Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
The absurdity of IDOT knows no bounds this year. Not only have they shut down the MLK bridge until December, two WB lanes approaching the Poplar for who knows how long, and now they've closed a portion of WB 64 through East St. Louis Until spring of 2016. They've pretty much made it as frustrating as they can for drivers heading into St. Louis to work.
I'd suggest head over the river on a Sunday and get a hotel room.
Had to laugh though, KMOV gave some suggested alternatives for morning commuters coming from Illinois. There was really only one for those traveling from Belleville, O'Fallon, Swansea, Fairview-consider the JB bridge. They could take the Musial I suppose, but Dale did this yesterday and it was backed up mainly because everything else had lane closures.
Oh sure. Take the JB and end up on 270, the absolute worst interstate for travel in the entire area. This is ridiculous.
"Road construction on 64WB snarling morning commute on approach to downtown bridges."
I knew this was coming and we drove through the lane closures late yesterday afternoon. IDOT is continuing MoDOT's practice of jamming up the westbound Poplar by closing the two left lanes leading to the bridge from just past the 64/55-70 split. This led to many drivers being taken by surprise yesterday resulting in a lot of sudden weaving from left to right and back again.
I really feel for Illinois people who work in Missouri and have to drive this every day. We have many seminary staffers who do this and the stress of the commute is difficult. You can either leave two hours early in order to miss the jams or sit in traffic and be late for work. Whatever the choice it's no fun.
It's easy to say, take the Musial/Veterans bridge but then you're crawling along on surface street traffic stopping at red light after red light. With the King Bridge shut down there is no good alternative.
A story about Duluth Minnesota in the Post-Dispatch today which describes this city on the shores of Lake Superior the San Francisco of the Midwest. I have never been to Duluth, but had a high school teacher who grew up there and I have never thought of it as anything at like San Francisco. Nothing against Duluth, but I don't even know anyone who has gone there on vacation.
However, after reading the story, this might be a trip on my bucket list.
"So much of the city is uncluttered shoreline along the largest freshwater lake in the world. The city climbs up from the shoreline, steep streets reaching a hilltop, which allows many houses, buildings, hotels and restaurants a lake view. Duluth has even been called “the San Francisco of the Midwest” because of those hills. With its quirky shops eclectic restaurants and mostly independent hotels, Duluth feels worlds away from suburbia or big city."
It also has museums (railroad equipment, maritime and art) a ballet company and a civic orchestra. Also canals, lake front shoreline, beautiful bridges, many restaurants and tons more.
St. Louis officials have suspended the red light camera program and, get this, will refund drivers who paid fines (Feb 14, 2014 until yesterday) from these cameras 5.6 million dollars!
This is amazing and the question is, does St. Louis even have 5.6 million dollars to do the refunding?
On the other hand, Montgomery County in Maryland where Katie and her family live, has seen red light camera tickets rise 300 percent.
While visiting out there we've noticed cameras everywhere not just at stoplights. They are in the middle of residential streets and anywhere else they feel they can legitimately get away with placing them. The biggest violation in Montgomery County is the "turn right on red". Seems there are people who don't think they have to stop first and then turn.
I'm not exactly sure which entity is overseeing the construction of the Clayton/Skinker intersection which is part of the project to make that area more pedestrian and biker friendly, but it's a mess. I have the feeling it is St. Louis City street department rather than MoDOT.
Here is the biggest issue. The stoplight at Clayton Skinker is a long one with each of the 4 directions having their own signal. The north/south directions-McCausland and Skinker have only minor issues, but the east west drivers on Clayton and the 64/40 exit and entrance is botch all.
If you are on Clayton heading toward the interstate entrance the work crew has closed the right most lane at the Big Amoco car wash which is about 25 feet from the stop light. This is especially bad during the two daily rush hours because there is no warning about this lane closure until you get right up to the gas station. This means drivers are backed up in the two lanes almost to St. Mary's Hospital because the closure is not seen or known.
The road work has to go on, but it makes sense to me that one of those digital signs telling drivers the right lane is closed ahead would help a lot. I sat through 4 and a half long lights at that point yesterday while only 4 or 5 cars got across Skinker onto 40 from Clayton Road. This happens every morning. A sign would help a lot.
Getting off 40 westbound onto Clayton Skinker is still accidents waiting to happen because they have also closed the far right lane which is where so many Wash U people turn. The lanes have arrows painted in this lane advising drivers it is for going straight and/or turning right. If you want to go straight down Clayton you end up backing up all those who want to turn right which they can do on red. Lots of honking at this point.
So many highway construction sites no use digital signs to help drivers keep the traffic moving, so why can't the St. Louis city road work overseers do the same.
It looks like IDOT will begin the final 159 paving today, as they close everything but one lane from the Catholic Church to Wickliff. One lane means one lane, not one lane in each direction which is what has gone on for two years. I'd advise avoiding that area for most of today. But much more paving has to be completed before the area is finished.
This has been an exhausting two years of road work for everyone who has had to drive Vandalia or lives along that route. Actually, getting around Collinsville as a whole has been an ordeal for some time. Someone who lives on the west side of town told me recently that she had to be at the Vandalia end and just did not know how people have stood that every single day. It's been hard, some days better than others some days just ridiculous. It will be a relief to have all that over with but I'm curious about how difficult it will be to turn left out of our street once things are cleared away.
Also, there is a digital sign on 55/70 Westbound in the area where drivers can head onto the Martin Luther King Bridge which warns that beginning Monday road work will begin. This can't be true! Surely IDOT won't be doing something along the road leading to the Poplar after many months of backups thanks to MoDOT work on its side of the bridge. Please please say this isn't going to happen.
A new Missouri law takes effect this month which will alllow some categories of big trucks to add an additional 5500 pounds to the current legal weight of 80,000 pounds. The law applies to agriculture and logging hauling and will also extend the distance these trucks may travel.
I've noticed a trend in new tractor trailers this summer as we've driven through various states-as if the semi's aren't already huge, they're getting wider, longer, higher and often carrying double trailers. The tiny house people are being put to shame by the hugeness of the truck cabs. I'd guess there is even room in them for a kitchen and roomy bath.
If you've driven on the interstate next to one of these newer trucks you've notice that they take up almost the entire width of the lane and have very little room to maneuver going around curves which means they stray into other driving lanes.
When is too heavy too big too long too wide too high going to be enough?
When we head up to Arcadia Michigan each, or every other, year, we traditionally stop for lunch in South Haven. I love South Haven, it has the best farmers market in the downtown and a bakery which can compete well with Kruta's. It also has a small harbor with personal watercraft and a big red lighthouse. But the best is the farmers market bordered on one side with a painted building wall featuring every kind of fruit or vegetable.
It's hard to believe there still exists a place with little or no cell signal but we've landed in that place. All around are scores of those big wind farm windmills but not a cell tower in sight. So it's hard to update anything without luck or perseverance. The idea seems to be that if you get up this far on Lake Michigan, you should disconnect from real life for a bit.
But I rather like real life so it's hard.
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