Urban Planning for Bicycling


Thursday night Anne and I attended a planning meeting to help plan biking and walking in the central corridor of St. Louis County.  Trailnet‘s Community Planning services in conjunction with consultants for the cities of Brentwood, Clayton, Maplewood and Richmond Heights are trying to develop a coordinated four city master plan for biking and walking.  Communities that are bikable and walkable are not only fun for recreation they have many positive effects.  After a brief lecture, we were enjoined to gather around a map and show where we would like to see connections and improvements for safe and enjoyable biking and walking.

The map had marked out a pretty complete network for biking.  Some of it was existing, some was in work, but most of it was in planning.  The network has a four level hierarchy for bike-ways:  1) Accommodation or just Share the Road signs;  2) Bike Route like most of BIKE Saint Louis;  3) Bike Lane like what Wydown has; and 4) Bike Path like what we have in Forest Park.

Most of the bike network was accommodation, then bike route and so forth.  That is an effect of cost.  Above accommodation, each succeeding level costs more.  I would like to see a bike route from Deer Creek Park to Wydown, along Laclede Station, Wise, Boland and Crestwood and not just an accommodation. 

A point was made about Wydown being upgraded to a bike path.  I was not certain whether or not that meant no parking in the existing lane.  I learned that a new trail along Deer Creek is complete and that phase two is underway, with a planned eventual linkup with the River Des Pere Trail system.  Whoo Hoo!  I also learned that Brentwood’s bike paths are much more extensive then I thought. 

My last concern was that there seemed be little effort to affect or connect to plans outside the four city jurisdiction.  MODOT is looking at upgrading Hanley/Laclede Station, possibly into a 141.  Contacting neighboring cities, showing them our plans, listening to theirs seems like good urban planning to me.

Tears In My Beer Because of You


Today the Belgium brewer InBev, completed its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser beer.  Anheuser-Busch joins the long line of Saint Louis based companies that have been taken over.  Notable Saint Louis companies that have seen their headquarters merged out of town are  AG Edwards, Ralston Purina, Trans World Airlines, Monsanto, Southwestern Bell, and McDonnell Douglas.  Anheuser-Busch was one of the few Fortune 100 headquarters still left in town.  Pictured above is Anne, pedaling up Broadway, headed for the Saint Louis Anheuser-Busch brewery.  The picture is from this summer. 

The old saw about Saint Louis went like this, First in shoes, First in booze and last in the American League.  The Saint Louis Browns have long since left town and Saint Louis is quite happy with its Cardinals.  Thank you very much!  All the shoe factories have left town, but Brown Shoe is still headquartered here.  Remember Buster Brown shoes?  Many of the old shoe factory buildings are still scattered around the downtown.  Many have already been converted to loft apartments and condos and more are likely to.  Pretty much all that was left of Saint Louis’ booze industry was the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

Anheuser-Busch was in part responsible for the demise of the rest of Saint Louis’ booze industry.  One competitor the Lemp family, maker of Falstaff beer, was driven to distraction by competition with Anheuser-Busch.  The City of Saint Louis’ high standard for brewing prevented micro brewers, like Schlafly Beer from being able to open up bottling plants within the city’s limits.  So Anheuser-Busch was left the last man standing here in Saint Louis.  Today Saint Louis’ alpha predator became the prey.

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

Another Marquee Production:

I’m headed westbound on the old Chain of Rocks bridge.  I’m crossing the mighty Mississippi on the old Route 66.  I’m returning from the Land of Lincoln to the Show Me State.  I’m coming from Illinois to Missouri.  I’m returning home.

Trailnet now owns the bridge and operates it as a bicycle path.

UPDATE:  I biked in the Park this morning.  I got 15 miles.  It was a bit nippy, but I was dressed for it.  I saw one guy on a bike though, that only had on shorts and a T-shirt.  I’m glad I didn’t need to count him in order to make my sanity quotient.

Need a Hand? How About A Whole Magic Arm?

A couple of weeks back, I ordered a Bogen Magic Arm .  Today I got around to trying it out.  Basically, it is a camera mount that I can clamp on to the bicycle and then pose it in almost any position.

I made this movie using it.  I went out first and shot pictures of myself.  When Anne was ready, I got video of her riding with me.  I used Adobe Premiere Elements to put it together.  After about a mile I ran out of camera memory, so we turned around to empty the camera.

We launched again and headed towards the Park.  Soon afterwards we realized we had forgotten the bike lock.  So not wanting to turn around again, we thought of where we could still go for lunch.  We decided on the Central West End and headed over there. 

We ended up at Bar Italia.  I had always want to go there, but it is a bit upscale.  We sat on the patio so we could keep an eye on the bikes.  Anne had the Torti de Spinichi and I had a Panini.  It was good.  We got 16 miles in today.

Red State Blues

I rode in the Park this morning, biking and taking pictures.  It was another brilliant day, it is hard to believe that it is already November.  I got home and Anne was marking her sample ballot and preparing to go vote at the county election commission.  Anne is working as an election official on Tuesday, election day.  So she is eligible to absentee vote in Missouri.  Other valid excuses for absentee voting are being absent (get it?) from the county on election day (like Dave is), sickness or disability, religious beliefs and imprisonment, provided all other qualifications for voting are retained (??).  Anne biked over to the election commission.

I got a call from Anne a little while later.  She had forgotten to bring a bike lock.  So, I said I would bring one over.  She said no hurry.  Today’s header shows only part of the line that was there when I showed up.  By the time I showed up the poll had “closed”, but if you were in line already, as Anne was, the poll would remain open for you.  The line was easily 1000 people long and Anne was less then ten from the end.  She was in line by noon and voted at 2:30.

As she finally reached the head of the line, she spoke with the guy managing the line.  He said that this year 40,000 people have absented voted by mail and another 26,000 in person.  According to KSDK-TV in 2004 there were a total of 40,000 absentee ballots and the election commission was only expecting a total of 50,000 this year.  The guy managing now just the end of the line said that he would be there until 10:30 tonight.  Do the math, 40K in 2004, 66K in 2008, that is a 65% increase in absentee voting.

After she voted, Anne looked up her election supervisor.  Anne mentioned the paper’s article from last week about a large increase in registered voters around Washington University.  They looked up Anne’s poll.  The registered voters at her poll have increased to 2000 from 900.  Tuesday is going to be a long day.

Afterwards, Anne biked over to the Weavers Guild’s annual show.  I did the shopping: food, dry cleaning, his’ and her’s new bike tires from REI.  There was an Obama door hanger on the front door when I got home.  Anne gets home.  Dinner at four.  Then Anne was off to canvas for Obama tonight.  That my gal!  I think I’ll blog instead.  I biked 31 miles today and Anne biked 9 miles, but I think she has me beat.  Don’t you?

UPDATE: A pretty good guess of how it is going to be on Tuesday, via the Daily Kos.

Happy Halloween


Bob slept on the couch last night.  He didn’t get back from My His Dinner with Andre…w until after I had gone to bed, so we never finished our game.  So I declared victory.  I got him up and launched him towards the airport and then went for a bike ride.  Friday mornings are the best weekday mornings to ride on.  They are the least crowded.  They are also the hardest to get up for.  I got in 15 miles.  I’ll be glad to say goodbye to daylight savings time.  For a few weeks yet, I’ll no longer be completely riding in the darkness.

Missouri has a new law that comes into effect tonight.  As of this year, sex offenders on Halloween must stay inside their homes.  They cannot have their front porch lights on and they must have a sign on their front door that says, No Candy.  I don’t know how anyone can be expected to read this sign in the dark.

That being said, our plans for tonight are to wait until the cute kids from next door to come by trick or treating.  Then we’ll turn off the front porch light and go out to dinner and a show.  We don’t need no stinking sign.  We have theater tickets tonight to see Jane Austen’s Emma, a new musical, at the Rep.

The picture for this post is of the Lemp brewery.  It is not the same as the Lemp haunted mansion, but it is the same family.  As near as I can tell the Lemp family was a bit off to begin with and completion with the Busch family down the street in the beer business, probably didn’t help.  Wiki gives the family history here.  The following is a Halloween sample:

The Lemp Mansion is famed as one of the nation’s most haunted buildings. In the 1980s, it was ranked in the top nine haunted places by Life Magazine. Reputed paranormal incidents include doors opening, shutting, locking, and unlocking on their own; candles lighting on their own; and a glass flying off a bar and crashing to the floor. Visitors to the mansion have reported feeling as if they are being watched, or sensing an atmosphere of sadness, and some claim to have seen apparitions of members of the Lemp family. One report says that, during the mansion’s restoration, a painter working on a mural felt that he was being watched and immediately fled the mansion, without washing his brushes or taking out his equipment, and never returned.

No cute kids yet, but of course with daylight savings time it is still light out.  Running out of time …

Ethan the Engineer and his little sister Gracie.