Thanks to everyone who voted for Proposition A yesterday. This was a critical, maybe the most critical, element for St. Louis urban renewal and community development. Without transit we cannot effectively attract residents to live here and without residents we cannot hope to attract jobs either. The community has answered. St. Louis wants to be a vibrant city again!
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why do those conservative Teabaggers get to have so much fun?” Well, it’s time to steal their idea and make it interesting, just like what we did to their hard -earned money through exorbitant and expansive taxation.
You’re prayers have been answered.
Tracking Progress presents the St. Louis Coffee Party in coordination with the Greater St. Louis Beverage Party. Come hang out with us and discuss how our party can be darker, bolder, hotter, and work to keep everyone up all night. Topics to be discussed will include:
1. Why is coffee great?
2. Isn’t it funny that Obama isn’t a socialist?
3. Which place in St. Louis has the best coffee?
4. Wouldn’t it be great if Obama was a socialist? How would you celebrate? Would you prepare a death panel for someone? Probably not, that would be ridiculous.
5. How do you prepare your coffee? With the sub-question: Have you ever used a percolator?
6. How does it make you feel that Obama is actually closer in politics to Teddy Roosevelt than Franklin Roosevelt?
7. What does your favorite mug look like?
8. Isn’t it funny that conservative rhetoric is grounded in the illusion of expansive state oppression, as if the mask of suffering they wear has blocked their view of unfettered market capitalism?
9. No, seriously, what is the deal with the Right?
10. What would happen if a kitten drank some coffee?
If any of that sounds like fun, or if you just want to hang out with some people who enjoy great conversation (emphasis on question 10) and imbibing/celebrating darker beverages, then come out and meet us! We’ll have more details posted in the next couple of days. Come check us out and have some damn fun.
Friday, February 26, 2010 at 9:30pm
Foam Coffee & Beer
3359 South Jefferson Avenue
Saint Louis, MO
A message from your local Annie:
According to the eRecord, Washington University’s weekly electronic newspaper, they’re starting a new “safe ride home” shuttle. Cleverly titled “Campus2Home,” the shuttle will take anyone who presents their school ID from the Danforth campus to the front doorstep of their home, but only if they live in three neighborhoods close to campus. Shuttles leave every half an hour between 7pm and 2:30am. I assume this is designed for undergrads who don’t have cars, and it seems like a really nice service. Imagine walking to campus and having to stay late to work on something. You’ll never have to walk home after dark again! What a relief, especially in cold weather, avoiding the trek on foot.
Other than serving as an alternative to walking home, I see the program as indicative of #1 our attitude about cars and public transit in St. Louis, and #2 the culture of fear, this time specifically regarding (largely but not completely) upper-class undergrads and fear of the communities they live in.
#1–The idea that a 10-passenger van is something you need to come pick you up from campus and carry you home late at night reinforces the idea that the only safe way to get around is a car. That ideally, we would all be able to drive ourselves to class and back home every day. It also feeds the idea that all students wish they had a car to drive; no one would have chosen to take the bus to and from campus. If a student were walking and taking the bus in order to consume fewer resources in a daily commute, riding home in a 10 passenger van negates any fuel conserved initially by walking. I very much doubt these 10 passenger vans will fill up very often, wouldn’t it make more environmental sense to at least use smaller cars?
The shuttle is especially a blow to public transit when you compare the areas the “safe ride home” covers with the existing bus routes. Here’s a rough map with the safe ride home neighborhoods in blue with various bus routes on it:
You can see that all three areas the ride service serves are well served by bus routes. So, Washington University is providing a van shuttle to take students to the very same places that already have excellent bus access. Having traversed almost all of those blue squares on foot before, I’d say that there isn’t a place that’s more than a ten minute walk from the bus lines within the blue areas. The public transit in St. Louis stops running around midnight or one every night, so the shuttle would be the only option after that. That’s very convenient for students, but why wouldn’t the school push to have the buses run later? Instead they’ve just started their own shuttles? I won’t even bring up the students that live out of the “safe ride home” zones, let’s assume this would be a sort of pilot for a more inclusive program.
Setting up a “Safe ride home” shuttle service that overlaps existing bus lines also implies that taking the bus is not safe! Which brings me back to point number 2…
#2–What’s unsafe about the taking the bus or about walking home? By offering this service, Washington University is not only providing it’s students with a lazy alternative to taking public transit, but is also sending the message to its students that it’s dangerous for them to walk around in their own neighborhoods. You could argue that it’s not exactly safe to walk through these areas alone at 2am, yes, but what about 7pm when the service starts? I would hope that a walk home at 7pm would give you a chance to at least smile at a neighbor, not a very worrisome event. Being aware of your surroundings is an extremely important safety strategy, but I’d argue that walking through your neighborhood is a good way to become aware of it, especially in these areas where you’re likely not to be shot.
I understand that someone thinks this is a good idea, and I do think there should be some sort of emergency ride home possibility, but the “safe ride home” just for the sake of going home in a car doesn’t solve anything. Instead of promoting communication with neighbors, working to make the neighborhoods into places students can trust, (because all crime doesn’t happen on the bus itself) the university has found one more method of further isolating students from the St. Louis neighborhoods they live in.
Information from WUSTL.
We like the unexpected. We like weirdness. We like problems. We enjoy problems because they present an alternative to our common reality, they become the hallmarks and touchstones of laughter, sadness, brutality, and bliss. Yet it is those unique problems – the hiccups and lacunae that interrupt the pleasant moment or the negotiated halycon – that ultimately fashion our strength and wit. We have only the everpresent possibilities of failure and futility to demarcate the estates of our success; we have only the problems of today as lenses for the achievements of tomorrow. No one has moved forward without having the past at our backs to guide of us into the unknown. The geography of our future – as individuals and communities advocating and acting for a better world – must be grounded in an acceptance of exhaustion and fatigue, not presently, but existentially. No one achieved anything without a smile on their face and some sweat on their arching brow. In light of realizing our very human faults and our occasional incapacity to tolerate truth, knowledge, action, and reaction, Tracking Progress presents an omnibus of the unusual, the brilliant, and the absolutely necessary. What is the modus vivendi of social-cultural-political collaboration if it lacks a sense of humor? Or if it lacks an eye for the common/uncommon reality shared by all? For us to succeed, for us to vindicate even a thread of our potential, we have to be willing to see the whole picture – not just the blurring beauty through the window of our travels. Moving forward together means moving through the whole terrain and having your eyes wide to the entire landscape. Stand up and step outside, it’s time to practice your trainsmile. Have fun out there.
Tis the season!? A Pennsylvanian woman chucks a snowball at a bus driver; If you ever had any doubts about the safety of public transit, check out DC Metro; Or, if you ever had any doubts about the future of public transit, check out what the Federal Transit Administration has proposed for Fiscal Year 2011; Although Saint Louis is absent from that list, the high-speed rail corridor between our city and Chicago has been funded; New York proves that no matter the place you can find bad transit contractors; Someone in Grenoble, France is really enjoying the local tram system; Wanna take a tour of the MetroLink facility? Check out our own transit system for free!; In Minneapolis-St. Paul, some people are a little frustrated with the LRT planning process; Transit innovation isn’t about making money, it’s about helping real people, and here, and here; Back home in Mound City, the data show that transit funding depends on women; Finally, it wouldn’t be Tracking Progress if we didn’t give you the system of the day: The Memphis Area Transit Authority, complete with trolley. Oh yeah, here’s the Grenoble Tram.
Metro St. Louis will be presenting plans for future development of transit service at the following region-wide locations. These events seek to provide residents and stakeholders with a vivid picture of what local transit can aspire to become. Please make a point of attending one these meetings and let Metro hear your voice about the future of our community. If you’re not able to make it out to one of these meetings, please attend the webinar event on January 29 – we have provided a link at the bottom of the post. These events are absolutely critical for our local public transit to thrive. Our community can only be as strong as those individuals and stakeholders who are willing to raise their voices in support or opposition. We cannot allow the future of St. Louis to be one without active participation. These meetings provide us with the opportunity to become the advocates for a better fate for our community. It is not only our attendance that matters, it is our capacity to stand united for a St. Louis in which public transit is adequately funded and conducive to growth and development. We hope to see you there.
St. Louis County Library Headquarters – Auditorium
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
5:30pm – 7:30pm
1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63131
ADA Access via Main Entrance
Mehlville High School Library
Thursday, January 21, 2010
5:30pm – 7:30pm
3200 Lemary Ferry Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63125
ADA Access via Library Entrance/Rear Parking Lot
St. Louis City Hall – Room 208/Kennedy Room
Monday, January 25, 2010
Noon – 2:00pm
1200 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
ADA Access via North Tunnel
St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley
Student Center – Multipurpose Room
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
5:30pm – 7:30pm
3400 Pershall Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63135
ADA Access via Main Entrance, near Administration Building
Belleville City Hall, Council Chambers
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
5:30pm – 7:30pm
101 South Illinois Street
Belleville, IL 62220
ADA Access via South Illinois Entrance
Online Workshop Webinar
Friday, January 29, 2010
12:00pm – 1pm
Register here for the webinar
Letter to the Editor published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on January 19, 2010:
Opponents of the new measure to fund local public transit continue to play fast and loose with the facts. Their claims remain specious and are sustained only through their refusal to understand public transit.
The April 6 vote on funding is not a bailout; it is half of the funding source already passed by the St. Louis city in 1997. Since then, the sales tax increase in the city has existed only on the books. The county must pass its version for the city’s to go into effect. Public transit is of extreme importance for the future of the entire St. Louis community.
Our transit agency is more than trains. It is a system of modalities, each providing unique service to residents of the St. Louis area.
The sales tax increase is not meant merely to support expansion of the train system. The funds will restore countywide bus routes and service, increase the frequency of trains and help fund the return of a robust Call-a-Ride system. Funds also will support future transit options, including bus-based rapid transit and the renovation of bus stops and train stations. Expansion means future security, safety and strength of public transit.
Understanding the nature of public transit is crucial to understanding the importance of the April 6 vote. People who are against the funding measure should look beyond their tax-fearing rhetoric if they want to comprehend this critical moment.
Michael Koscielniak — St. Louis
If an “A” is the best grade in school, let’s give our community a 4.0 in April. The official ballot nomenclature for the County-wide sales tax increase slated for Public Transit is “Proposition A.” Be sure to update your friends and Neighbors about the official ballot language so everyone knows what to look for on their ballot when they vote in April.
One more update- Be sure to look for the official Long-Term plan to be released by Metro on Monday.