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 new
station is a "piece-of-shit." The problem I have is not the criticism
of the new station — a few [points] are correct. The problem is relying on an
account/pictures from a visitor from Chicago. I’m often critical of
projects and places but I always visit in person to see for myself
rather than be potentially misled by a reader.

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

Our Gateway Station combines Amtrak and Greyhound with our
MetroLink light rail and MetroBus. I’d say that is a good
combination. Utilizing the space under the highway makes sense and
bringing 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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

New Urbanists: No Economic Recovery Without Smart Growth

|
What happened to the United States over the past several years is most commonly described as a recession. By the technical definition of the word we’re two years into a recovery. But it sure doesn’t seem that way. Meanwhile, a growing chorus of intellectual leaders says the country is experiencing something different than a normal […]

All Aboard the Great Streetcar Debate

|
Streetcars provoke strong emotions in transpo geeks. A recent post on Human Transit called "Streetcars: An Inconvenient Truth" precipitated a very informed and sometimes heated thread of discussion on the relative virtues of light rail vs. bus rapid transit (a mode that got its moment in the limelight just this morning) streetcars vs. local-stop buses. […]

Meet the Network: UrbanReviewSTL

|
It’s been nearly ten months since we first started building the Streetsblog Network — a group of bloggers around the country and around the world who write about livable streets, transportation policy, sustainable development and related topics. To find these folks, we asked our friends for tips and then went out hunting on the Internet. […]