Four Recent Books From Island Press

 

  Trying to get caught up on posts, so rather than four individual posts these four books from 2022 are grouped together. — Steve ‘City Forward: How Innovation Districts Can Embrace Risk and Strengthen Community’ by Matt Enstice with Mike Gluck To me it seems like nearly every new development project …

From Dated to State of the Art: 100 North Broadway

 

  Buildings are expensive to construct, so frequently renovation makes more sense than razing & replacing. If the structure is sound changing the finishes, fenestration (windows & doors), technology, etc is cost-effective and green. The office tower at 100 North Broadway is a good example. Most was good, very little …

19th Annual Look at the State of St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Pt 2: Kingshighway to City Limits

 

  This post continues looking at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in St. Louis, west of Kingshighsway. For east of Kingshighway see Part 1. The MLK corridor is underserved by financial institutions, so it’s nice to see a bank on the NW corner of MLK & Belt Ave., within the …

19th Annual Look at the State of St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Pt 1: Tucker to Kingshighway

 

  Civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Aril 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. In response cities began renaming streets in Black/Africian-American areas in his honor. St. Louis was a little slow at making this happen, it wasn’t until 1972 that Franklin & Easton Avenues became …

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Sunday Poll: Do You Have A ‘REAL ID’?

October 6, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll, Travel Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Do You Have A ‘REAL ID’?
 

Please vote below

In 2005 congress passed the REAL ID Act, but adoption has been slow. Missouri just began issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses this year. Three states (New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Oregon) still aren’t compliant.

What’s the big deal?

On October 1, 2020, travelers will need a “REAL ID-compliant” driver’s license, US passport, US military ID or other accepted identification to fly within the United States.

The REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for the issuing of state licenses and their production.
It also prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses from states not meeting those minimum standards for certain activities. That includes boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, entering nuclear power plants and entering federal facilities.

To get a REAL ID-compliant state driver’s license, the US Department of Homeland Security requires applicants provide documentation showing their full legal name, their date of birth, their Social Security Number, two proofs of address of principal residence and lawful status. (States may impose more requirements.) (CNN)

The REAL ID Act faced widespread opposition from numerous groups, states.  The final deadline is now less than a year away. If you have a passport, however, you can fly after October 1, 2020 without a REAL ID.

Today’s poll is very straightforward:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. Wednesday morning I’ll share how you can tell if your license/ID is REAL ID-compliant or not.  Can’t wait?

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 17 of 2019-2020 Session

October 4, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 17 of 2019-2020 Session
 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 17th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 16.

Today’s agenda includes six (6) new bills. Two are interesting, potentially controversial — one regarding criminal history of job applicants (120). The other regarding residency requirements for city employees (121).

  • B.B. #118 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 3974 Sarpy Ave. Area
  • B.B. #119 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis (the “City”) to enter into and execute on behalf of the City, seven (7) First Amended On-Airport Passenger Vehicle Rental (“PVR”) Concession Agreements (the “First Amendments”) at St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”) containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #120- Muhammad – An ordinance prohibiting employers in the City of St. Louis from basing job hiring or promotion decisions on an applicant’s criminal history, unless the employer can demonstrate its relevance to the employment related decision, or where employers are required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions due to local, state, or federal law or regulation; and prohibiting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history until after it has been determined that the job applicant is otherwise qualified for the job position, or the job applicant is a part of the final pool of candidates from which the job position will be filled and all of the applicants in the pool are asked.
  • B.B. #121- Vaccaro – An ordinance submitting to the qualified voters of the City of St. Louis, a proposal to revise Section 2 of Article VIII of the City of St. Louis Charter which requires City employees to reside within the boundaries of the City of St. Louis and thus allow said employees, except for City Agency and Department Directors appointed by the Mayor, to reside outside of the boundaries of the City of St. Louis, and; providing for an election to be held for voting on the proposed revision and the manner of voting thereat and; for the publication, certification, deposit, and recording of this ordinance; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #122 – Vollmer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 5223 Botanical Ave. Area
  • B.B. #123 – Vollmer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 5476 Dempsey Ave. and 5027 Daggett Ave. Area

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

First Look At Metro’s Revised Bus Service (aka Metro Reimagined)

October 2, 2019 Featured, Public Transit, STL Region, Transportation Comments Off on First Look At Metro’s Revised Bus Service (aka Metro Reimagined)
 

I’ve only begun looking at the new “Metro Reimagined” bus service in St. Louis City & County, haven’t even ridden a bus yet this week. I do recall other riders discussing it last Friday at the bus stop. One woman, who also lives just north of downtown, was upset about the west end of the #97 Delmar bus getting cut in St. Louis County. It will mean more walking for her to get to work.

The #70 Grand MetroBus is the busiest bus line in the region, partly due to being the only route frequent service. August 2012

Here are the four tiers used to organize the MetroBus routes:

  • Frequent: 10 high-frequency routes offering service every 15 minutes or faster
  • Local: 35 routes offering 30-minute service
  • Community: 6 routes that provide important connections in low-ridership areas
  • Express: 6 routes providing direct connections with limited stops to key destinations

My first place to start was asking “Will I be impacted?” by this change. The short answer is yes — every bus rider will see changes to service. Some positive, some negative.

Moving from Downtown West to Columbus Square in December 2018 means I have fewer bus routes available — basically the #32, with the southbound  #40 another 1/10 of a mile further away than the southbound #32. The northbound #32 is considerably closer than the northbound #40.

Since moving I’ve rarely used the #40, the #32 is my primary bus route. Both routes are considered “local” routes, now with 30 minute frequency during weekdays. The service was every 40 minutes, so 30 minute frequency is an improvement.

The other bus I use is the #90 Hampton, when I visit my doctor 4x per year. While it’s listed as a “frequent” route with 15 minute service that only applies to the northern portion of the route from Riverview to Forest Park. From Forest Park to Gravois-Hampton service is every 30 minutes. I think service has been every 40 minutes, so another slight improvement.

Another bus I used to ride often is the #99 downtown trolley, introduced in

Me exiting the Downtown Trolley on the day it debuted in July 2010. The bright wrap ceased being used a few years ago. Photo by Jim Merkel

The recent Sunday Poll asked about this new plan:

Q: Agree or disagree: Metro’s new ‘Metro Reimagined’ with more frequent bus service will result in significant ridership increases.

  • Strongly agree: 0 [0%]
  • Agree: 2 [7.14%]
  • Somewhat agree: 4 [14.29%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 3 [10.71%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [10.71%]
  • Disagree: 5 [17.86%]
  • Strongly disagree: 9 [32.14%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 2 [7.14%]

More than 60% didn’t think this will lead to a significant increase in ridership. That’s fair, I think the primary goal was to better serve existing riders — to stop losing ridership.

Riders in some parts of the county will see less service.  My intention is for future posts to look at what’s working well, and what’s not.

— Steve Patterson

New Book — ‘Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit’ by Steven Higashide

September 30, 2019 Books, Featured, Public Transit, Transportation Comments Off on New Book — ‘Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit’ by Steven Higashide
 

‘Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit’ by Steven Higashide will be available October 10, 2019.

I’ve known for a while that today’s the day Metro rolls out the biggest change to bus routes in decades. I wasn’t sure how I’d evaluate the changes then last week a new book shows up: ‘Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit’ by Steven Higashide.

From publisher Island Press:

Imagine a bus system that is fast, frequent, and reliable—what would that change about your city?

Buses can and should be the cornerstone of urban transportation. They offer affordable mobility and can connect citizens with every aspect of their lives. But in the US, they have long been an afterthought in budgeting and planning. With a compelling narrative and actionable steps, Better Buses, Better Cities inspires us to fix the bus.

Transit expert Steven Higashide shows us what a successful bus system looks like with real-world stories of reform—such as Houston redrawing its bus network overnight, Boston making room on its streets to put buses first, and Indianapolis winning better bus service on Election Day. Higashide shows how to marshal the public in support of better buses and how new technologies can keep buses on time and make complex transit systems understandable.

Higashide argues that better bus systems will create better cities for all citizens. The consequences of subpar transit service fall most heavily on vulnerable members of society. Transit systems should be planned to be inclusive and provide better service for all. These are difficult tasks that require institutional culture shifts; doing all of them requires resilient organizations and transformational leadership.

Better bus service is key to making our cities better for all citizens. Better Buses, Better Cities describes how decision-makers, philanthropists, activists, and public agency leaders can work together to make the bus a win in any city.

Though I have a hard time post-stroke reading a book cover to cover, I dived into the introduction and some chapters. Here are the contents so you can see how it’s organized:

  • Preface: My Own Bus Story
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: We Need to Unleash the Bus
  • Chapter 1: What Makes People Choose the Bus?
  • Chapter 2: Make the Bus Frequent
  • Chapter 3: Make the Bus Fast and Reliable
  • Chapter 4: Make the Bus Walkable and Dignified
  • Chapter 5: Make the Bus Fair and Welcoming
  • Chapter 6: Gerrymandering the Bus
  • Chapter 7: Technology Won’t Kill the Bus—Unless We Let It
  • Chapter 8: Building a Transit Nation
  • Conclusion: Winning Mindsets and Growing Movements

The introduction agues we must reduce greenhouse emissions from transportation — public transit it how we accomplish that goal. Specifically, the bus is how we reduce greenhouse emissions by reducing car trips — including Lyft & Uber trips.  Higashide also points out that civic leaders, business leaders, and transit agency executives & board members don’t ride the bus in their regions. Non-riders think adding wifi, for example, will make a difference. Frequency and convenience is what matters. If the bus runs every 15 minutes that’s great — bus not if you need to walk 5 blocks on each end of the trip.

If you’re interested in learning about the importance of bus service is to a region, and how to improve it,  I suggest getting this book when it comes out October 10th. Read more about author Steven Higashide here.

I’ll be using this book as a guide for my first look at Metro’s new bus service on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Will ‘Metro Reimagined’ Produce Significant Gains In MetroBus Ridership?

September 29, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will ‘Metro Reimagined’ Produce Significant Gains In MetroBus Ridership?
 

Please vote below

Tomorrow Metro’s new “Metro Reimagined” bus service begins. A recent press release gives a good summary:

The new MetroBus service plan for transit riders in St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis will go into effect on Monday, September 30. This major service change will impact every bus route in both the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, and will provide customers with more frequent service, improved weekend service and more convenient options for getting around town.

The new routes which will be implemented on September 30 are the culmination of the two-year Metro Reimagined project, an in-depth analysis of the Metro Transit system launched to identify improvements needed to better meet the mobility needs of customers. Research, customer engagement and community outreach conducted during the project identified faster, more direct trips and more frequent service as top priorities for bus riders.

Through the new service plan, Metro Transit is increasing the frequency of many MetroBus routes. Ten routes, which carry nearly half of current MetroBus customers in Missouri, are offering service every 15 minutes or faster on weekdays. In comparison, the MetroBus system currently only has one bus route (the #70 Grand) that offers 15-minute frequency. In addition, the new service plan includes 35 MetroBus routes that will offer 30-minute frequencies, instead of the 40-minute or 60-minute service many routes operate on today.

Weekend service is also being improved through the Metro Reimagined plan. Nearly all MetroBus routes will have Sunday service, including many routes that currently do not operate on Sundays. Service levels will also be consistent on Saturdays and Sundays. This improved service provides better options and more reliability for customers over the entire weekend.

Under the new finalized Metro Reimagined plan, MetroBus routes are organized into four categories:

  • Frequent: 10 high-frequency routes offering service every 15 minutes or faster
  • Local: 35 MetroBus routes offering service every 30 minutes
  • Community: 6 routes providing important connections in low-ridership areas
  • Express: 6 routes providing direct connections with limited stops to key destinations

This major change to bus service in the City & County is the subject of today’s non-scientific poll.

This poll will automatically close at 8pm tonight. My thoughts and the results on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

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