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St. Louis Blogger Tells Kunstler He Got It Wrong

Steve Patterson, the writer of Streetsblog Network member blog UrbanReviewSTL, has long been a fan of anti-sprawl guru James Howard Kunstler. But Patterson takes issue with Kunstler in a post today about the new St. Louis Amtrak station, a multimodal facility that also serves as a bus depot and light rail link. Kunstler just named it as his "eyesore of the month."

Patterson concedes that the station has its issues, and no one would argue that it can hold an aesthetic candle to the city's magnificent Union Station, which is now a shopping mall with a hotel and restaurants. But he says Kunstler rushed to judgment without all the facts:

kunstlereotm.jpgSo because Union Station is no longer used for rail transit our newstation is a "piece-of-shit." The problem I have is not the criticismof the new station -- a few [points] are correct. The problem is relying on anaccount/pictures from a visitor from Chicago. I’m often critical ofprojects and places but I always visit in person to see for myselfrather than be potentially misled by a reader.

Had Kunstler done his homework he would have known it has been morethan 30 years since the last train backed out of Union Station. From 1978–2008, St. Louis’ Amtrak station was in two different portablebuildings (#1 1978–2004, #2 2004–2008). It is not like we stoppedusing Union Station one day and [opened] the new station the next.

Our Gateway Station combines Amtrak and Greyhound with ourMetroLink light rail and MetroBus. I’d say that is a goodcombination. Utilizing the space under the highway makes sense andbringing these services together in one spot can help visitors.

One of the best things about the Streetsblog Network is that it brings together on-the-ground observers in more than 40 states and several nations. If you want to know what's going on in St. Louis, you can find someone in St. Louis. Or Reno. Or Savannah. Or Indianapolis. Or any of dozens of communities.

Just click on the map you'll find here and start exploring for yourself.

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