Grand Bridge/Viaduct Not Looking So Good After Only Eight Years

 

 The ribbon for the $20-$30 million Grand bridge/viaduct was cut on August 25, 2012. It looked great that day. Now, eight years later it is not looking so fresh. On Monday (9/14/2020) I crossed both sides, end to end. Ribbon cuttings are appealing to politicians, especially those running for additional …

St. Louis County Moved Mandatory Beg Button After I Complained About Not Being Able To Reach It

 

 Buttons used to activate pedestrian signals are derisively called “beg buttons.” These buttons have long been decried and criticized by advocates for walking, anyway. The buttons’ purpose is less to keep people safe than to reinforce the primacy of cars on the street by forcing people who want to cross …

30 Years in St. Louis

 

 It was three decades ago that I officially moved to St. Louis, from Oklahoma City. I’d planned to move to Washington DC, but instantly fell in love with St. Louis on the way. The building stock and street grid called for me to stay. Many buildings needed renovation but even …

Literature Review: Women’s Suffrage in St. Louis

 

 It was 100 years ago today that the 19th amendment to the constitution was certified, just in time for millions of women to cast their first votes in the 1920 presidential election. By the time the 19th amendment became effective women in some states had been voting for decades, but …

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Poll: Feelings on voting by mail?

May 3, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Poll: Feelings on voting by mail?
 
Please vote below

As a person with disabilities I vote by mail, via absentee ballot. For most voters in Missouri & Illinois, you must go to your assigned polling place on Election Day. Coronavirus has some wanting to vote by mail in future elections.

Currently, state laws on the use of mail voting are a patchwork quilt. Only five states regularly conduct mail elections by default: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Three more, though, do allow counties to opt into mail voting, and nine more allow certain elections to be conducted by mail — although these are typically low-turnout, local elections, a far cry from the 2020 presidential race.

Another 29 states (plus Washington, D.C.) give voters the option to vote by mail — also known as no-excuse absentee voting — in federal elections, but the burden is on the voter to request her ballot. The remaining 16 states still require voters to provide a valid excuse if they want to vote by mail, although this year, some states may accept concerns around the coronavirus as an excuse. (New Hampshire has already moved to do that for the general election.) (fivethirtyeight.com)

Voting by mail isn’t universally accepted as secure.

This poll isn’t just about having mail as an option — but to hold elections entirely by mail. No polling place on Election Day.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. Illinois voters will soon be able to apply for a vote by mail ballot — click here for more information.

— Steve Patterson

Urban Design After COVID-19: Restaurants & Carryout Windows

May 1, 2020 Featured, Planning & Design, Retail Comments Off on Urban Design After COVID-19: Restaurants & Carryout Windows
 

The current Coronavirus pandemic will change many things about our lives going forward, others not so much. Restaurants will likely see some of the biggest changes — both inside and out.

Restaurant owners/managers will have a standard table layout (packed) and a reduced capacity layout. Dividers, fake plants, etc might be pulled out of storage to use to keep the dining room from looking to sparse. Extra tables & chairs will go into the storage room, stacking/folding chairs saves space.

Hand washing at the entrance would be nice.

The biggest change may be placing a small kitchen up front, so a carryout window can be easily managed. For a few years now some restaurants have already operated with two kitchens: one for the dining room and another for carryout & delivery orders. This was a response to more and more customers taking food home to binge watch shows.

Placing the carry out/delivery kitchen in the right place would eliminate the need for customers to come inside. There could be a separate order window. Think if it like a brick & mortar food truck.

Ted Drewes has been serving frozen custard through a walk-up window for decades. Grand location in May 2013.

The walk-up window restaurant would have online ordering to reduce lines. Those located in walkable neighborhoods will need larger public sidewalks to allow for adequate space for customers and passing pedestrians. I love the idea of going from window to window getting different street foods. Pizza by-the-slice is a favorite.

None of this will happen quickly, but expect newly built/renovated restaurants to be physically different in response.

— Steve Patterson

Poll: What concerns you more about stay-at-home restrictions?

April 26, 2020 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Poll: What concerns you more about stay-at-home restrictions?
 
Please vote below

I wasn’t planning to do a poll today, but a CBS News poll from a few days ago seemed to straightforward to ignore.  The subject is about stay-at-home orders.

One question, two possible answers presented in random order:

This non-scientific poll will close at 8pm tonight. You can check out this question and many others from the CBS News poll here.

— Steve Patterson

 

Completed The 2020 Census Online Yet?

April 22, 2020 Featured, STL Region Comments Off on Completed The 2020 Census Online Yet?
 

Many of you have been at home for a month. Getting bored? If you haven’t done so already, you could complete the 2020 Census — a count of everyone on April 1st.

The time is now. Help shape your future, and your community’s future, by responding to the 2020 Census.

Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online.

In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census. (2020Census.Gov)

It only takes a few minutes to complete online. Phone & mail are also options.

— Steve Patterson

Recreational Marijuana in Missouri Will Have to Wait, Medical Still on Schedule

April 20, 2020 Featured, Medical Marijuana Comments Off on Recreational Marijuana in Missouri Will Have to Wait, Medical Still on Schedule
 
A couple of medical marijuana licenses have been awarded for businesses to operate at 1400 N 7th, December 2019 photo

Today was supposed to be a big day for marijuana advocates. April 20th, aka 4/20, is symbolically important in 2020. However, with most Americans under a stay-at-home order 420 celebrations will be held online — or privately at home.

A couple of months ago a group announced plans to gather signatures to put recreational marijuana legalization on Missouri’s ballot in November. As you can imagine, physically gathering signatures is impossible during an epidemic.

A group called Missourians for a New Approach committee announced Wednesday that it “simply cannot succeed in gathering sufficient signatures” amid restrictions that closed business and forced people to stay home. The group had faced a deadline of May 3 to collect 170,000 signatures.

“We had hoped that it might be possible to persuade the state of Missouri to allow online signature gathering under the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in this spring,” the group said in a statement.

But state officials said no, and the group said “there does not appear to be any other path.” The statement said that the group hoped that the campaign would resume next year, with the goal of placing the issue of whether to legalize the use of marijuana for those 21 or older on the November 2022 ballot. (KY3 Springfield)

The stay-at-home order in the City of St. Louis began four weeks ago today, at 6pm. Even before then I was hoping to begin seeing changes at the future grow location near our apartment in the Columbus Square neighborhood. Nothing to date. I haven’t driven around to the other sites that have been awarded licenses for growing, processing, etc.

Despite the pandemic medical marijuana is still on track in Missouri.

“The coronavirus pandemic hit just about the time the new multi-million dollar medical marijuana industry was trying to get off ground in Missouri.

More than 300 cultivators, manufacturers and dispensaries were all awarded licenses shortly before the pandemic. Voters approved marijuana for medical use in 2018.

This is the phase when all these facilities are trying to get permits and begin construction or renovation. They also need the state to do final site visits before they can begin operations.” (Fox 4 Kansas City)

Hopefully this new industry will stay on track, providing needed medical marijuana for patients and quality jobs.

— Steve Patterson

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