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How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:02 am
by Chalupas54
I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile, but with the new population updates this morning, it seemed appropriate.

Currently, what do you think St. Louis civic leaders are doing right? What do you think St. Louis civic leaders are doing wrong?

Personally, I feel that the metro area’s leaders are trying to promote a St. Louis that does not exist. With the minor exception of Krewson, I really have yet to see any acceptance of the regions problems. When looking at regional marketing materials, the picture of St. Louis that is painted is unrealistic. IMO, St. Louis should really embrace its roughness. Detroit and Cleveland have done a great job with this. The STL HuSTLe advert was very creative and I wish that was being promoted nationally. It’s very much a “Imported from Detroit” vibe and St. Louis should totally own that.

I think several aspects of St. Louis are being oversold, especially the startup/tech scene. Although it is producing significant growth, it is still quite small compared to peer metros. Simple research by any corporation will clearly produce that return.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:28 am
by addxb2
- Leveraging Transit:
East West Gateway, Citizens for Modern Transit, and Urban Land Institute have put an incredible amount of time studying TOD. Our leaders haven’t politically maneuvered how to align land use policies, incentives, and investment. We need an ordinance that uses a well researched definition of TOD. Then we need to organize our conversation of incentives to prioritize projects that meet TOD standards. For example, the only time a project should get above 80% abatement for 20 years is when it’s within 0.25 miles of transit, has a high FAR, and provides a minimum of 10% affordable housing. A lot of these criteria frameworks are already being drafted but without legislative teeth...

- Plans
St. Louis lacks planning. For a city our size, we should have a FULL land use plan, economic development plan, and transportation/infrastructure plan. As the police department’s budget grows and grows (with little result) our planning, community development, and streets departments get smaller. Leaving all of our departments that could think progressively strapped to just response.


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Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:26 am
by chaifetz10
I think the approach to policing and crime is severely lacking. From violent crimes to traffic violations, it just feels like police aren't doing enough. Is it an organizational culture issue? Leadership issue? I don't know but my guess is that it's all just bad and we need to completely revamp how we approach it all... there's just too much of it happening at every level.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:12 am
by jbacott
Crime and schools are the two biggest ticket items for St. Louis City. Those are probably the two most difficult issues to tackle effectively because the root causes can be so complex. To make matters worse, even if there is notable improvement, the perception can be equally hard to change. If you ask locals why they choose County over City, those two items will probably be #1 and #2 in some order.

One intangible that I wish we could see is more "civic pride" for lack of a better description. The STL metro area has a pretty crappy reputation around the country but you'll struggle to find anyone that dogs St. Louis more than St. Louisans. I feel like there are huge numbers of people that have bought into this "woe is me" attitude. For every positive development, you've got people who either don't know about it, refuse to acknowledge it or always tag some qualifier to discount it. On the flip side, anything negative is flagged as business as usual. Something good is happening downtown? Seems like a perfect time for people who never go downtown to point out the crime or how it's "dead" all the time. A restaurant is closing downtown? No shock, that area is a wasteland.

I compare it to cities like KC and Indianapolis. KC is so proud of every small positive development that they've convinced themselves they're the next Seattle. And that's not a knock on them, it's actually an enviable trait. Same with Indy. Meanwhile, St. Louis has an equal or greater amount of positive investment and a large portion of our own city is oblivious to it.

Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle to convince St. Louisans that St. Louis actually has some good things going for it.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:42 am
by cteclipse
I believe increasing civic pride and enhancing the local metro area perception will yield the greatest gains. I've been to 25+ states in the last year alone and the outside perception I hear about St. Louis is overwhelmingly positive, and that makes me proud. Anecdotal yes, but I've noticed an uptick in city pride in the last few years and to a small degree from the country residents.

A "vibe" can go a long way. I feel Nashville is overrated but you can't help but notice an energy and optimism there. Having positive energy appeals to the local psyche as well as tourists/business people/prospects that "Hey, this is a place where people WANT to live". I don't have a solution, but if we can integrate that vibe I think the momentum will keep building upon itself.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:12 am
by soulardx
jbacott wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:12 am
you'll struggle to find anyone that dogs St. Louis more than St. Louisans.
This a million times over. This attitude is toxic and overly pervasive.

Sometimes I wonder if these things feed into this toxic attitude
1) A disproportionate percentage of the STL population has lived nowhere else but St. Louis.*
2) A disproportionate percentage of the STL population seems to only travel to drive-able places like Chicago, KC, the Florida panhandle and Nashville.**

So, too many STLiens have too little context for the good/bad of our region. And, we've all heard this a lot - the people who love STL the most are transplants.

Tying this all together, the thing I'd change about STL is more actively recruiting transplants and asking locals to travel more beyond the usual suspects. easy right....

*Full disclosure, I've lived nowhere else
**Full disclosure, I drive to those places but have been lucky enough to travel many many other places.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:43 am
by GoHarvOrGoHome
On the perception issue I've always thought that it would be useful to heavily subsidize properties within view of our interstate highways, particularly the I-70 corridor. The side of the highway is often the only view people in the county regularly see of the city, and I-70 just looks sad. It wouldn't even be terribly difficult because only a small fraction of properties could even be seen from the highway. I've always wondered if people who live in areas that use 64 to get through the city have quantifiably different perceptions than those who use 70.

A little investment along that corridor could do absolute wonders for our perception to outsiders and county folk.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:48 am
by soulardx
GoHarvOrGoHome wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:43 am
On the perception issue I've always thought that it would be useful to heavily subsidize properties within view of our interstate highways, particularly the I-70 corridor. The side of the highway is often the only view people in the county regularly see of the city, and I-70 just looks sad. It wouldn't even be terribly difficult because only a small fraction of properties could even be seen from the highway. I've always wondered if people who live in areas that use 64 to get through the city have quantifiably different perceptions than those who use 70.

A little investment along that corridor could do absolute wonders for our perception to outsiders and county folk.
When I pick-up friends, family or colleagues from Lambert, I NEVER drive into the city on I-70. Always take 170 to 40. The impression of the city is so much better that way.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:06 pm
by shadrach
St. Louis' natural, knee-jerk reaction is "No."

I would like this city (institutions/businesses/politicians/normal citizens, etc) to play Jim Carrey for a month, say 'Yes,' and see what happens.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:23 pm
by urban_dilettante
I spent 10 years living in Charlottesville, Virginia and a couple more living in Boulder, CO and have driven from one end to the other countless times. I've traveled pretty extensively, too. The STL metro is one of the ugliest places on the planet. We cut down every tree possible, pave everything for cars, let it all crumble and litter it all with trash. I've never seen highways so covered in trash anywhere else. Maybe that's why all the drivers here are such angry a**holes. Seriously, driving north/west on 70 or south on 55 on a cloudy day makes me wish I'd never left Virginia. Absolutely depressingly ugly. That's one thing I would change. I have a long list.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:36 pm
by imran
My wishes for the City:

A) Citywide preservation review and an LRA that prioritizes mothballing over demolitions and land-banking.
B) Citywide form-based plans or even an updated master plan.
C) A streets department that leverages streets and sidewalks for prosperity. (Road diets, bike lanes, remove barricades, maximize street parking, obsess about tree replacement and lighting)
D) Seek smaller scale developments that create affordable entry-level retail spaces and granular infill.
E) Incentive reform to coax investment into areas that are being left behind.

As for crime and schools, I feel like they are lagging indicators of the health of a city. its a chicken/egg argument. I believe if we shore up neighborhoods, communities and a sense of place, more people over time will be attracted to the city and schools/crime stats will fall in line. (not to say that short-term strategies are not needed, just that meaningful change will take a long time).

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:39 pm
by BuckyO'Hare
I agree, we should definitely spend more on multimodal transportation infrastructure and beautification efforts. Everytime we get disheartening news like this, we tend to do the..." Oh, at least our losses weren't in the central corridor and South City" thing. At some point we must realize how disproportionate our recent uptick in development is. That mentality is what got us here in the first place. I'm sure St. Charles and Ofallon are saying the same about STL county and City. The Northside ( City and county) definitely need an economic boost... I don't think we'll see any changes in our population decline until then.

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Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:41 pm
by Ebsy
Funnily enough I've had a lot of people who have visited St. Louis (some from Kansas City) remark to me how many trees there are everywhere. While I agree there could always be more, I don't think we are actually facing that dire of a tree shortage.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:17 pm
by urban_dilettante
^ along our highways in particular, though. we could have many more trees. if you drive east on 64 practically every other state has divided highways with trees on either side and in between. here in MO we just drop a bomb and pave everything and then drop a trash bomb.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:59 pm
by St.Louis1764
All this is so exhausting at times i really don't know what the solutions are anymore maybe just let it all hemorrhage out & start from scratch

A few things

Mandatory beautification including gardens along the highways
Mandatory tree replanting
A massive master plan needs to be implemented for the entire city
Put a pure vision for the North Side
Encourage dense urban infill development where the Bottle District site remains vacant thats plain ridiculous that area remains the way it is
Mandatory rebuild of 70 or realigning it with the current 270 also Mandatory 64 rebuild from near boyle past downtown get ride of the elevated highway also the unnecessary double deck bridge we keep putting millions of dollars into. The new poplar street bridge should be demandingly iconic
I could go on however like i mentioned its all exhausting & everything is easier said than done

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:32 am
by Trololzilla
Breaking the Democrat's hold on the City and electing a truly Independent mayor. This "stay the course" crap needs to end, and soon.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:02 am
by leeharveyawesome
Rather than starting a new thread I'll post this here because this could help change St. Louis. A quarter-million dollars and no progress on the mice problem at Clinton Peabody.
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metr ... 89f3f.html

It's time to raze the whole thing and replace it with a dense, urban development based on the free market with some low income units mixed in. This will open up everything around it for development like the huge lot across Chouteau.

As far as trash and general ugliness, that's just a direct reflection of the population. Not sure what to do about that.

Should also do something to discourage property owners from getting into the Section 8 racket. Too many absentee landlords using the city as an ATM. An apartment that would rent for $250 per month on the free market (yes, you read that correctly, $250 per month, affordable by anyone's standards) is instead a Section 8 unit where they can squeeze $800 per month guaranteed from the government.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:13 am
by bwcrow1s
St.Louis1764 wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:59 pm
All this is so exhausting at times i really don't know what the solutions are anymore maybe just let it all hemorrhage out & start from scratch

A few things

Mandatory beautification including gardens along the highways
Mandatory tree replanting
A massive master plan needs to be implemented for the entire city
Put a pure vision for the North Side
Encourage dense urban infill development where the Bottle District site remains vacant thats plain ridiculous that area remains the way it is
Mandatory rebuild of 70 or realigning it with the current 270 also Mandatory 64 rebuild from near boyle past downtown get ride of the elevated highway also the unnecessary double deck bridge we keep putting millions of dollars into. The new poplar street bridge should be demandingly iconic
I could go on however like i mentioned its all exhausting & everything is easier said than done
I agree with all of this, but I prefer the double deck 64 as it takes less ground footprint. Would the city be better without it as a whole? I think so. We already have 55, 44 and 70 cutting through the city.

I really wish they would have built a new PSB. I think the current structure is bland, sure it fit back in the 1960s. Especially held up against the Stan Span and right next to the MacArthur. Even the MLK which I'm not a fan of.

Both Bottle District and Chouteau's Landing need a real plan for dense development. Fixing Chouteau's could turn around the fast food-gas station jumble we have at Chouteau and 4th/Broadway and connect to Soulard.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:06 am
by spreadsheetwizard
Shrink the footprint of DT... or at least re-arrange the buildings & blocks.

I've been DT since 2004 and there's been billions of investment. ANd at times it is hard to tell. The number of buildings & blocks that have to be rehabbed and brought back to life... is overwhelming. The improvements are lost in a sea of abandonded/ugly/deteoritating infrastructure.

If you could have the following all in a continuous or contiguos row -- it would actually feel so much better:

* Busch stadium, BPV
* City Garden
* Wash Ave
* Post Office Square
* Central Library
* Keiner plaza
* Soldiers Memorial (still under construction)

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:43 am
by gary kreie
Trololzilla wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:32 am
Breaking the Democrat's hold on the City and electing a truly Independent mayor. This "stay the course" crap needs to end, and soon.
So tell us explicitly what the other party will do to fix the city. Based on what the legislature is doing and their devotion to Rex, it could lead to disaster. Would they be able to pry money out of the GOP Legislature? Or would they further drain St. Louis to support rural agendas? Where do they stand on getting the city back into the County, etc. How would they accomplish this?

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:20 pm
by robbie
gary kreie wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:43 am
Trololzilla wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:32 am
Breaking the Democrat's hold on the City and electing a truly Independent mayor. This "stay the course" crap needs to end, and soon.
So tell us explicitly what the other party will do to fix the city. Based on what the legislature is doing and their devotion to Rex, it could lead to disaster. Would they be able to pry money out of the GOP Legislature? Or would they further drain St. Louis to support rural agendas? Where do they stand on getting the city back into the County, etc. How would they accomplish this?
I see these types of comments from time to time. While I am liberal-leaning (although the past two or so years of living in the city - and potentially growing older - has certainly moderated my political belief system), are not most of the top metro areas in the U.S. governed by Democratic mayors? I don't think it's a party issue, I think it's an issue of how to govern a city that has fewer and fewer resources and a population base that requires more assistance and development in general than those of some other cities. I'm not sure what a Republican or Independent candidate would do that would be much different.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:29 pm
by leeharveyawesome
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH MY MOTHER f***ing TAX MONEY


Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:01 pm
by DogtownBnR
Not rocket science, not news to any of us:

Change the approach to crime. Just fix already!!!! Do whatever it takes. That is killing our City and it's reputation. We have that rep and I travel a lot and talk to people. Either crime, protests or the Cardinals. That is what we are known for.

I would force a change in leadership! We can only do that at the polls. We need fresh minds in office, not scared of taking a "risk" (in the minds of the old guard) and start seriously getting some steam behind consolidation of the region. Same old BS is not working with regards to our politicians.

CHANGE our attitudes. We are down on ourselves. We make fun of ourselves. We have low self-esteem. We need a movement. A self- promotion movement that will actually give our City some pride, make us realize what we have here. Many take it for granted. Crime is a big part of that perception, real or not, many people think coming to the City is going to make them a victim. (When I refer to WE, I am not necessary referring to most of us on here that get it). All it takes is ONE Cards fan getting shot in the back going to his car, fan shot by a stray bullet at Busch or ONE rolling gun battle during the NLCS. That is inexcusable, while not 100% preventable, that sh-t just can't happen.

I would most like to see crime fighting changed to a more effective method. No clue what that is, but Guilliani cleaned up NYC, we can clean up at least the parts of STL that are visited and promoted in tour books. While I'd love to see a citywide fix, baby steps... Downtown should be on lockdown...no excuses!!

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:03 pm
by gary kreie
I would merge city and county police departments. Just like sewer sanitation run by MSD, crime is a regional concern that knows no city boundaries.

I once heard a county town policeman refer to the St. Louis city police department in less than flattering terms -- implying his town's police department isn't like that. And we could see how poorly the City and County departments have worked together to address Metrolink crime.

They are not working together in all of our best interest. We need to merge the departments under a single joint independent management structure, like MSD, and apply available county and city funds across the region where needed the most, rather than where funded the most.

Re: How would you change St. Louis?

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:00 pm
by symphonicpoet
bwcrow1s wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:13 am
I agree with all of this, but I prefer the double deck 64 as it takes less ground footprint. Would the city be better without it as a whole? I think so. We already have 55, 44 and 70 cutting through the city.

I really wish they would have built a new PSB. I think the current structure is bland, sure it fit back in the 1960s. Especially held up against the Stan Span and right next to the MacArthur. Even the MLK which I'm not a fan of.

Both Bottle District and Chouteau's Landing need a real plan for dense development. Fixing Chouteau's could turn around the fast food-gas station jumble we have at Chouteau and 4th/Broadway and connect to Soulard.
Of all the highways cutting through town I'd say 64/40 is far and away the least disruptive. I'd get rid of any or all the others first. 40 has the advantage of following a natural watercourse that was always a division through the middle of town, and became only more so after the thing was put in a pipe and covered over with railroads and industrial sites. Even in Compton and Dry that gap is there. Ever since Chouteau's Pond. Honestly, if I could pick one to get rid of it would be 44. It's utterly redundant in the city anyway. Just end it at Hampton and call it done. After that 70 and lastly 55. 70 probably does the most harm, but it would also be the hardest to get rid of, since there's a lot of trucking firms reliant on it and so much money has been dumped into it recently. 55 could be eliminated north of 270/255 without much harm, I think, but it wouldn't do as much good as some of the others either. Some. But less.

Odd that there's so much hate on the PSB. It was quite the big deal in its day. Makes it into the AIA St. Louis architecture guide, even. That said . . . it's not my favorite, but it's hard to complain about the view when you're crossing it back into town. I figure let it be. It's serving its purpose admirably.

But anyway . . .