Friday, January 11, 2008

Life in the City January 11, 2008

Ok, I thought I'd just write down a few random thoughts here.

If you don't live in St. Louis, then you probably haven't heard about the Highway 40 shutdown. Now, a word about this - MODOT and the media are trying to tell us its called Interstate 64. Now to all locals, this is HIGHWAY 40. It always has been, always will be. However, there is a move afoot to change the name. Some have even taken to calling the road "I-64/Highway 40" or "64/40" or some other such bastardization of the name. The project website even calls it the "New I-64." Its Highway 40 and that's what I am going to call it. That's my story and I am sticking to it!

OK, that out of the way, we get to the actual business at hand. For unitiated, Highway 40 starts at the Mississippi, then bisects City of St. Louis and St. Louis County and continues west to Interstate 270 (we DO call it that) and goes on to points west. It is (or was) one of the busiest thouroughfares in the city and handles an enormous ammount of traffic. However, the roadway and the bridges and overpasses have become extremely old. Many date back to th e1930's when the roadway was one of the first divided highways in the area. Several bridges were on the state list of bridges in danger of collapse. The overpasses were also too short for interstate standard and have been hit several times. Needless to say, this damage is cummlitative and has resulted in one bridge being restricted to two lane traffic because one side was badly damaged when a truck struck it after failing to heed the low-clearance signs. It needs to be replaced. A ten mile stretch of road and about 10-12 bridges all needing replaced. The debate is that the roadway was so vital that it couldn't be closed down.

It has finally happened and the sky didn't fall down like everyone was saying here. Visions of disasterdancing in everyones head, cars trapped in endless gridlock, the ambulances unable to get to hospitals and the like. IT DIDNT HAPPEN. In fact, its pretty normal. I have to go against the normal flow of traffic so it doesn't affect me very much. I go home when people are going to work so I still get home at the same time. And pretty much get to work at the same time too but I speed down streets which I shouldn't, but I haven't gotten caught yet so I have to change my schedule slightly but only slightly. My weekend will be bad though as the bridges near the Mall I work at are going to be taken down, so I have to adjust my route to compensate. Still, it wasn't the disaster that everyone was saying it was going to be. Everyone listened, adjusted their routes and behaved in an intellegent manner. Now, instead of a project that will last 10 years and clog up the roadway with delays and so forth, we have a complete shutdown, and the project will last just two years. So much for disaster.

Still, my Mall is affected. I am not sure how yet. There have been some negative effects to the mall lately, but I think it is due more to the poor management than the highway being shut down. Our Food Court never recovered from the remodeling job they did a couple of years ago. There are still empty spaces and many restraunts never returned. The restraunts that are there are very expensive and I couldn't afford to eat at many of them. Subway or Panda Express is about the only one I can afford to eat at, if they were open at the hours I work, which they aren't. (People just don't come to the mall at one in the morning unless they are waiting for some silly video game or shoe to come out, something I still have difficulty understanding, but I think I am learning, but I digress).

Then came the dissapointment in my paycheck. I was supposed to receive my holiday pay which included Christmas and New Years. I worked the damn days I shold get the pay. Instead I got the shaft. Sometimes I get the feeling that's why they don't want us armed. In any event, I think its about time to look for other work. Everyone who work the holidays got the shaft too. There is even one guy who worked on a special detail that traveled to Omaha after the shooting incident there that still has not received his expence compensation or overtime for that. This is not conductive to employee morale and everyone is really in a foul mood at work to say the least.

If I am going to go, I think I need to have a good job lined up so I can get out without causing an undue burden to my Mom. She'll support me for a bit, but not too long. So I have to look.

Anyway, that's life for me.

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.

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