Sunday, April 17, 2016


...with embarrassment AND rage!

Okay, so OPTINSTL IS SO WRONG!  Allow me to explain- the new North County transit center was planned originally for the Metrolink.  While the bathrooms are great, the bus center is essentially worthless without a train. Why did OPTINSTL not notice there is no train right away?  Because it is such a no-brainer!  WHY WASTE 10 MILLION DOLLARS ON THAT "TRANSIT CENTER" WITHOUT A METROLINK???

Like the other bus transit centers, the overdevelopment of the CWE with Cortex, the extra-long Grand buses, North County transit center is just another big fat joke at the expense of the transit-dependent public.  The self-congratulations and PR will just keep coming from $80-350K-a-year executives that drive cars from their county homes.   They will keep spending money on stupid sh*t that makes it appear they are doing something, and leave the riders to stand around out in the sun and rain and snow, waiting for their slow buses on stupid routes.


They will not change until we make them change!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016


This one in Richmond Heights.  All of this violence will serve to get Metro more cops and that won't do anything to solve the actual problems.  People in power are not going to do anything that inconveniences them or takes time away from checking their Instagram accounts at work. 

There are too many guns, too many drugs, and too many kids that don't think they have a future.  Schools, jobs, economic development that does more than line the same pockets decade after decade. 

I sound like a broken record even to myself.  The answers for change remain the same.  The county should take that Crestwood Plaza redevelopment money and put it into after-school programs.  No matter how many Starbucks you put in a neighbourhood, if people don't have jobs it is not going to "boost" the economy. The money for more cops needs to go to community relations.  Someone needs to start asking the young people what the solutions are and what these kids need.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Great article on North County Transit Center.

EDIT/PS:  Optinstl doesn't always agree with Nextstl but they are always a good source of info.  Metro DOES need to focus on the areas like North County that are mostly transit dependent.  But Nextstl also seems to support Cortex, which is the biggest waste of money and a giant boondoggle that really only benefits Cortex itself.  The CWE metrolink serves this area just fine. (Regardless of Cortex being non-profit entity, nothing they are proposing there is going to fundamentally change the area. Like Ballpark Village, it will just pull business away from previously existing local businesses, and it is unlikely that it will flourish- if it does indeed flourish at all- for more than a decade.) 

Was just reading this post on Cortex.

 We heard Field Foods was going to be the economic saviour with a grocery store two years ago. Fields is a Boston investor's high end boutique grocery store that got a $12 million dollar grant for the food desert in Peabody Clinton area, NOT the Lafayette Square area. And while the cashiers and other low paying staff come from the area, the management and executives are all from Boston- or were when the store first opened in January 2014. The store has hardly lived up to any of its' promises in terms of sales tax revenues, and mostly seems to compete with locally owned Culinaria downtown.

And remember when Lofts were going to revitalize downtown?  A lot of DINK'S (double income no kids) moved down there, and shocker, the area is declining again as they have kids and move back to the suburbs or more kid-friendly areas of the city.  

The only thing that is going to revitalize St. Louis is a living wage and development in areas that need jobs and public transportation.  Anything North of Delmar, for starters.


I assume this fatality was either a cargo train or Amtrak.  However, this would be the second time in two weeks that someone has been hit on the tracks. (See last post.)

For the most part, train tracks are privately owned and leased.  If you have ridden on Amtrak you learn this, because they have to stop A LOT for cargo trains, and local Metrolinks.  Not all of the tracks are well maintained, and Amtrak often has to stop or has problems due to problems with the tracks.  Sometimes these are long waits because they have to wait for the track owning companies to come make the repairs.

No entity that is private and for profit is going to put safety first. No entity that is funded by government money but not publicly owned is going to put safety first. Railroad tracks, like public transit, should be owned by the public and maintained at the highest standard.  Amtrak is completely subsidized by the government.

The Loop Trolley has encountered another error.  Shocking (*sarcasm*).  The main focus is on the fact that cars might be hit.  With that narrow a margin, this screams "pedestrian injury/fatality." PLEASE REMEMBER that the Trolley got a big chunk of money for "urban revitalization" (  Originally the Trolley was to run down Forest Park Parkway.  But to keep the Urban Circulator funds, they had to re-route the trolley through an "urban area"- in this case, the part of the Loop in the city.  (Let's not forget that this Trolley is about making sure no local "park and ride" and rural tourists have to set foot on a Metro bus to go drink beer and eat cheeseburgers at Blueberry Hill. That is ALL this trolley is really about.)

I find the city and county planners, street services, and MODOT, do be completely blind to pedestrians and pedestrian safety.  The lights at the corner of Skinker and Delmar are a perfect example.  (I haven't actually been at that corner in awhile, completely avoiding it even if I had to go to the Loop by turning on Olive or Vernon, since I am always coming from the north.  So maybe they fixed it. I doubt it.  I pointed it out to them a few times when I first moved back here.)

Stand at any of the corners and watch the light sequence.  In each cycle there is a 30 second or so period where traffic is only moving from two directions- meaning no left or right turns.  The car traffic has usually slowed at this point.  During this time there is  the inevitable crossing of pedestrians against the light, because of the lag. There is also a turn light that comes up during this time, which adds to the confusion.  I can't recall which direction now, even though I used to encounter it daily a few years ago.   Day and night I've seen near misses as someone comes speeding to catch the light before they think it is going to change, and pedestrian confusion-  that is, stepping out into the walkway because the instinctual, intuitive understanding of how traffic lights are normally sequenced, and not expecting that out of sequence turn light.

(There is one turn light that looks like it was added much later than the rest.  At one point I made a little diagram of where the light needed to be sequenced. I'm pretty sure it was the right turn onto Delmar from northbound Skinker, and the lag was the north-south flow of traffic on Skinker.  But I can't recall exactly and have no idea where those notes are.  This is all from memory.)

Even with all the focus on Washington University students- many of whom walk and bike in the area, and live in the Loop- the people that make all the decisions do not walk or use public transit.  You need nothing more than a heavy snowfall to prove this.  The ploughs come out immediately, and the streets are clear. But all the snow is piled up on the sidewalks.  Even in the Loop and other areas with heavy foot-traffic, shoveling sidewalks is the responsibility of the property owners and businesses.

North County though, has to be the worst in terms of street planning and pedestrian safety.  To get to the new North county transit center on foot- and a lot of times it is faster to walk from your last connection than wait for a bus- you have to walk on a shoulder.  The bus stops in front of Centene have no shelter and trash cans.  The bus stop across from Centene-- west/south side- is on the shoulder and then there is a slope into a little ditch before the fence separating the 270 freeway.  Super fun to stand there at night. (Again, *sarcasm*.)


It's always strange to me, when people talk about our "infrastructure".  Only in the last two hundred years have roads been mostly for something other than pedestrians.  Their were pedestrian fatalities from carriage accidents, but certainly not as many.  Horses in a wooden carriage versus horsepower and 2000 pounds of metal are a very different situation for the person on foot.

I heard President Obama say, when one of the highway bonds was up for the voters, "This is what we do- we build roads and bridges."  (Or something like that.) True.  But no one in the world has more than 65 years of experience building and maintaining roads solely for use of the internal combustion engine.  In this country the population of people and the amount of cars on the road doubled since the 1970's and we are only now seeing what a mistake it was to ditch the railroads for trucks and public transit for private automobiles.

All one has to do to see how blind to pedestrians the planners are is go look North County Transit Center. (Or Maplewood. The worst, in my opinion, as detailed in the optinstl link above, and here again:

These planners and city leaders, and most of the Metro executives, have never ridden the bus except on rare occasions, and seem to walk only for exercise or because they have dogs, and usually then, only in their own neighbourhoods.  (And sidewalks are often missing in areas that were "developed" after the 1950's.  Who needed them right?  We will all just drive a block to the store or park, etc.)

If St. Louis monitored pedestrian traffic as much as car traffic, there would be sidewalks and lighting in most parts of North County (and south and west county, too, actually).

There is nothing more troubling than seeing people with small children standing out on that shoulder in front of Centene, or the many other bus stops just like it.

And this last schedule change seemed to bring a higher than usual amount of bus stop closings.  I'm all for efficiency, but I don't trust the way Metro does things.  For example, on Chambers they are eliminating two bus stops.  On paper it makes sense.  But these two bus stops sit at the bottom of two hills, right where an apartment complex is.  That means that the people in wheelchairs or with health issues will have to go up the hill to catch the 61.

Route changes should not be made by asking the advice of random people motivated enough to go to one of the meetings, or briefly surveyed at Open Houses, even if they are held at transit centers.  Metro should have neighborhood liaisons that are employed or compensated by Metro to determine and tailor public transit to the community's needs.

Please, call Metro today and tell them what you need for a better, faster, safer transit experience:

Call Metro every time you ride!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Too many guns, not enough school or civic opportunities, too great a racial divide between North and South, too many young people that don't see a good future for themselves and decide to take what power they can.  More cops aren't going to solve the problem.

Monday, March 14, 2016


"Big Changes to Buses" comes the headlines today.

They change the buses all the time, but it never makes anything better.  This is because Metro does not do enough research on what transit riders need, and when they do, it's the wrong way.

Their blog congratulates holding FOUR "open house" transit meetings.  Four.  To change the entire bus system.

At least they came to the transit centres.  But it is still not enough.  They really need to have someone out every day, soliciting information from passengers, and they need to have surveys.  (You can always volunteer the OPTINSTL survey information when you call them.

I also find it amusing that they always congratulate themselves for figuring out that North County is the most transit dependent area.  The focus is always on "reducing traffic congestion".  Very few people with cars are going to give up driving to ride the sloooooow buses.  The train, maybe. But only to and from work and ball games.   Of course, most of the money for the North County Transit Center came from funding to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. 

Well, at least they are trying to appear like they are trying, and who knows? Maybe they really are. But four open house meetings? How many people decided these changes? It can't be more than 200.  Hardly representative or comprehensive.

I still don't see how they can live down the shame of buying those used Grand buses.  Love seeing them break down (*sarcasm*), and other than peak times, and between Mid-Town and Arsenal, they never seem very full. Remember how that was going to reduce congestion on Grand? Right.

It's up to the transit rider to call them, email, and generally communicate EXACTLY what we need to make public transit serve us, instead of the other way around.

Oh, and those sidewalks on Pershall, make sure there is plenty of lighting, too.  That whole area along 270 is a nightmare for pedestrians, on the Pershall and over on the other side, on Dunn.  If you live in North County you know how many accidents go unreported.  This one wasn't.  A transit friendly city is a pedestrian friendly city.  That would mean that the planners and designers and engineers and executives would need to ride transit and do some walking.

More people are going to be walking over to Clocktower Aldi's and the Wal-mart, and down to the Home Depot on Halls Ferry.  Don't just build the transit center and leave it, like you did in Maplewood for 7 years.  Put in the sidewalks NOW.


EDIT 17 April 2016: This accident is now a fatality.

I missed this in the news on March 6 and it does not appear to be widely reported.  A man was struck by a train and his foot was severed and neck broken after a train ran over him at Swansea.

I keep checking the dates on these stories.  It's not on any other news stations that I could find, and it isn't on Metro's Blog.  In the old days, every news story contained the details of what happened- when, where, etc.  Is this some new development in an old accident case?  Or did this just happen on March 6th? These are the only two stories I could find: 

KMOV video is freezing my computer, so I will try to watch later and see if the video segments have more details. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Couldn't find any local reporting on this.  It was "Drumpfed", I guess.  The orange-faced Amerikkkan Hitler got all the news this weekend.

I haven't been there yet, but will check it out tomorrow.  I hope those restrooms are really "public".  At Riverview the toilets are operated by the privately owned snack shop.  (Which means it is only open when they are open and you have to get a key- or at least you did last time I used it, which was actually about 2 years ago.  Will check that out this week, too.)

Also, they need to put in sidewalks all the way along Pershall.  The construction has made the already dangerous walk on Pershall between West Florissant and New Halls Ferry a nightmare.  Especially at night.

At least we have a train up here now.  EDIT: Please see this post:

As for John Nations comments that "five years ago we identified" etc... Stop patting yourself on the back.  North City and County are the most transit dependent areas you service and you don't deserve congratulations for figuring that out. Your own data proves that.  And that new Cortex Metrolink stop is a big waste of money, rivalled only by the St. Charles turned to Shrewsbury extension that bankrupted the Agency in 2010.