive activity, unless the persons are acting in concert to pose an imminent threat to use force or violence or …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 24 of 2017-2018 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 24th week of the 2017-2018 session. No new bills were introduced last week. THIRTEEN (13) NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 11/17/17: *Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, …

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St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills #128-129 & #130-132

September 29, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills #128-129 & #130-132
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 17th week of the 2017-2018 session. .You’ve likely already heard about the first of four bills being introduced today — fees to pay for Scottrade Center renovations. But first, two board bills were introduced last week that were not on the published agenda:

  • Board Bill No. 128 | Establishing Detention Facility Advisory Commission
    BOARD BILL NO. 128 SPONSORED BY ALDERMAN JOE VACCARO An Ordinance establishing a Detention Facility Advisory Commission that shall receive public complaints regarding the City of St. Louis Justice Center and Medium Security Institution detention facilities and shall, at its discretion, review and investigate such complaints as well as patterns of issues and systemic concerns the City’s detention facilities and their operation it has identified and where the Commission deems appropriate, make recommendations to the Department of Public Safety, the Board of Aldermen, and Mayor with respect to Corrections Division policy and procedure, training, infrastructure, care and treatment of detainees, and other areas related to detention facilities and their operations.
  • Board Bill No. 129 |Ordinance banning horses on public streets
    BOARD BILL NO. 129 SPONSORED BY ALDERMAN JOE VACCARO An ordinance to make it unlawful, subject to those exceptions stated herein, for any person to ride, walk or otherwise lead a horse or horses on, along or over the public streets, alleys and sidewalks within the City of St. Louis and the paths and trails, and any extensions thereof within the City of St. Louis.

ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 9/29/17:

*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 rules to do so. This information is based on the published agenda as of yesterday @ 8am:

  • B.B.#130 –Spencer/Ogilvie/Cohn/Guenther –An ordinance pertaining to the levying of certain fees as described herein upon tickets sold for events at City?owned facilities, including the Scottrade Center, the Peabody Opera House, and any new City-owned professional soccer stadium and other City-owned buildings used for sports and entertainment purposes to fund certain construction, reconstruction and improvements as described herein and authorizing and directing the establishment of The Sports and Entertainment Facilities Support Fund by the Comptroller or other appropriate City Officer, providing public funding for such activities and repealing Ordinance 70473.
  • B.B.#131 – Davis –Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name, Elder Bennie Lee Thompson Street which shall begin at the intersection of Sheridan and Webster and run East on Sheridan to N. Garrison.
  • B.B.#132 ? Howard –An Ordinance establishing an Office of Community Mediation and for the appointment of a Director for its oversight and management who shall establish a protocol for delivering voluntary mediation services for the citizens and a schedule of fees which may be charged therefor to be based upon participant’s ability to pay, and who shall monitor the outcomes and lasting results of mediations; and containing an emergency clause and severability clause
  • B.B.#133 –Martin –An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate above surface, surface and sub?surface travel in Primm Street from Reilly in City Blocks 3126 and 3150.

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.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: A Deity Didn’t Plan St. Louis’ 1927 Tornado — 90 Years Ago

September 27, 2017 Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on Opinion: A Deity Didn’t Plan St. Louis’ 1927 Tornado — 90 Years Ago
 
Damage caused by 1927 Tornado, Photo:St Louis Public Library . Click image to view slideshow

Ninety years ago this Friday afternoon a tornado hit St. Louis, causing major death & destruction:

The forecast for Thursday, Sept. 29, 1927, was for rain. It was cloudy and 72 degrees at noon. In Central High School, 1,750 students tended to their studies.

The barometer fell steadily at the Weather Bureau office downtown in the Railway Exchange Building, where forecasters went upstairs for a look. To their west was a low, black thunderstorm charging to the northeast. Sudden torrents of rain chased them inside.

They couldn’t see the tornado churning through the heart of the city. In barely five minutes, it killed 78 people and seriously injured an additional 550 along a seven-mile path. (Post-Dispatch)

Here’s a brief video on this disaster:

St. Louis has experienced numerous destructive tornados, we may get a big earthquake at some point. Most of us accept these as natural ossuaries. However, some like former actor Kirk Cameron and televangelist Joel Osteen, think sisters are the result of their deity’s plan!  Either punishment or a test, respectively.

The result of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll.

Q: Agree or disagree: Disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, etc) are part of God’s plan.

  • Strongly agree 3 [8.82%]
  • Agree 1 [2.94%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [8.82%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [5.88%]
  • Disagree 1 [2.94%]
  • Strongly disagree 22 [64.71%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [5.88%]

Thankfully most who responded don’t think a deity plans the killing of people in disasters, though those in the middle or who think sisters are part of a plan probably don;t think man has caused climate change — the reason recent hurricanes were worse than they would’ve been otherwise.

— Steve Patterson

Bus Stop Design In The St. Louis Region De-Prioritizes Transit

September 25, 2017 Featured, Planning & Design, Public Transit Comments Off on Bus Stop Design In The St. Louis Region De-Prioritizes Transit
 

Last month I posted about how St. Louis Does the Opposite of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), this is the first example: bus stops.

Transit is returning to its central place in the life of cities. With more people using buses, streetcars, and light rail than ever before, our street design paradigm is shifting to give transit the space it deserves. People are choosing to live, work, and play in walkable neighborhoods, and cities are prioritizing highly productive modes like transit as the key to efficient, sustainable mobility for growing urban populations. Transit agencies and street departments are working together to create streets that not only keep buses and streetcars moving, but are great places to be. Cities are extending light rail systems, investing in streetcar lines, and creating new rapid bus lines at a stunning pace, with ridership growing even faster in city centers. Transit agencies are rethinking their networks to serve neighborhoods at a high level all day, not just at commute times, while bike share and active transportation networks make it even easier to not only reduce driving, but to avoid the expense of owning a car.  (NACTO: Transit Street Design Introduction) 

Some of NACTO’s principles:

On streets of every size and context, design can directly improve transit travel time, reliability, and capacity. Major projects like dedicated transitways can substantially increase transit speeds and the total person capacity of a street. On smaller streets, fine-grained improvements like bus bulbs and signal timing combine to transform the way the street works.  (NACTO: Transit Street Principles)

Transit streets are built around safe, low-stress, and complete pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure. Transit riders are active users of the street, relying on comfortable sidewalks and bikeways—and orderly motor vehicle traffic moving at safe speeds. Intuitive travel paths and frequent opportunities to cross the street make it easy and safe for people to get to transit stops, and are essential to building ridership.

Factors like presence of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, mixed land uses, and transit stop amenities have all shown significant positive correlations with transit ridership. However, the most significant indicator to ridership is transit level of service—transit frequency, transit alternatives, and route density—at a given stop location. (NACTO: Transit Street Principles)

On stops…

Use boarding islands and bulbs to allow transit vehicles to stop in their moving lane. Buses have long been expected to pull out of traffic to the curb, but this practice de-prioritizes transit, sometimes significantly on mixed-traffic streets. In-lane stops eliminate that delay, and provide an opportunity for near-level or level boarding. They also create shorter, safer pedestrian crossings, provide more walking space on the sidewalk, and make the street more predictable by sorting out bike-bus conflicts at stops. (NACTO: Transit Station & Stop Principles)

Sr. Louis, naturally, makes buses pull out of traffic rather than stay in the travel lane, as recommended. A problem I see often is people parking in the pull-out bus stop, from the archives:

MetroBus stop on the north side of Market Street filled with parked cars.
Cars on the north side of this 14th Street bus stop made it impossible for buses to pull up to the curb
Car parked in a bus stop on Forest Park
A St. Louis police car parked in front of a fire hydrant in a bus stop at 16th & Market.

More on the benefits of in-line stops:

By allowing buses to move in a straight line, in-lane stops eliminate both pull-out time and traffic re-entry time, a source of delay and unreliable service. In-lane stops are especially valuable on streets operating at or near vehicle capacity, or on streets with long signal cycles, in which transit vehicles may experience long re-entry delays while waiting for traffic to clear. (NACTO: Stop Placement & Intersection Configuration)

And the negatives of requiring buses to pull-out of the travel lane:

Where buses are required to pull from traffic to make stops, longer bus zones are needed to accommodate transitions to and from traffic.

Short transition distances add delay to transit service and require sharper transitions to the curb, wearing transit vehicles and infrastructure more quickly.

Enforcement is required to keep pull-out stops clear; vehicles standing or parking in the stop zone constrain the operator’s ability to pull completely to the platform.

Longer stops ease transitions into and out of stops, but require more curb length, reducing curbside parking spots.
At high-volume boarding locations, longer stops can be used to distribute queuing riders along the sidewalk and to ease pedestrian congestion.

The design of the humble bus stop can prioritize or de-prioritize transit. For decades the entree St. Louis region has de-prioritized transit use through the design of streets in the the public right-of-way.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Are Disasters Part of God’s Plan?

September 24, 2017 Featured, Religion, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Are Disasters Part of God’s Plan?
 
Please vote below

There have been quite a few recent disasters: multiple hurricanes and the earthquake in Mexico. Some reactions differed from the rest. For example, actor Kirk Cameron.

The former child actor posted a video on Facebook saying that Hurricane Harvey and Irma were all a part of God’s plan and sent by Him so we can repent.
“How should we look at two giant hurricanes coming back to back like this?” Cameron said in a Facebook video posted from the airport in Orlando Thursday. “Do we write them off as coincidence? Do we write it off as a statistical anomaly? Wow! Who would’ve thought? Is it just Mother Nature in a bad mood?” (Miami Herald)

You can watch Cameron’s video here. A well-known member of clergy, Joel Osteen had a more positive message for those dealing withHarvey:

During his televised sermon today, Osteen seemed to reference the storm that devastated huge swaths of Texas and Louisiana. And the way the preacher told it, hurricanes like Harvey are just God’s way of saying you can take a great and life-altering tragedy.

Bringing up a biblical story involving Jesus and his apostles sailing across a lake during a hurricane-like storm, Osteen said that Jesus didn’t wake up during the squall because he knew they could handle it. “If they were all going to die, he would have gotten up without them having to wake him up,” he exclaimed.

Osteen then went on to tell his congregation that sometimes they may call on God to “fix this right now” as they panic during a storm, but that God apparently has a plan.

“The reason it may seem like God is not waking up is not because he’s ignoring you, not because he’s uninterested, it’s because he knows you can handle it,” he stated.

Osteen added, “Take it as a compliment.” (Mediaite)

You can see Osteen’s sermon here.

Which brings us to today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight, though any attempt to skew the results will prompt me to close it early.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills #122-127

September 22, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills #122-127
 
St. Louis City Hall

Last week the St. Louis Board of Aldermen had just one bill on their agenda, #122, but it wasn’t introduced. It’s back today with five more.

ON AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 9/22/17:

*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 rules to do so. This information is based on the published agenda as of yesterday @ 8am:

B.B.#122 – Conway –An ordinance, recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, authorizing a supplemental appropriation; amending Ordinance 70540, commonly referred
to as the City Annual Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 2017?2018; appropriating and setting apart the sum of One Million Nine Hundred Ten Thousand Dollars from revenues accruing to the Local Use Tax Fund; and containing an emergency clause.

B.B.#123 – Roddy – An ordinance, recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, authorizing the Mayor, to submit a 2018 Annual Action Plan to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to apply for funding under the Federal Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership, Emergency Solutions Grant and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Programs, appropriating the sum of Fifteen Million, Six Hundred Twenty-Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety?Eight Dollars which the City estimates will be available for the 2018 CDBG Program Year; appropriating the sum of Two Million, One Thousand, One Hundred and Forty-Six Dollars which the City estimates will be available for the 2018 HOME Program Year; appropriating the sum of One Million, Four Hundred Ninety?Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty Dollars which the City estimates will be available for the 2018 ESG Program Year; and appropriating the sum of One Million, Six Hundred Ten Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Three Dollars which the City estimates will be available for the 2018 HOPWA Program Year; containing an emergency clause.

B.B.#124 – Bosley – An ordinance repealing Ordinance 6900 pertaining to the issuance of any package or drink liquor licenses for premises within the boundaries of the Third Ward Liquor Control District and in lieu thereof containing the following supplementary exemptions: renewal of an existing license and the establishment of an Entertainment District; and containing an emergency clause.

B.B.#125 – P. Boyd ?An ordinance repealing Ordinance 70573 and in lieu thereof enacting a new ordinance prohibiting the issuance of any package or drink liquor licenses for any currently non?licensed premises within the boundaries of the Twenty?Seventh Ward Liquor Control District; and containing an emergency clause.

B.B.#126 – Ingrassia – An ordinance adopted pursuant to the Intergovernmental Agreement Act, Sections 70.210 to 70.325, inclusive, of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, and authorizing the City to enter into an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement with the Metropolitan Sewer District for the purpose of sharing certain water data in the possession of the City with the Metropolitan Sewer District, for fair and substantial compensation received by the Metropolitan Sewer District, containing a severability clause and a governance clause.

B.B.#127 – Muhammad – An Ordinance establishing speed bumps at various locations in O’Fallon Park, and containing an Emergency Clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, it can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session.

— Steve Patterson

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