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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fox 2's Elliot Davis Assails Infrastructure Improvements; Misses the Mark

Recently, Fox 2's ever vigilant Elliot Davis covered streetscape improvements on Delor in Bevo in his "You Paid For It" segment.

For a summary of what was done to the street, see Mark Groth's post from St. Louis City Talk. Essentially, the street was widened on both sides by removing the tree planting wells and grass buffer. Yet, the city decided to plant new trees in their old locations, basically creating curb bump-outs in the place of the former tree lawn. The resulting look is somewhat odd, though functional. What would have been an overly wide street is now at least mitigated by the fact that one cannot use the parking lanes to pass.

I agree with Elliot Davis that the need for this project was not extreme. I grew up two blocks from here and know that, sure, the street was narrow in its old incarnation and more than a few people saw their mirrors get clipped off by overeager motorists. Wouldn't a no parking sign from 7-9am and 4-6pm have solved the issue, even if just on one side of the street?

Instead of assailing the idea of widening a street in the city of St. Louis, Eillot Davis's "You Paid For It" inexplicably mocks the tree wells, confronting 14th Ward alderman Stephen Gregali about the "issue". "Won't the trees outgrow the planters and tear up the street you just fixed?" Davis repeats several times, to which Gregali responds, "Call a botanist". Watch the hilarious and puzzling video here.

Or here:

Another angle to approach the issue, besides the need for widening the street at all, could have been the tree selection itself. The city seems to think that these tiny trees survive; they often don't. Shouldn't we pay a little bit more to get some more mature and larger trees that could live through an ice storm, vandals, etc.?

Rumor is (it's not yet on their website), Davis is next set to attack Metro's Arts-in-Transit investments as wasted taxpayer money. I cannot begin to list all of the ignorance involved in that statement, but, luckily, Metro could. Read their eloquent response to such attacks here.'s essentially a federal funding requirement. And boosts transit-ridership. I applaud Metro for swiftly correcting misinformed critics.

And Elliot, please, make it a semi-annual report if you can't find anything worthwhile. Or at least read more deeply into the value (and faults) of particular infrastructure improvements in the city.


Unknown said...

What a great video! Very funny.

The city could have planned the whole project a LITTLE better.... whether it was more attractive bumpouts, widening the road w/ no parking.... but their heart was in the right place, I guess.

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