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Grammar Checking Graffiti on Eads Bridge

August 20, 2020 Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Grammar Checking Graffiti on Eads Bridge

The last four months I’ve gone out on the Eads Bridge numerous times, thanks to the accessibility of the Missouri end of the pedestrian walkway finally getting fixed. I’ve also crossed the Mississippi River a couple of times to visit the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, with its geyser & lookout tower.

Looking West toward downtown St. Louis

I tend to ignore graffiti on my trips on the bridge, too much else I’d rather focus on. But one day a grouping of graffiti caught my eye on a lookout point as I was photographing the Arch & river.

This is pretty typical of graffiti you’ can find on the railing.

But above this was something offensive, for a couple of reasons.

Really?

I’ve been blogging for nearly 16 years now, regular readers are aware I routinely make grammatical errors. I acknowledge I make mistakes. That said, I know the apostrophe is used to indicate  possession, a contraction, and in some cases plurality. Obviously this person, perhaps 29-year-old Joe Joe, doesn’t understand the difference. Grammerly has a good explanation here, TED has a good video here.

I couldn’t let this mistake continue, so I brought a big black marker on my next two visits.

The unnecessary apostrophe is now gone!
Now this graffiti is only offensive for one reason. Note, the water level has been dropping.

If you’re going to graffiti something at least make sure you use the apostrophe correctly.

Again, I’m fully aware there are likely examples in my writing over the last 15+ years where I’ve used the apostrophe incorrectly. My doing so doesn’t interfere with your photography.

— Steve Patterson

 

New Book — ‘Parks and Recreation System Planning: A New Approach for Creating Sustainable, Resilient Communities’ by David Barth

August 19, 2020 Books, Featured, Parks Comments Off on New Book — ‘Parks and Recreation System Planning: A New Approach for Creating Sustainable, Resilient Communities’ by David Barth

Times have changed considerably in the nearly 75 years since the city released the 1947 Comprehensive Plan, with a section on Public Recreation Facilities. Has our approach kept up with needs of the city, region? A new book is looking to push these forward.

Parks and recreation systems have evolved in remarkable ways over the past two decades. No longer just playgrounds and ballfields, parks and open spaces have become recognized as essential green infrastructure with the potential to contribute to community resiliency and sustainability. To capitalize on this potential, the parks and recreation system planning process must evolve as well. In Parks and Recreation System Planning, David Barth provides a new, step-by-step approach to creating parks systems that generate greater economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Barth first advocates that parks and recreation systems should no longer be regarded as isolated facilities, but as elements of an integrated public realm. Each space should be designed to generate multiple community benefits. Next, he presents a new approach for parks and recreation planning that is integrated into community-wide issues. Chapters outline each step—evaluating existing systems, implementing a carefully crafted plan, and more—necessary for creating a successful, adaptable system. Throughout the book, he describes initiatives that are creating more resilient, sustainable, and engaging parks and recreation facilities, drawing from his experience consulting in more than 100 communities across the U.S.

Parks and Recreation System Planning meets the critical need to provide an up-to-date, comprehensive approach for planning parks and recreation systems across the country. This is essential reading for every parks and recreation professional, design professional, and public official who wants their community to thrive. (Island Press)

This book is for design professionals, bureaucrats , elected officials, and community leaders involved in parks and recreation systems. The contents shows the level of detail:

Introduction: A Framework for Community Sustainability and Resiliency

Part I: Generating Multiple Benefits
Chapter 1. Parks and the Public Realm
Chapter 2. Multiple Dimensions of Parks and Recreation Systems
Chapter 3. High-Performance Public Spaces

Part II: Planning a Comprehensive Approach
Chapter 4. A New Approach to Parks and Recreation System Planning
Chapter 5. Initiating and Planning the PRSMP Process
Chapter 6. The Preliminary Implementation Framework

Part III: Executing the New Approach
Chapter 7. Existing Conditions Analysis
Chapter 8. The Needs Assessment
Chapter 9. Level-of-Service Alternatives
Chapter 10. Developing a Long-Range Vision
Chapter 11. Implementation Strategy

Conclusion: The Power of Parks and Recreation System Planning

You can read a preview at Google Books here, it can be ordered directly from Island Press, locally independent bookstore Left Bank, or that online store. Note: I don’t make anything from these links, just trying to be helpful.

— Steve Patterson

 

Soccer Stadium, Team Name, and COVID-19

August 15, 2020 Featured, MLS Stadium Comments Off on Soccer Stadium, Team Name, and COVID-19

By the time the newly-named St. Louis CITY SC hit the pitch in their Downtown West stadium, now under construction, the bulk of the COVID-19 pandemic should be over…hopefully. Originally they were to join Major League Soccer in 2022, but the current pandemic delayed the MLS expansion schedule a year.

The new MLS stadium is being built North of Market Street, West of 20th Street — exactly where I suggested in February 2016.
The Market Street bridge over the old 22nd Street Interchange is getting filled in.

This delay will greatly benefit the St. Louis CITY SC. Construction on the stadium was just beginning as Coronavirus began spreading in the U.S.  The year delay gives more time to compete the facility and the adjacent training grounds and club offices. The delay also gives them time to make design changes to help in case of future pandemics.

The most obvious would be hand washing stations in public & private areas. The owners & architects are likely discussing other possible design changes:

  • Larger public & private restrooms. Or at least have more dividers.
  • Larger locker rooms, or again more separation.
  • Larger back spaces, like kitchens & staff areas.
  • How to handle lines to enter, for concessions.
  • Potential for high-tech equipment to check temperature of those entering the stadium, locker rooms, offices, etc.
  • How to make the stadium look good on television if a game is played without fans.
  • Materials that resist germs, hold up well to deep cleaning.
  • Equipment to automate the sanitizing of spaces, especially locker rooms.
  • Evaluate the design of HVAC equipment to determine if it meets the newest guidelines for removing contagious air droplets, bringing in fresh air.

There are probably many more design considerations than the above.

The St. Louis CITY SC crest.

Then there’s the name of the team, announced two days ago: St. Louis CITY SC.

We are East of the River and West of I-270. We are Old North and South County. St. Charles and St. Ann. Belleville and Oakville. We are the heart of a vibrant midtown and the soul of dozens of historic downtowns.

Our club represents every street, neighborhood and community in the region, standing up for one another. We are the collective spirit of generations old and young, doers and makers, always looking forward – together.

We are America’s First Soccer Capital and we tenaciously embrace our future. This is our club. This is our home. This is our CITY. (St. Louis CITY SC)

Part of me likes the idea that they’re trying to accomplish — getting us to view the region as outsiders do — a city called St. Louis. Outsiders don’t see or care that St. Louis County is carved up into 90 municipalities, or that the City of St. Louis physical boundaries were frozen in place nearly a century and a half ago. .

Carolyn Kindle Betz, who heads the local ownership group MLS4TheLou, has announced the name and logo for the new Major League Soccer team in St. Louis.

The team is named “Saint Louis City SC” and the color “city red” which borders on the color pink is featured in their logo.

Betz says that the team’s name is a way to bring the region together. The “City” aspect of the name is used by many other soccer clubs internationally. (Fox2)

Betz is right, I was able to find a lot of football clubs with ‘city’ in the name, Manchester City FC is the most known example. It seems not all football…uh…soccer fans like ‘city’ in the name.

Football is full of boring team names like ‘United’, ‘Rovers’ and ‘City’. Look in the right places, however, and you’ll find some really, really good ones. (Planet Football)

It’s interesting how U.S. teams use F.C. (football club) or S.C. (soccer club).  The MLS league will have thirty teams once expansion is complete. Thirteen use ‘FC’ in their names, including the three other expansion teams. With St. Louis CITY SC, the will have four ‘SC’ teams. The remaining thirteen do not use either ‘FC’ or ‘SC’ in their team names.

The colors, crest, etc are all very nice.

— Steve Patterson

 

Checking Out New Pedestrian Bridge Over I-70 Connecting Old North St. Louis and Near North Riverfront Neighborhoods

August 6, 2020 Accessibility, Featured, North City, Walkability Comments Off on Checking Out New Pedestrian Bridge Over I-70 Connecting Old North St. Louis and Near North Riverfront Neighborhoods

In December 2018 MoDOT temporarily closed I-70 to remove an old pedestrian bridge at North Market Street. A similar pedestrian bridge was removed from over I-44 at Marconi Ave, and at other locations.  Yesterday I checked out the new ADA-compliant replacement over I-70.

The East side of the new pedestrian bridge, along Northbound 10th Street, has a switchback ramp.

Before getting into the new bridge we should look at what it replaced. Interstate 70 was built decades before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, so the old pedestrian bridge had stairs on each side.

This 2010 photo is from the West side along 11th Street. The stairs on each end went  down in opposite directions.

Stairs make such a bridge impossible for those of us who use wheelchairs, but also difficult for people who walk using a cane or walker. They’re also a challenge to a parent pushing a stroller, cyclists, etc.

In April 2019 I snapped this image of construction on the new bridge as I was driving by. Yes, I drive too!

Yesterday’s weather was so nice I decided to check out the completed bridge. It was 1.2 miles just getting there from our apartment near 7th & Cass Ave. I did encounter missing curb ramps in a few places — often missing sidewalks. But I made it.

The access point on the East side of I-70 is at North Market Street. There is no painted crosswalk, no signs warning drivers to yield to pedestrians. No curb bulbs to narrow the crossing distance. Nothing. 10th Street traffic is one-way northbound — and it is fast.
Once safely across 10th Street you see trash has accumulated. The city has equipment to clean streets but tight spots like this don’t get cleaned.
From the base looking up the ramp to the landing. I use a power chair which had no problem with the incline. Being ADA-compliant means the maximum level should be acceptable to person using a manual wheelchair. Every so often there are level spots to give someone s rest.
From the landing, looking back down.
Looking South from the landing
From the very top looking back at the landing
Looking East at North Market Street from the top.
Looking West across the level top of the bridge.
Looking North at Northbound I-70.
Looking South at Northbound I-70. The switchback ramp can be seen on the left.
Looking South at Southbound I-70. The straight ramp on the West side (11th Street) can be seen on the right.
From the West end of the bridge you get an excellent view of Jackson Place Park. This was the center of three circles in the original plan of the separate Village of North St. Louis.
Looking South down the straight ramp on the West side (11th Street).
Looking back up from the bottom.
At the bottom you look across 11th Street at Monroe Street. A new curb ramp was built across the street. Like the other side, 11th is one-way and there is no crosswalk markings, signs, etc.
Back up toward Jackson Place Park you can get an overview of the West side.

It is nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. Highways divided many neighborhoods, many previously connected streets permanently severed. I have no idea how much this cost, but it was worth every penny. The highway is still an at-grade divider at this point, but the bridge makes it possible for everyone to safely to cross over it.

Once the current pandemic is over I’ll take the bus to other new pedestrian highway bridges so I can compare.  Yesterday I explored in Old North, got takeout from Crown Candy, and returned home 3.5 hours after leaving. Roundtrip was about 3 miles.

— Steve Patterson

 

Checking Out Giant Touch Screen Information Kiosks

July 30, 2020 Featured Comments Off on Checking Out Giant Touch Screen Information Kiosks

Way back in January I saw a news story that interested me, but it was too cold out — eight new information kiosks had gone online.

The vertical touch screen information centers provide visitors and residents with information on restaurants and attractions as well as local resources and services.

Kyle Sparks was visiting from Cincinnati and used a kiosk a the corner of 4th and Chestnut.

 “I’ve only been to St. Louis a couple of times and I was just kind of moseying around trying to find out what I could find and these make it really easy,” he said. 

The kiosks are part of the city’s Smart City initiative and have been in the works for two years. The information centers are being paid for without any tax dollars.

“There is no investment from the city or taxpayers to pull this thing off. It’s entirely funded through sponsorships and advertising opportunities,” said Jacob Long, spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson. (KMOV)

I saw a couple white driving home from trips to a store. In late April it was warm enough for me to check them out. However, health and other posts prevented me from writing about them…until now.

An IKE at 8th & Washington Ave.

Here’s what the manufacturer says about the hardware & software:

Designed in concert with Pentagram and built to the proprietary specifications of our platform, every IKE guarantees the best in quality and will complement the aesthetics of any city.

Instead of being relegated to a secondary position on a tablet, the large 65” screens located on both sides of the kiosk are prominent, visually impactful and encourage frequent pedestrian interaction.

IKE is built on an open, multi-lingual data platform that provides maximum flexibility and integration with city data sources. Our software is developed in an agile process, with city partners joining us at the table to develop new ideas and applications.

Our in-house Software Engineering team has full-stack expertise, including infrastructure, scalable backend systems and user interfaces. This allows for the continuous evolution and innovation of our platform and gives our team the ability to customize IKE software to meet the needs of any city. (IKE Smart City)

Let’s take a look.

The other side of the IKE at 8th & Washington.
There are accessibility options the user can select — assuming they can see well enough to select the larger text option.
The sidewalk side of the hardware has a lighted blue 911 button — I didn’t test this.
I did test the ability to have it take your photo and text it to yourself. The photo arrives square, but I cropped it here. This side of this IKE was incredibly slow on April 21st.
So I went over to Market & Tucker to test another.
This screen worked much better than the previous. They may just need to be restarted every so often. Again, this was cropped from a square image. I’m seated in my wheelchair so standing would get more of you in the photo.
Yesterday I saw another at 8th & Walnut
And another was just installed along Tucker at Washington Ave. The cover is still in place. According to the KMOV article, there were 8 initially — 7 downtown and 1 across from Crown Candy Kitchen. Not sure how many are throughout St. Louis now.

I’ve yet to see anyone using an IKE, but downtown has been deserted because of the pandemic. They definitely get your attention, even as a motorist, especially as a pedestrian.

The IKE touch screens are in addition to the static directories downtown provided by the CVC, shown above in this 2013 image.

We’ll see how it goes. I need keep carrying hand sanitizer with me so I can keep testing them.

— Steve Patterson

 

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