Thursday, December 27, 2007

Predictions for 2008

With 2007 drawing to a close, now is a good time to make predictions for the year ahead. What are your predictions for St. Louis in 2008?

Here's a few to get things started:

The Cardinals will finish the year below .500, and worse yet, they will finish below the Cubs.

The Blues will make it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

A national housing trust fund will be created to promote affordable and green housing development in established communities.

The population of the City of St. Louis will continue to increase.

St. Louis will attract immigrants at an increasing rate.

The St. Louis housing market will see improvement faster than the nation as a whole.

Any others?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What about 270?

During the pre-Christmas rush, we did some freeway driving around the region. Travels took us down the newly restriped Interstate 44 through Webster Groves and along 270 from Highway 55 to Gravois. MODOT has narrowed the lanes and shoulders on Interstate 44 to add one more travel lane in each direction.

Beginning January 2, traffic from eastbound Interstate 64 will be diverted onto Interstate 270. Would it be possible to add lanes to 270? 270 appears to be as wide or wider than 44, with full size shoulders and 12 foot traffic lanes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Highway 40 Closure Protests Rising

Concerned citizen and former St. Louis County transporation engineer, Joe Passanise, trying to mobilize public opposition to prevent the January 2nd shutdown of Highway 40:

Stop Highway 40

Regular guy "Jason"'s perspective, documenting life with 40 under construction, blog-style:

Highway 40 Insight

Monday, December 10, 2007

Brad Pitt is In the House!

CNN is reporting that Missouri's Brad Pitt, the movie star, is working in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward. Pitt is spending his own money and taking it upon himself to help rebuild the area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Neighborhood development efforts take lots of money, and charitable support is huge in sustaining work in places like the Lower 9th, where private market forces are weak.

It will be interesting to follow the long term results of Pitt's efforts. Key to the success will be how many other supporters join the work. Star power can't hurt!

More can be learned here

Quiet Transformations

While looking for but not finding the NY-styled pizza place on Morganford named "Mr. X", what I did find was an amazing number of historic storefronts under renovation.

It appears that nearly every original storefront commercial building between Chippewa and Arsenal is being reopened. Which gave me an idea, why not a "Most Enhanced Streets" award for St. Louis?

There are many good ones out there, and more on the way. Which do you think belong on the list, and which are the diamonds in the rough? Oh, and any help in finding the elusive "Mr. X's Pizza" would be welcome too.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

SW City Pizza Vacuum Filled

The Suburban Journal is reporting that a couple from South City is opening a family friendly pizza and beer restaurant in the Southtown Centre at Kingshighway and Chippewa. The restaurant is moving into a 3200 square foot end space across from Starbuck's and Stone Cold Creamery.

The absence of a family friendly pizza place in Southwest City has been a major void in restaurant choices for years. Aside from the semi-new Talayna's franchise at Holly Hills and Gravois, there is no place south of Chippewa and west of Gravois within the city proper where you can buy a beer and a pizza in a primarily pizza house format. That's a huge, underserved market.

Per the Journal story, the new proprietors, noting the clientele frequenting the Starbuck's, see a major untapped market awaiting their new restaurant.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Demonstrating healthy STL regional pride

40-ouncers have their critics. However, the creators of this website, do a nice job of showing the world how locals like life in St. Louis.

Dubliner, Conv Ctr Cabbie, Fogerty Revival

Friday night we had tickets to see the John Fogerty Revival concert at Savvis. We arrived about 6:20 PM for the 8:00 show, and grabbed a parking space on the street in front of City Hall. With the 4:00 - 6:00 no parking restriction lifted, and 40 minutes to go until the 7:00 PM shutdown on meters, the meter was covered for fifty cents loose change and we were good to go.

With time to kill, and appetite for something beyond Savvis fare, we made the few block walk over to Washinton Avenue to try out the Dubliner. The Dubliner is an Irish themed pub, fairly upscale, with good food, drink, atmosphere. Bartenders tap bottles from an upside down system high above the back bar. The bartender holds the glass up under the bottle, a built-in sensor opens the bottle, drink served.

Lots of woodwork, private booths, interesting decor, good food and drink make the Dubliner a positive addition to the burgeoning life downtown. While eating dinner and enjoying a couple of pre-concert beers, it made me think how nice a downtown life might be, with bars, shops and restaurants all available just outside your door.

The night was chilly, so rather than hike all the way back to Savvis, we walked over the taxi stand at the Convention Center. We jumped into the cab, and enjoyed our cab ride through the slalom like bollard gates exiting the Convention Center drive. Whee!

$3.60 cab fare to Savvis rounded up to $5, with a drop off at the front door of Savvis is big city fun on a low cost budget. What's that they say about our ranking on the living well index?

Fogerty rocked. Since his heyday was pre-MTV, I'd never really seen any of his performances. Lead vocalists who are also stellar guitarists are a rare breed, so I had assumed Fogerty was the more typical lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist. Not so.

Rolling Stone magazine rates John Fogerty as 40th all-time greatest guitarist, and at age 62, he hasn't lost a thing. He was in great voice and played lead guitar on every song.

Savvis was set up in it's "Concert Club" seating layout, where they hang giant black curtains from floor to ceiling behind the stage, creating a more intimate atmosphere on one end of the arena. Guessing, there was probably 4,000 people at the show.

Fogerty had no warm up act, and played a solid 2-hour set. He ran through just about every Creedence hit, and was appreciative of the very positive reception he received from St. Louis fans.

With the show over at 10:30, and our car parked a couple of blocks over on Tucker, a zero-traffic hassle departure capped off a great night enjoying life downtown.