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Be My Valentine St. Louis

February 14, 2011 Events/Meetings 18 Comments

stlheartHow do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” wrote 19th century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I’ve had a 20 love. The relationship wasn’t always ideal, thoughts of breaking up occurred numerous times.


I never figured out how to quit St. Louis. Here are ten reasons I love St. Louis:

  1. The compact/walkable street grid
  2. The 19th & early 20th century vernacular architecture
  3. The long & rich history
  4. The challenges we face as a city
  5. The diversity of the residents
  6. The openness to the LGBTQ community
  7. The Mississippi River
  8. Our many public parks
  9. The growing group of young urbanists activating the city.
  10. The enormous unrealized potential.

I could more easily list reasons to hate St. Louis but 100 of those aren’t as strong as the above 10.  Please add your reasons to the list in the comments.

– Steve Patterson


Old North St. Louis Annual Meeting & Potluck Dinner

Ald. April Ford-Griffin (D-5th Ward) addresses the large crowd.

I love attending events in St. Louis’ many neighborhoods, especially those involving food. Monday’s annual meeting and potluck dinner in Old North St. Louis extra special to me. You see it was the potluck 20 years earlier, in 1991, that convinced me to move to Old North St. Louis. I talked to many of the same people Monday that I met 20 years ago.

ABOVE: The food table at the end of the night.

I lived in Old North St. Louis for just under three and a half years, March 1991-August 1994.  I recall clients at the time living in places like Frontenac & Ladue being shocked I lived in anywhere in the city, much less north of Delmar.  Those were great years, I was among friends and we were working to realize the tremendous potential of the neighborhood.

I’ve stayed connected in the 16+ years since I moved away and I’m so glad to see all the progress that has been made.  In 2010 a failed pedestrian mall from 1977  was removed, a food co-op was opened. and more new housing was finished and occupied.  I especially love visiting neighborhoods where so much is going right after years of having things go wrong.

– Steve Patterson


Citizens For Modern Transit’s Tom Shrout Has Retired

ABOVE: Cake at Tom Shrout's retirement party was made to look like a MetroLink train
ABOVE: Cake at Tom Shrout's retirement party was made to look like a MetroLink train

Earlier in the week Tom Shrout retired after 22 years as the head of the transit advocacy organization Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT). I always knew Tom had done a lot to get MetroLink light rail going but I learned in greater detail from the CMT board members (past & present) who spoke. Tom is a true transit user and advocate.

The follow are comments CMT’s Grace Corbin made at the annual meeting on 9/17/2010:

“For the last 22 years, Executive Director Tom Shrout has served at the helm of CMT – helping to make great strides in public transit for the region. When Tom took over the organization in 1988, the public transit system in St. Louis was very different. St. Louis had no light rail, no car sharing, low transit ridership, no real Amtrak station, and not much belief in the need for a good transit system for the region. Through his quiet steadfast leadership at the helm, the membership of CMT has helped to build the political and public will to change the landscape of public transit.

During his tenure, the region has seen the opening of not one but three light rail lines – spanning more than 40 miles, between 2 states and a river. There have been significant increases in bus and train ridership gaining national recognition. A car sharing program, WeCAR by Enterprise was inaugurated. With the passage of Prop. A., now there is the commitment on the part of the region to ensure a good public transit system to build livable communities with light rail. All the while, Tom led by example, taking MetroLink to work everyday, going to a one-car family, zipping around in WeCar. . . Tom believed that if we built transit, people would ride it and they did in droves.

Tom had the foresight for CMT to bank more than 8 miles of right-of-way for future expansion. This proved critical for the Cross county line. It was through his foresight and guidance, the CMT Board took a major financial risk this year to subsidize the educational campaign – “Some of us Ride it, All of us Need it” even though many said the campaign was naïve. The campaign was a huge success with people quoting it on the streets, in speeches, Facebook and everywhere we turned. Prop. A passed with 63 percent of the votes – all with Tom leading the public education charge.

Time and time again, Tom has proven that public transit, and in particular light rail is the way to build livable, sustainable communities – truly living and leading the mission of CMT.”

Fortunately Tom, and his wife Debbie, will continue living in the Central West End and Tom will sit on the CMT board. CMT has established the Tom Shrout Endowment Fund for educational purposes to move transit forward in the region. The goal is to raise $22,000.

L to R: University City Mayor Joe Adams, Debbie Shrout, and Tom Shrout
L to R: Former University City Mayor Joe Adams, Debbie Shrout, and Tom Shrout

Thank you Tom Shrout, you’ve made a lasting contribution to our region, each time I swipe my monthly pass on the bus or board a light rail train I will think of you!

– Steve Patterson


Team Presentations To The Jury & Viewing Designs

ABOVE: Public views boards from five competition finalists
ABOVE: Public views boards from five competition finalists in space under the Arch

Yesterday I posted my initial thoughts on the Arch Design Competition.Today I want to go over some of the upcoming dates & places you need to know about.

  • Monday August 23rd: The last day the National Park Service will accept public comment, you can do so here.
  • Thursday August 26th: Each of the five teams will present their concept to the jury, 8am-6:30pm.  Note the location has changed — it is now the Ferrara Theater inside America’s Center.  View the schedule for the day.  Transit access via the Convention Center MetroLink stop or the #99 MetroBus.
  • Friday September 24th: Winning team to be announced.  Time & location not yet known.

Two identical sets of boards exist.  One will remain under the arch through September 26th. The other will travel to venues on both sides of the river through September 26th. For the details click here.

– Steve Patterson


Street Fest In Midtown Friday 8/20/2010 4-11pm

August 19, 2010 Events/Meetings, Midtown Comments Off on Street Fest In Midtown Friday 8/20/2010 4-11pm
ABOVE: Renovated buildings on Locust just east of Compton

Tomorrow afternoon, Friday August 20, 2010, a couple of blocks of Locust (Garrison to Compton) will be closed to traffic for the Midtown Alley Street Fest.

“The Happy Hour of the summer takes place on Locust Street in the heart of Midtown Alley. Free to the public, Locust will be closed from Garrison to Compton to celebrate the neighborhood with food and drinks from Pappy’s Smokehouse, The U, The Good Pie, The Fountain on Locust, Buffalo Brewing Company, Triumph Grill, Vito’s Sicilian Pizzeria, El Borracho and more. Six bands will perform at the Grand Music Sage at Garrison and Locust: Sleepy Kitty, Murder City Players, Humdrum, Via Dove, Fundamental Elements and Tilts.”

For more information see midtownalley.com.  I’m a huge fan of the scale of the buildings as well as a fan of many of the establishments in the area.

– Steve Patterson