Monday, February 22, 2010

East Riverfront Improvements

While this blog has focused a lot of attention on the Missouri side of the river, the National Park Service has made plans to improve the east riverfront a focus of its new General Management Plan for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

Just as St. Louis has spent years trying to figure out how to reconnect the city to the riverfront and Arch grounds, there has been a lot of attention spent on how to revitalize the East St. Louis riverfront. With views of the downtown St. Louis skyline and Arch, the east riverfront has a unique setting.

Those looking to improve the area must address many planning and development challenges including a long distressed local economy, a maze of interstates cutting through the area, railroad rights of way, an aging levee, a flood plain, a massive grain elevator, and a large casino operation.

With $300 million being the estimated cost for implementing the National Park Service's plans for improving the Arch grounds and east riverfront, there might be up to $150 million available for the east side. With such a budget, what would you like to see happen across the river from the Arch?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Riverfront Boulevard Plan Reconnects City to River

"City to River", a citizens group formed to advocate for improved connections between downtown St. Louis, the Arch grounds and the riverfront, has developed a plan to reconnect the city to its historic riverfront through the creation of a new Memorial Drive.

Check out the group's proposal at the new City to River website.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Two kinds of cities...

...those with symbols and those without. St. Louis has a symbol: the Fleur de Lis.

Can you think of any other cities with a symbol? Big cities? Does Denver have a symbol? What about Austin, Nashville, Portland, Seattle, LA or San Francisco? I don't think any of those places have a unique symbol. They all have flags, but are they recognized by a symbol?

What does it say about St. Louis that we have a recognized symbol and the other places that don't?

Just for grins, check out the flip side of the Oregon state flag on the link. Are they the only state with a different image on the front and back side of their state flag?

Friday, February 12, 2010

City Street Parties Coming in 2010

These promise to be fun and healthy unique city events.

Which is harder: Fix the Public Schools or Build a New Memorial Drive?

The debate over the city's public schools has gone on for a long time. Everyone wants to see them improve. Many people are working to make them better.

A new Memorial Drive is a dream for some of us. Like fixing the public schools, it's a complex challenge too.

So, which do you think is more doable? Fixing the schools or building a new Memorial Drive? Which do you think is more complicated?

One thing's for certain about St. Louis: there is more than enough to keep everyone busy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Carondelet Impressions Rising

Twice now in the past 24 hours, I have heard the name, "Carondelet" on the radio. This is more than I can remember hearing it in the past 6 months. And this is only the beginning.

The new River City Casino is about to open, and advertisements on major radio stations are telling people to exit I-55 at the Carondelet or Germania exits.

Everytime you hear the name Carondelet or Germania, you are reminded of those south city landmarks. This is a good thing.

Casino activity will increase traffic into the area, and that will be good for local businesses.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

City + Arch + River Design Competition Update

For Immediate Release:

ST. LOUIS -- Contest organizers today announced the names of nine design teams selected to advance to the next round of the competition to invigorate the park and city areas surrounding the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

The lead designers and design teams are:

Behnisch Architekten, Gehl Architects, Stephen Stimson Associates, Buro Happold, Transsolar, Applied Ecological Services, Limno-Tech, Herbert Dreiseitl, Arne Quinze, Peter MacKeith, Eric Mumford

FIT (Fully Integrated Thinking) Team – Arup, Doug Aitken Studio, HOK Planning Group, HOK

Michael Maltzan Architecture, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Richard Sommer, Buro Happold

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Steven Holl Architects, Greenberg Consultants, Uhlir Consulting, HR&A Advisors, Guy Nordenson and Associates, Arup, LimnoTech, Ann Hamilton Studio, James Carpenter Design Associates, Elizabeth K. Meyer, Project Projects

PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas, Ned Kahn, Buro Happold

Quennell Rothschild and Partners and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Vishkan Chakrabarti, Buro Happold, Atelier Ten, and Nicholas Baume

Rogers Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Urban Strategies, Local Projects, Arup

SOM, BIG, Hargreaves Associates, Jaume Plensa, URS

Weiss/Manfredi, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Mark Dion

"The Jury had the challenge of evaluating portfolios that represented designers of international and national recognition, emerging designers and design teams comprised of individuals that provide great promise as collaborators,” said competition manager Don Stastny, of StastnyBrun Architects. “The lead designers and design teams invited to participate in Stage II represent individuals and firms that have local, national and international ties – and have the potential to come up with extraordinary solutions to the design challenges presented by the City, the Arch and the River."

The nine design leaders and teams now have five weeks to complete their teams and present full qualifications to the competition jury, Stastny said.

In addition, local contractors, minority, disadvantaged, or women-owned businesses and others are invited to meet Feb. 18 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Old Court House with representatives of the short-listed design groups for potential teaming opportunities.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for these businesses to learn about the project and to begin considering participating,” Stastny said. “We look forward to a strong turnout.”

The competition, launched Dec. 8, 2009, has three stages. Portfolio submissions in Stage I included a description of the design team, a statement of design intent and philosophy of the lead designer, a profile of the design team and examples of their work. Each team was required to include representatives of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, engineering and an artist.

Stage II involves the formation of the complete teams capable of executing the project, submission of required paperwork and a jury interview. This phase will culminate April 7, 2010, with the narrowing of the field to four or five teams.

The final stage, Stage III, to take place over the summer, will include a 90-day design concept competition to explore the finalists’ design approach and test their working methodology.

The competition’s goal is to create an iconic setting for the international icon, the Gateway Arch, honoring its immediate surroundings and weaving connections and transitions from the city and the Arch grounds to the Mississippi River, including the east bank in Illinois.

The public will be invited to two events this spring and summer. A “meet the designers night” will be held in late April. This summer, there will be a public exhibition of the designs. Details will be available soon.

The final jury pick will be announced on Sept. 24, 2010. The project is set to be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015.

The new design is called for in the National Park Service’s General Management Plan, which was developed with extensive public input over an 18-month period and approved Nov. 23, 2009.

The competition is sponsored by the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, which includes National Park Superintendent Tom Bradley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, community leaders from Missouri and Illinois, academics, architects and national park advocates.

Financial contributions to the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation are being handled by the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, a public charity with more than $140 million in charitable assets and representing more than 350 individual funds.

Donors to the competition include: Emerson, Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis (Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park), Peter Fischer, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Civic Progress, Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation, Danforth Foundation, John F. McDonnell, Bryan Cave LLP, Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, National Park Foundation, Monsanto, Alison and John Ferring, Bank of America, David C. Farrell and others who choose to remain anonymous.

A full list of registrants for the competition, “Framing a Modern Masterpiece: The City + The Arch + The River 2015,” has also been released. It can be found with other competition information at


WHAT: A Networking Session for local contractors and minority, disadvantaged, or women-owned businesses, and others, to meet competing Design Teams for possible teaming opportunities

WHERE: Old Courthouse
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, 11 North 4th Street, St. Louis, Mo.

WHEN: Thurs., Feb. 18, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

WHY: Lead Designers/Design Teams chosen for Stage II of “The City + The Arch + The River 2015” competition have until March 18, 2010, to form and present complete teams who are capable of executing project design and related construction administration services. Teams are vying for opportunity to develop designs that create an iconic setting for the international icon, the Gateway Arch, honoring its immediate surroundings and weaving connections and transitions from the city and the Arch grounds to the Mississippi River, including the east bank in Illinois. The competition is called for in the National Park Service’s General Management Plan.

Janis Cooper, 314-259-2015,

# # #

"Speed Camera Enforced"

Could signs like these soon be rising in neighborhoods across St. Louis? STL Rising hopes so.

Reducing speeding traffic on residential streets has been a long time effort here at STL Rising. The host of this blog has served as a St. Louis regional contact for the Keep Kids Alive - Drive 25 program for almost ten years.

Just this week we received a telephone call from a nice lady in University City interested in bringing the KKA - Drive 25 program to her neighborhood. Like many other concerned citizens, she and her neighbors have grown weary of distracted drivers racing down their neighborhood streets.

When the issue of dealing with speeders gets down to the block level and the nitty gritty of what works and what doesn't to slow traffic, that's where talk of controlling speeding traffic goes from someone else's idealogical conversation to the din of noisy engines, squeeling tires, and frequent distress over cars racing past your front yard.

People think controlling speeding is easy. It's not. These are real problems that have plagued neighborhoods for decades. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times: "All you have to do is put a police officer on the block for a month and the speeding will stop."

Besides the fact that once the officer leaves, the speeding goes back to the way it was before the cop sat on the block, I have this question for those who think cops should set up speed traps to catch speeders: Do we really want the limited resources of our police departments devoted to sitting in the cars ticketing speeders?

There is technology today that does this automatically. It works and it is not prohibited in the state of Missouri. The use of speed cameras can enforce speed limits in targeted areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There is no constitutional protection to violate the law. If our aim is to enforce speed limits, especially on neighborhood streets, why not use the most recent technology available?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Trucks on a new Memorial Drive

One of the biggest concerns about merging I-70 and Memorial Drive through downtown into one at grade boulevard is what would happen with the trucks? The answer is simple. Trucks would either be allowed on the new boulevard, which is the way it is now, or the road would prohibit through truck traffic.

Today, as I was driving on Memorial Drive, I was next to a full size, semi tractor-trailer rig. It really was no big deal. The truck did not slow traffic. It wasn't particularly loud, and it moved right through the area without any problem. I'm no trucking expert, but from years living about a half mile from a highway, I remember that you could hear the trucks going by at 60-70 miles per hour, but not the ones driving at 25-30 miles per hour through town.

Standing above the depressed lanes, or along the elevated lanes of I-70 next to Laclede's Landing, what you hear are those trucks zooming by at high speed. Moving truck traffic to a new Memorial Drive would possibly make the area quieter than it is now.

In terms of driving times and convenience, trucks should have no problem getting through the 1.5 mile stretch of a new boulevard the same way cars would. Maybe a 3 or 4 minute longer trip would be about it.

Trucks on a new Memorial Drive? Why not?