Many Disabled Couldn’t Enter Hotel Building Containing Disabled Rooms

I considered using today’s topic for a Sunday Poll but decided it was too technical to get a good response. My original plan was to ask for the ideal clear width next to the pull side of a door. Here’s the text description of the above diagram: Plan view drawing …

Three-Day Weekend: Fuel Taxes and Tolls

We did a 3-day weekend trip to Oklahoma City last weekend so my husband could meet more of my family — including two in from Northern California. For cost reasons we decided to drive rather than fly. We kept detailed records on costs — fuel and tolls. We drove I-44 …

20th Ward Candidate Debate Thursday March 26th

One thing is certain, no matter which of the three candidates in the 20th Ward General Election wins the race on April 7th: the 20th Ward will have new representation at the Board of Aldermen.   Ald. Craig Schmid, first elected in 1995, had his ward # changed on him …

Two Community Plans Intersect at Former Ferguson QuikTrip Site

Before Michael Brown was shot & killed last August, community planning had been completed to improve parts of Ferguson & neighboring municipalities. In 2011 Great Rivers Greenway District completed the Maline Greenway Concept Plan, in June 2014 East-West Gateway Council of Governments completed the West Florissant Avenue Great Streets Master …

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Many Disabled Couldn’t Enter Hotel Building Containing Disabled Rooms

I considered using today’s topic for a Sunday Poll but decided it was too technical to get a good response. My original plan was to ask for the ideal clear width next to the pull side of a door.

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ADA diagram

Here’s the text description of the above diagram:

Plan view drawing showing the clear floor space adjacent to a hinged door. Door swings out into the clear floor space. An arrow indicates a forward approach to the door on the pull side.

Clear floor space is shown with a dotted line. The clear floor space extends 60 inches minimum from the door (closed position). The clear floor space width is the door width plus 18 inches minimum (24 preferred). A minimum of 18 inches clear space (24 inches preferred) is provided adjacent to the edge of the door (latch side) on the pull side.

My thought is many, likely the architects, would’ve selected 18″ instead of options like 0″, 6″ 12″, or 24″. This is because the bare minimum number (18″) has become so well known, the preferred/ideal of 24″ gets lost. The 18″ minimum is just that — a minimum — not ideal. Less than 18″ and many wheelchair users are unable to open the door. With the m,minimum of 18″ I find myself having to rub against the baseboard/wall to get into position to open the door.

Why bring this up? The architect/designer of the hotel we stayed at in Oklahoma City was confused. The Days Inn at 122nd & I-35 is an older hotel that later added another 2-story building in what was originally an oversized parking lot.

Both entrances to the newer building containing their rooms for the disabled had zero to the side of the pull side of the door.
Both entrances to the newer building containing their rooms for the disabled had zero to the side of the pull side of the door. Really?

Our room also wasn’t as ADA-compliant as you might expect for a disabled room: the bathroom door handle was a knob rather than a lever. The shower wasn’t roll-in as listed — it was a standard shower base. I was able to use it ok but others I know wouldn’t be able to shower.  I’ve submitted a complaint to Days Inn about the design.

— Steve Patterson

Three-Day Weekend: Fuel Taxes and Tolls

We did a 3-day weekend trip to Oklahoma City last weekend so my husband could meet more of my family — including two in from Northern California. For cost reasons we decided to drive rather than fly. We kept detailed records on costs — fuel and tolls. We drove I-44 the entire way — in Oklahoma it is a toll road.  I think the results will make for an interesting conversation about fuel taxes and tolls.

Those of us not using a prepaid PIKEPASS had to stop at toll plazas to pay in cash. Those using PIKEPASS save time and 5%. 
Those of us not using a prepaid PIKEPASS had to stop at toll plazas to pay in cash. Those using PIKEPASS save time and 5%. Those with a PIKEPASS can also use it in Northern Texas (Dallas-Ft. Worth) and Kansas.

Our roundtrip was 1,129 miles (585 were in Missouri, 544 in Oklahoma) — 51.8% vs 48.2%. We used 31.861 gallons of gasoline — 69.54% of which was purchased in Missouri.  Our 2007 Honda Civic, with over 100k miles, averaged over 35mpg on mostly highway miles, the government rating on our vehicle is 36mpg highway. We stayed a traveled a few MPH over the posted speed limit of 70 un Missouri and 75 in Oklahoma.

Our total cost for fuel & tolls was $21.48, but even though only 48.2% of our miles were in Oklahoma that state received 82.17% of our money, Missouri the remaining 17.83%.   In total state fuel taxes & fees we paid $3.83 to Missouri, $1.65 to Oklahoma. We paid Oklahoma a total of $16 in tolls  — $4 per toll plaza stop. Missouri collects 17.3¢/gal in fuel taxes & fees, Oklahoma a little less at 17¢/gal.  Oklahoma has ten toll highways thoughout the state!

If Missouri is unwilling to increase our fuel taxes to fund our infrastructure needs then we should consider tolls. This has allowed Oklahoma to fund roads & bridges while keeping fuel taxes among the lowest in the country. Oklahoma gets visitors passing through their state to pay for the privilege. Of course, if you ask Oklahomans about tolls they’ll say they don’t like them.

Critics of fuel taxes say increasing efficiency of vehicles causes shortfalls in state revenues, electric vehicles like a Tesla don’t pay any fuel taxes. Tolls are the great equalizer though — a Tesla would’ve paid $16 in tolls just like we did.

— Steve Patterson

Half Of Readers: Ferguson’s Mayor Should Not Resign

Only one person selected “maybe” in the Sunday Poll — that person was me. I think Knowles‘ time to resign was 5-6 months ago — to fall on his sword — to clear out the old guard leadership so real change can begin. Now I hope the recall effort is successful.

Here are the poll results:

Q: Should Ferguson Mayor James Knowles resign?

  1. No 21 [50%]
  2. Yes 14 [33.33%]
  3. Unsure/No Opinion 6 [14.29%]
  4. Maybe 1 [2.38%]

Last Fall Knowles didn’t think problems existed in the Ferguson Police Department — his employer for 4 years, but the DOJ has shown otherwise. For Ferguson’s new political activists I think it’ll be much more rewarding if he’s recalled by voters than if he were to resign as others have. Conversely, if he survives the recall it’ll be a blow to those trying to bring change.

Ferguson has a Council-Manager form of government, the mayor’s annual salary is only $4,200.

— Steve Patterson

20th Ward Candidate Debate Thursday March 26th

St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

One thing is certain, no matter which of the three candidates in the 20th Ward General Election wins the race on April 7th: the 20th Ward will have new representation at the Board of Aldermen.   Ald. Craig Schmid, first elected in 1995, had his ward # changed on him once, and frequently faced primary & general challengers. He always came out on top — until the recent primary.  Thank you Craig for your service & loyalty, but I’m glad you lost the election. It has been time to move on but you kept running anyway.

Voters in the 20th Ward should plan to attend Thursday night’s debate among to hear the three candidates, via Facebook:

Please join your South City neighbors for a 20th Ward Aldermanic Debate. A non-partisan question and answer forum will be moderated by The League of Women Voters. Attendees may ask questions submitted in writing the day of the forum.

All candidates have been invited to participate:
Cara Spencer (Dem)
Stephen Jehle (Ind)
Vicky Ingram (Grn)

The debate begins promptly at 6:45 and will end by 8:15, please feel free to arrive early at 6 for Cherokee Neighborhoods Happy Hour and to be seated. Guests are also welcome to stay for after hours.

This event is hosted by The Chippewa Broadway Business District in partnership with The South City Business Collaborative (Dt2, Carondelet, CSBA, CBBA)

Please share this event with your friends and neighbors, and don’t forget to VOTE on April 7th.

Thursday’s debate will be held at 2720 Cherokee.

— Steve Patterson

 

Two Community Plans Intersect at Former Ferguson QuikTrip Site

Before Michael Brown was shot & killed last August, community planning had been completed to improve parts of Ferguson & neighboring municipalities. In 2011 Great Rivers Greenway District completed the Maline Greenway Concept Plan, in June 2014 East-West Gateway Council of Governments completed the West Florissant Avenue Great Streets Master Plan — both included extensive community participation along their linear boundaries.

The boundaries of each plan, coincidentally, intersect at the burnt out QuikTrip (9420 W. Florissant Ave). The 1.14 acre site, on W. Florissant Ave, is bordered by Maline Creek on the South. Next week I’ll post about the Urban League’s intentions for this site and how they ignored two published plans with extensive community involvement. Today more detail on both plans.

West Florissant Avenue Great Streets Master Plan:

The Vision for West Florissant Avenue comes from community and stakeholder input received through multi-faceted outreach efforts. These have included public workshops and virtual walking tours, interviews with community leaders, input from the Community Committee and Technical Advisory Committee, an Agency workshop, and an online survey and mapping tool. The Vision Statement has distilled this community and stakeholder input, with the most significant community values expressed as how the corridor should look, feel, and contribute to the community’s future. 

Maline Greenway Concept Plan:

The Maline Greenway Concept plan presents the findings of a yearlong planning process that involved inventory, analysis and recommendations. Input from residents within communities along
the greenway helped shape the plan. The report includes background information on the District, summary of existing conditions, review of public input, description of the Maline Greenway concept, implementation overview and a summary of recommendations that include not only the trail alignment opportunities but also recommendations that address the social, economic and environmental quality of life for the communities. The Concept Plan helps to guide partnership opportunities, provides an analysis of the corridor, identifies community connections and alignment opportunities.

The West side of W. Florissant is very similar to the East. lots and lots of paving
The West side of W. Florissant is very similar to the East. lots and lots of paving. August 2014

From the Existing Conditions chapter of the West Florissant Ave plan, p20:

Ferguson’s zoning was updated as recently as 2011 and includes a downtown form-based code. Ferguson’s guiding comprehensive plan document is the Vision 2015 Plan Update that dates to 1998.

Page 24:

Although sidewalks are provided on both sides of West Florissant Avenue along most of the corridor, the pedestrian realm is generally uninviting and often unsafe. Buildings are spaced too far apart to walk, sidewalks are interrupted by frequent driveways and parking entries, and there are few pedestrian amenities or street trees.

Page 25 talks about transit and possible Bus Rapid Transit (BRT):

West Florissant also carries transit, specifically MetroBus Route 74 (Florissant line), and though the headways are long (30 minutes), Route 74 is one of Metro’s heaviest-used lines, with over 1.1 million boardings in 2013. West Florissant is crossed by MetroBus Route 61 (also in Metro’s top ten heaviest-used routes, with 800,000 boardings) at Chambers Road. The heavy transit use along the corridor results in a correspondingly heavy pedestrian demand. There is a clear opportunity to encourage transit- and pedestrian-oriented development at this intersection of West Florissant and Chambers Road.

While the current roadway configuration works relatively well for those traveling by automobile, and offers a transit option, other modes and users are largely shortchanged. West Florissant Avenue’s auto-dominated character and design, width, and traffic speeds, as well as the lack of any bicycle facilities, make it hostile to and unsafe for cyclists. Conditions for pedestrians are somewhat better, with the presence of sidewalks, but the pedestrian experience in many places along the corridor is unpleasant and unsafe.

With new high-quality transit service given priority along the corridor, and with rush-hour headways of 10 minutes, the opportunity exists to remake West Florissant Avenue into
a transit-first street, with transit-oriented, pedestrian-scale development clustered around some key stations along the corridor. The corridor has a relatively wide right-of-way, which will make allocating space efficiently to serve the multi-modal needs of all its users easier than if the street were narrower.

Chapter 5 Concept Plan, page 86:

New infill development should be guided by new zoning and guidelines that require buildings and entrances to be built up to the sidewalk, forming a consistent street wall. Until redevelopment occurs, individual property owners should be encouraged to beautify the edges of existing parking lots that front the avenue, so that the pedestrian experience is improved.

The study area of West Florissant Ave is long, but you have to start somewhere. From the Executive Summary:

Project construction should start at the south end, where there is high potential for redevelopment projects such as new housing, retail and mixed use projects. Thus investing public funds in this zone first follows a strategy that looks to catalyze private investment as soon as possible. Maline Creek is also planned to be reconstructed, so developers will be attracted to the critical mass of activity which will result in an appealing place for housing to be developed. Putting the South Gateway into construction in the first phase will also help create a rationale for the street design and use of medians and access management, simply because these street treatments are already in place immediately to the south, at Buzz-Westfall Plaza.

Maline Creek was identified as the point where the commercial development stops and residential begins, the former QuikTrip is on the residential side of Maline Creek.

Looking East at Maline Creek from West Florissant, the QT site on the left.
Looking East at Maline Creek from West Florissant, the QT site on the left. August 2014

From the Maline Creek Greenway Concept Plan Executive Summary:

Numerous park and open space areas exist along the proposed Maline Creek corridor which could potentially function as trailheads and Greenway amenities. Creating attractive linkages between parks and open spaces will promote public use and create the opportunity for the greenway to become a regional attraction. (p1.5)

After the trail leaves Ferguson’s Forestwood Park

Continuing east, the trail is planned to be located in open space at the north side of Maline Creek to West Florissant Avenue. From West Florissant Avenue the trail is planned to proceed south across the creek and then go east on the south side of the creek for approximately 2000 feet. A pedestrian bridge is planned in this area to cross the Maline Creek to reach the north side open space and continue east to Lucas and Hunt Road near Westview Middle School (p1.9)

The QuikTrip site could, perhaps, allow the trail to stay on the North side of Maline Creek.

In the interest of transparency and community involvement I think the community should share in setting the vision for the use of 9420 W. Florissant Ave. More next week.

— Steve Patterson

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