St. Louis City

vintage bicycles
Via Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain

If numbers tell the story, bicycle ridership in St. Louis has boomed. A 2014 study from the League of American Bicyclists shows the number of bicycle commuters increased 269.9 percent between 2000 and 2014.

That staggering number isn’t the only sign that St. Louis is making a push to be a bicycle-friendly city. As the area celebrates national Bike to Work Day on Friday, it's time to take a look at improvements that have been made and needs still to be addressed.

I-64 W traffic highway
Paul Sableman | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1rzN9Hd

Since we launched the Curious Louis project last fall, we’ve received plenty of questions/musings/perplexed cries for answers regarding highways, byways and roadways in St. Louis. On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh got answers to some of them by convening a panel of three experts.

Representatives from St. Louis City, St. Louis County and the state (MoDOT) joined the show:

Jacob Norlund / Flickr

The following questions recently came into Curious Louis from someone who wanted to be anonymous: Why do we (St. Louis residents) pay our personal and real estate taxes directly to Gregory F.X. Daly and not a department? How does that compare to other cities?

Daly, the collector of revenue for St. Louis, receives the questions so frequently that his office has set up a webpage to explain.

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis
M Glasgow | Flickr

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis.

The event is part of the “Lock it for Love” program organized by Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice.

A white cross for every homicide in St. Louis and St. Louis County this year line the lawn of Mount Beulah Missionary Baptist Church Dec. 6, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

If you drive down Page Avenue between now and the end of the year, you’ll see row upon row of small white crosses lined up in front of Mount Beulah Missionary Baptist Church.

All told, the Hanley Hills church lawn has at least 220 crosses — one for each known homicide this year in St. Louis or St. Louis County. Crosses will be added as needed throughout December.

St. Louis City Hall
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A major credit rating agency has released a report downgrading St. Louis' ratings.

In a report that was released last Friday, Moody’s Investors Services downgraded by one notch the city’s $27.4 million worth of general obligation bonds. It also dropped the rating on the St. Louis Municipal Finance Corporation's, $123.5 million of “outstanding rated lease revenue debt issued for essential purposes,” as well as the corporation's $138.6 million “of outstanding rated lease revenue debt issued for non-essential purposes.”

Moody’s decision could make it more expensive for the city to borrow money.

A sampling of mailers sent by Reinvest STL, a committee supporting the city's $180 million bond issue.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Voters in St. Louis will go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether the city should borrow $180 million to take care of long-delayed maintenance and other capital needs.

The general obligation bond got on the August ballot at the last possible minute. If it passes, bonds will be sold in 2015, and again in 2017. The city estimates the owner of a $125,000 house would pay about $50 more in property taxes each year.

Wayne Pratt

After losing events like Taste of St. Louis, RibFest and Bluesweek to the suburbs, St. Louis will play host to the inaugural “Q in the Lou” barbeque festival this fall.

“‘Q in the Lou’ will be our autumn block party, and it marks St. Louis as the third point of what St. Louis barbeque legend Mike Emerson has dubbed the ‘Barbeque Triangle’ along with Memphis and Kansas City,” St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said at a press conference in City Hall on Friday.

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen heard from proponents — and a few critics — of a bid to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour from its current $7.65.

The Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee  considered Alderman Shane Cohn’s bill, which would gradually raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The bill would exempt businesses with 15 or fewer employees and companies with less than $500,000 of gross sales every year. 

The committee didn’t vote on Cohn’s bill but is expected to hear more testimony on the measure in the next few weeks.

Katelyn Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

A new ship bearing the name USS St. Louis will soon be present in American harbors.  

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the name of the ship in front of the St. Louis Soldiers’ Memorial Museum on Friday.  

The new ship, LCS 19, belongs to one of two “littoral combat ship” lines, the Freedom variant. The ship is designed to stay close to the shore and target threats like mines, submarines, and surface craft. Mabus said that the ship can do “almost anything” and that at over forty knots, the St. Louis is amongst the fastest ships in the Navy. 

The St. Louis region grew slightly in 2014, but the city dropped by about 1,000 people, according to new Census data.
U.S. Marine Corps Flickr page

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data shows the St. Louis region has grown little in population since 2010, but also has remained fairly stable.

The groundbreaking for the Loop Trolley took place Thursday.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

With bands, balloons, and the clang of a bell, the Loop Trolley project officially broke ground on Thursday.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway delivered a scathing audit to St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Right before she battled back to reclaim an office she held for more than 30 years, St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter did something most longtime city employees do: She applied for her pension. 

Carpenter served as the city’s recorder of deeds from 1980 to mid-2014. After she resigned, she applied for and started receiving a monthly benefit of $4,238.76. Later that year, she defeated incumbent Recorder of Deeds Jennifer Florida in a landslide.

After 13 years, homeless advocate Bill Siedhoff stepped down in November from his post as director of the St. Louis Department of Human Services.

“It’s been a very rewarding career, I would say,” Siedhoff told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday. As director, Siedhoff was responsible for overseeing services for youth, the elderly, the disabled and the homeless.

Robert Peterson / St. Louis Public Radio

Officials with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were in St. Louis today in an effort to get homeless veterans off the street and into housing immediately.

The outreach to veterans was part of the required winter count of homeless people in the city. Officials with the VA went out with teams, conducting the count to be able to offer immediate help to chronically homeless veterans. It was part of the Obama administration's efforts to end homelessness among veterans by 2015.

(Courtesy Jarred Gastreich)

Listeners following the city’s ongoing renaissance may have heard of a project named Midtown Station, a giant commercial center proposed for Vandeventer and Forest Park. This could be a dreadful retail strip or a game-changing development. The way it gets built matters a lot.

 

Maggie Crane

The St. Louis County Council has green lighted a plan that merges some economic development functions with St. Louis City.

The merger creates the St. Louis Economic Partnership, which among other things will create a central clearinghouse where businesses can find what sites are available and what incentives are offered in both the city and county.

County Executive Charlie Dooley said linking economic development efforts will help the region speak with one voice, but said getting St. Charles County to join the effort will be a critical next step.

(Maggie Crane)

St. Louis City and County are a step closer to merging some of their economic development functions.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday sent their version of the agreement to Mayor Francis Slay, who's expected to sign it. The St. Louis County Council will take a final vote on its measure on Tuesday.

UPI | Bill Greenblatt

Supporters of a closer relationship between St. Louis city and county can take heart from a new survey.

The Missouri Council for a Better Economy, a group linked to libertarian billionaire Rex Sinquefield, conducted the survey of 700 voters at the beginning of September. It found that a strong majority of those polled thought some form of unification was worth exploring.

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

The Missouri Bankers Association has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County over a new ordinance that requires lenders to offer mediation to homeowners facing foreclosure.

The trade group’s president, Max Cook, said they plan to argue that it has a laundry list of legal problems. 

“Not the least of which is statute that says when it comes to banking laws, and rules, and regulation, no entity, be it a county, a city, what have you, can pass an ordinance or a rule more restrictive than that of the state of Missouri,” Cook said.

papalars / Flickr

People wanting to resell mobile phones in St. Louis would face tough new restrictions under a newly proposed ordinance.

Mayor Francis Slay and Alderman Craig Schmid announced the legislation in a news release Friday.

Steakpinball | Flickr

Updated at 8:35 p.m. with statement from city.

A federal appeals court has ruled that a St. Louis city ordinance regulating street-side protests "excessively chills free speech" because it does not make clear exactly when those protests become a traffic hazard.

The extra sales tax generated by a long postseason of baseball helped St. Louis city end the fiscal year with a $4.3 million surplus, but officials say that sigh of relief is only temporary.

Revenue was up just about $4 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, driven by higher hotel and sales taxes from the World Series. Lower-than-expected spending made up the rest of the surplus.

It's always better to have more money than expected, says city budget director Paul Payne, but the growth may not be sustainable.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis city firefighters took their objections to pension reform proposals from Mayor Francis Slay to City Hall on Friday, the day the legislation making the changes was formally introduced.

Firefighters say they don't object to the cost-saving proposals in the bills, including reduced disability payments for firefighters who can be retrained for a second career, and a two-tier system that could reduce pension benefits for new hires.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis City is reminding residents of changes to the trash/recycling collection schedule due to the holidays. The schedule is below:

Week of December 26, 2011

(Provided by Wahby for St. Louis)

The race for St. Louis city treasurer is getting crowded.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A year-long battle over the best way to use about $258,000 in donated tax dollars that were originally intended for a new city-operated shelter is over.

(screenshot via Google Maps)

Saying he has no choice, the owner of a crumbling building in the Cupples Station warehouse complex has applied for a permit to demolish the building.

Developer Kevin McGowan, who owns the building at 1014 Spruce St. known as Cupples 7, filed his application on Nov. 9th.  Streets around the building have been blocked off since late September due to safety concerns.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

On Saturday, Standard and Poor's downgraded the debt of the United States a notch.

But the ratings firm continues to see debt issued by the city of St. Louis as a good investment, though vulnerable to economic shocks.

(via Institute for Justice)

Updated with city's comments.

If you frequent the Interstate 44/55 intersection on the near south side of St. Louis, you may be familiar with the display pictured above.

The sign, or mural, depending on whom you ask, has been at the center of a case regarding the constitutionality of the city of St. Louis's sign ordinance. Today, a ruling has been issued in the case.

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