Tower Grove East

Traffic Calming Efforts in South City - Prioritizes People Over Cars

Traffic Calming Efforts in South City - Prioritizes People Over Cars

OMG, St. Louis is prioritizing people over cars in some of the South City neighborhoods including Compton Heights, Fox Park, Gate District, Tower Grove East and Tower Grove South. Can you believe we are actually headed in the right direction in parts of our fair city? Some quick thoughts on the traffic calming efforts we noticed recently.

South Grand Named 1 of 15 "Great Places in America" by American Planning Association

The stretch of South Grand Boulevard between Arsenal and Utah was named one of the country's "Great Places in America" by the American Planning Association.

It's always good to get recogintion on the national level for things every St. Louisan knows. Our city can compete with the best and we are a hidden treasure.

Here's a list of the winners including streets, neighborhoods and public places that represent the gold standard of thoughtful and deliberate planning:

  1. Heart of Missoula, Missoula, Montana
  2. Over the Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio
  3. Seward, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  4. Peal, San Antonio, Texas
  5. Uptown Greenwood, Greenwood, North Carolina
  6. Congress Street, Tucson, Arizona
  7. Lincoln Avenue and Giddings Plaza, Chicago, Illinois
  8. Mainstreet, Waterloo, New York
  9. Park Lane, Kirkland, Washington
  10. South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri
  11. County Home Complex, Pitt County, North Carolina
  12. Market Square, Knoxville, Tennessee
  13. Mill Creek Linear Park, Bakersfield, California
  14. Rosa Park Circle, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  15. San Angelo Concho River Walk, San Angelo, Texas

Here's a short video from the APA showing snippets of each winner, South Grand used Ritz Park as the visual:

The reason we got this designation was due to the lane reduction, sidewalk widening, environmental easing in the form of runoff management/landscaping and the remaking of Ritz Park. It really does look nice.

But, the thing that makes this stretch of Grand a great place is that it is functional. It serves people who live here over just people who visit here. Residents benefit from this street. It is walkable in every way. You can enter businesses from the front, the alley and side streets.

There is much more here than just restaurants, but those that are here aren't just high-end regional draws, they serve the neighborhoods surrounding Grand with with excellent, affordable food (in most cases).

Tourists and visitor from the burbs feel welcome here which is great. But, residents see neighbors here too. It's a place that serves all.

Our family optometrist is here. If you haven't used locally owned Lucas Optometry, then you are missing the boat. This place is great and the people that have worked here for years are familiar, like warm acquaintances. I get into a conversation about fishing in Willmore Park and kids going to school in the city and urban issues. It's fun. 

There is a legitimate international market, Jay International, that has everything you can't get at the supermarkets. It is real, priced right and serves the immigrant population well.

Ice cream is a reward for kids. The Tower Grove Creamery is manned by many local kids and owners that talk to you and care. 

You can mail a package at the post office, you can fill up your tank at a cool looking gas station, you can get your hair cut fancy or barber shop style. You can find a home away from home workspace at the Gelateria, you can bank here, you can get Xmas trees here.

It is a functioning, neighborhood corridor and street that serves people with diversity. It is worthy of all praises and it looks better than ever.

It truly is a great city street. We need to focus on smart design and development so more of these corridors can pop up in other parts of the city where lots of people live, including Morgan Ford, Martin Luther King, St. Louis Avenue, Page, Chippewa, Broadway you name it. 

KDHX in Grand Center

KDHX 88.1 FM, St. Louis' community radio station since 1987 has recently moved from it's humble studio on Magnolia Avenue in

the Tower Grove East neighborhood

to a spectacular new facility in Grand Center.

From this:

To this:

Inspired by the new sign that was recently installed on the building, I really wanted to see what the new studios were like and what they were able to do with the building.  I am a freak for bold, artistic signage...it is big city...and I love the new KDHX sign, which utilizes parts of the Sun Theatre sign that used to adorn the front of that building.  I had to see the inside after appreciating the street view.

The Sun is currently under renovation for use by the

Grand Center Arts Academy

and the sign was not original, so it was removed.  This is just another phase of the continuing excitement and momentum in this beautiful neighborhood of

Covenant Blu/Grand Center

.

The "rays" were repurposed and incorporated into the KDHX sign and rumor has it the "Sun" metal and neon portion of the sign will be repurposed and installed on

the Folk School of KDHX

 building, just down the street at 3323 Washington Avenue.

I contacted a neighbor of mine, Spencer Musselman, a DJ at KDHX on Saturday nights to see if I could get a tour:

Spencer puts a bounce in your step with Groove Grease, a full-throttle tour of raw funk, rare grooves, and African and Latin beats that will propel you late into the night. That's Groove Grease, every Saturday night from 11 until 1am.

Spencer was able to hook me up with a personal tour hosted by Chris Bay, DJ of Gold Soundz, one of my current favorites:

Not all that glitters is gold, but you can rely on Chris to separate the sonic gems from the rest. Tune in for a wide range of pop, rock and neo-folk, both old and new, and you'll find yourself with the urge to go back to those gold sounds again and again.

Chris was a gracious host and tour guide taking me through the various areas of the building including the staff offices, studios, recording space, the Stage performance area and the Magnolia Cafe (the name a tribute to the former space on Magnolia Avenue).

The studios are top shelf with the latest technology.

There are state of the art recording rooms for the DJs and show hosts to do production for their sets.

The live performance recording studio was designed to avoid right angles in the room and as a result has slightly off kilter lines that provide for a great sound and an interesting look.

 kit already set up and ready to go for traveling bands

I am so energized by all the changes and can't wait to see a performance at the Stage.  I understand that Pokey LaFarge recently did a show here recently and the sound was reported to be impeccable.

The space is welcoming and warm seating 144 people.

The space is intimate, yet very appealing for musicians.  The stage is ADA accessible (as is the entire building) and there is a cozy green room for privacy.

KDHX will be screening music related documentaries and movies in the Stage, as a full retractable screen was installed.

There is much more space for the vast collection of vinyl and CDs.

The staff has more room to spread out and the offices were designed to be wide open and welcoming with lots of natural light.

turnbuckles brace a section of the building

The best thing about this new building is it's a place I want to hang out.  I want to be here and listen to the shows I like (playing in the cafe) and enjoy a sandwich and a cold one and talk music.  Chris mentioned an event called "40s and 45s" held on 

Tuesdays in the Magnolia Cafe where you bring your favorite vinyl for listening, sip on a local beer, and talk music with your friends.  I can relate to this on every level and will be there.

The Magnolia Cafe will open soon, with coffee, tea, local craft brews on tap and food.

The decor in the cafe is awesome with red "records" on the wall commemorating donors.  There are amazing accents in the room, like a re-purposed fireproof projectionist room door from the Sun that are now tables and really cool bowling alley hardware from the Sun's 3-alley lanes re-imagined into a chandelier by the folks from Salvage City.

How many radio stations can you just hangout at and talk music and drink and socialize?  This stuff is happening in St. Louis.

Thanks Spencer!

Thanks Chris!

If you want to support KDHX, you can become a member by clicking

HER

E.  The community is growing and the results are yours to take part in.  There are no space constrictions, no medium untouched, no barriers.  KDHX seems stronger than ever and the future is bright.

I am so happy to see radio survive the Internet age.  Growing up in KDHX's reach, it was a beacon of hope for weirdo's and music fans sick of KSHE and the stifling, horrible 1980s popular airwaves.  I owe much of my soul and love of art and music to KDHX...and my heart is filled with joy to know they are surviving...growing...on the cutting edge...in my city.

The Tower Grove East Neighborhood

The Tower Grove East Neighborhood

This section of the city is my favorite.  Shaw, Tower Grove South, Fox Park, McKinley Heights, Compton Heights... and of course Tower Grove East.  There has been an amazing amount of investment in this neighborhood in the last 10-15 years.  This used to not be such a nice place to live or even drive through.  I've seen some crazy stuff in my time living in the city; and there used to be a lot of bad guys living and doing business here.  I witnessed some drag racing in this neighborhood that made my head spin.  There were guys blocking traffic on the side streets so these guys could drag race their cars in the neighborhood.  This kind of ridiculous behavior doesn't exist today.  Investment is up, people who care and want to live here are in higher numbers.  The poor stewards of properties are being displaced by those who want and can care for these aging beauties, and their hard work and investment is starting to really pay dividends.  Those who have lived in TGE for years are now reaping the benefits of sticking it out through the rough years.  Call it gentrification, call it up and coming, call it a pendulum swing back toward the original pride of the neighborhood, what ever you want to call it, you can't deny there is cumulative positivity in this neighborhood that is growing and starting to tip the scales of negativity to something more healthy and sustainable.