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Poll: How Many Times Have You Been To St. Louis Union Station In The Last 12 Months?

ABOVE: The Grand Hall in Union Station. Photo by William Zbaren from the book American City: St. Louis Architecture

St. Louis Union Station is just a few blocks away from my loft, so it’s convenient to stop there. I still marvel at the grandeur of the structure and wish I could go back in time to see at its peak.

In 1912 Union Station was a busy place, but who visits Union Station in 2012? Hotels guests obviously. Anyone else? Bueller?

In the poll this week I want to get a sense of how often the readers of this blog frequent Union Station. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. The poll is in the right sidebar and results will be presented on Wednesday August 29, 2012.

— Steve Patterson



On-Street Parking On Washington Ave

Regular readers know I’m a fan of on-street parking. It forms a nice barrier between moving traffic and pedestrians. It also helps up road width. Linear parking is so much better than surface or structured sparking.  A few years back there were efforts by officials to keep the full curb-to-curb width of Washington Ave for moving vehicles. After some battles, parking is permitted on both sides between 10th-11th and the south side from 11th-Tucker (12th). In true St. Louis fashion, this is being addressed block by block rather than a well-planned coordinated effort.

ABOVE: Cars parked on Washington Ave east of 7th Street

The other evening I was pleased to see cars parked on Washington Ave. east of 7th. There are no signs prohibiting parking so it seemed to just happen organically. There’s also no parking meters.

ABOVE: Cars still parked on Washington Ave a couple of hours later.

If retail is going to open and survive on-street parking is a must-have.

— Steve Patterson


Transit Visibility: Metro vs DART

The headline isn’t referring to the visibility of transit vehicles, but the transit agency itself. More specifically the transit store and board of directors.

ABOVE: Any clue what goes on here? Let’s get closer so you can see.
ABOVE: It’s obvious now, right?

Above is the entrance to Metro’s MetroRide Store where you can get transit schedules and buy transit passes. Everyone walking by on Washington Ave would know that, wouldn’t they? The Convention Center MetroLink station is a block to the east, the #40 (Broadway) MetroBus also stops there.  Some photo ID services are here, seniors and disabled have to visit the strip center on DeBaliviere. Metro’s headquarters is in a building a block away from the Laclede’s Landing MetroLink station, not serviced by a single bus line.

In Dallas last month I noticed how DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) was totally different, you know, making sure people knew how to find it.

ABOVE: Dart’s offices are located at one of the busiest light rail stations, the Akard Station. The yellow windows on the right market the store just inside their HQ.
ABOVE: Well that’s pretty clear! No confusion about what I’ll find inside.

Retailers know to get customers they need to draw people into their stores for a sale to happen.

I also like how DART calls their light rail simply “rail”, very equal to “bus.” All transit riders ride DART regardless of whether they ride bus, rail, paratransit.

Visibility extends to the board managing the agency.

ABOVE: DART’s boardroom is just inside the building entrance unlike Metro where you have to sign in with security and be escorted upstairs just before the meeting starts.

Our MetroRide Store description tells another part of the problem: Location

Trying to decide which Metro Pass or Ticket is the best value for you? For assistance with your Metro fare purchases, you can call or visit the MetroRide Store, 701 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101, 314-982-1495, (located inside America’s Center at 7th & Washington, Downtown St. Louis), open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays. The MetroRide Store accepts MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express, personal checks, debit cards and government transportation vouchers.

701 Convention Plaza? Some know Convention Plaza used to be called Delmar but part downtown was renamed in the 1970s when the Cervantes Convention Center was built. In the early 1990s the convention center was expanded two blocks south to Washington Ave, at that time Convention Plaza was bisected by the expanded building.

ABOVE: Looking at a map someone would logically go to 7th & Convention Plaza to find 701 Convention Plaza, right? But they’d be too far north if they did.

The address should be 703 (or 705) Washington Ave!

You have to really want to buy a transit pass or attend a Metro board meeting to seek either out. Neither should be as difficult as they are. Tomorrow I’ll share a few ideas I think we should consider copying from DART to improve bus and rail service in St. Louis.

— Steve Patterson


Readers Support Soulard Market Renovation

ABOVE: Soulard Farmers’ Market

In the poll last week readers indicated they’re supportive of renovating Soulard Market.  Read the original post and comments here.

Q: Support the Planned $14 Million Renovation of Soulard Market?

  1. Yes! 57 [62.64%]
  2. No! 14 [15.38%]
  3. Don’t know enough to decide 10 [10.99%]
  4. Unsure/no opinion 5 [5.49%]
  5. Other: 5 [5.49%]

The five “other” answers were:

  1. Let it be – OLD is OK…why is history such a crime in this City!
  2. I would support it if the food was local and not the same crap from Schnucks
  3. most underperforming venue
  4. Support some of the improvements, but not all
  5. what’s the vision?

The Soulard Market Master Plan can be downloaded here. I’ve not had an opportunity to study the plan so I’ll reserve any judgement. When I used to shop at Soulard I’d do a circle to see what looked good and would then return to the farmer vendors to buy from them — I rarely bought from those reselling produce row items. I’d like to see more farmers and fewer resellers.

– Steve Patterson



Poll: Support the Planned $14 Million Renovation of Soulard Market?

ABOVE: Soulard Farmers’ Market

Over the years there has been talk of giving Soulard Market a top to bottom facelift but it hasn’t happened. Such talk is happening again:

The master plan for Soulard Market proposes spending as much as $14 million on improvements over the next several years. The report suggests that funding could come from grants and donations, a parks bond issue or a future parks tax. (see stltoday for plan details)

Some are excited by the idea and others say the charm will be designed out in the process. You can view the full plan here.

Share your comments below and vote in the poll in the right sidebar. Poll closes a week from today and results will be published on Friday July 20th.

— Steve Patterson