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Pedestrians Walking to Loughborough Commons Despite Lack of Internal Sidewalks

IMG_4742.jpgLook, pedestrians from adjacent areas walking from the store! See, not everyone drives a car for every errand they must do.

But look close at the image, the silver Grand Am pulling into Loughborough Commons is in the left turn exit to avoid hitting the pedestrians who are walking in the entrance lane. What would have happened if a car leaving L.C. intended to turn left? Would these cars have hit head on? Would the silver Pontiac swerve and risk hitting the pedestrians? A brand new $40 million project should not have elementary design flaws such as this.

This couple walked westbound along Loughborough.

IMG_4748.jpgMoments later another pedestrian was leaving Schnuck’s. This man got to Loughborough and then walked east to catch the bus.

IMG_4794.jpgWithin a short half hour I also spotted this young woman, a Schnuck’s employee, that arrived by bus. She walked trying to balance herself on the curb until she reached the area where it widens and then she walked in the auto drive.

IMG_4776.jpgIt was unclear to me the other day where they intended to run the sidewalk along Loughborough. However, it became clear this morning — it will run between the curb and large traffic signal control box. The lid for the access panel at grade has already been cut to allow the sidewalk to be poured.

This puts the sidewalk up to the street with no buffer such as street trees. Still, it is better than walking in the street. It is, however, the absolute minimal allowed by law — no extra effort to show consideration for pedestrians.

IMG_4780.jpgAld. Matt Villa emailed me yesterday:

Desco will be adding sidewalks to the shopping center on the east side of the current driveway and at the corner of Loughborough and Grand to access the retail stores. Please be patient and correct your recent posting.

Well, this view shows you the view entering the development. On the left is the old entrance that will likely be removed soon, with the new drive on the right. The ground in the middle has been graded and seeded, no evidence of any intention for a sidewalk. Even so, it is questionable if the slope would meet ADA requirements. Furthermore, once you get to the bottom you’ll need to switch to the other side otherwise you are just dumped into the parking area.

IMG_4781.jpgThe view at left shows you the old entrance and the minimal sidewalk provided. This store was originally built as a National store and became a Schnuck’s in the 1990s when they bought out National.

IMG_4786.jpgThis view is looking westbound along the south side of Loughborough at the existing conditions in front of the old Schnuck’s store.

IMG_4791.jpgI think Ald. Villa may be confused about what is happening (or not happening). The intersection for the main entrance is not yet finished and it is clear they are providing crosswalks. Well, three of the four sides will have crosswalks. No crosswalk will be provided crossing Loughborough on the west side of the intersection.

This view is looking north across Loughborough, this will be the single way to cross the street in the area. Crosswalks at the intersection are important but a different issue than getting you from the intersection to the front door of the store safely.

IMG_4793.jpgDon’t expect to cross here — no pedestrian crossing signals are added as part of the new traffic lights that have already been installed. If you are coming/going to the park and toward the west — say to play some tennis — you’ll need to go the other direction to cross Loughborough because we can’t be bothered with allowing pedestrians to cross just anywhere.

The more I look at all that is going on here the worse it gets. Why do we even have a planning department? Either they were not consulted or they if they were they failed to accomplish anything.

I have many more photos from this morning online at Flickr.

– Steve


Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. This gets to the crux of an argument made in my urban administration class. When the elected leadership takes a position the bureaucracy usually goes along with the decision. This choice might be against the professional opinions of the agents, in this case the planners, yet the principals (elected officials) set the policy and the department carries out the plan. The argument made by my professor was that going against the wishes of the elected officials is in fact undemocratic. Since the official is elected, it is inappropriate for an unelected member of the bureaucracy to question their policies. Whether or not he agreed with this position, I would say no, as professors often use the Socratic method to get us kids thinking. I disagreed because the professional bureaucrat has to make professional decisions based upon their knowledge, and their inaction will have consequences far beyond the elected officials tenure, or even lifespan. I also made the point that collusion between elected officials and developers is quite undemocratic.

    The planners might object, yet when the principals (mayor, aldermen, etc),along with developers, set the status-quo, these planners will not go against their policies. Why? They donÂ’t want to loose their jobs. Elected Officials probably wonÂ’t pressure developers because they see no intrinsic value in urban design, or they do not want to loose development. Then the its not a worthwhile political battle. The key to this problem is education. If the elected officials knew the value of urban design, then the elected officials could work with the planners such standards. Until this occurs, or until the public outcry gets very loud, we can expect business as usual. How do officials become educated? They receive education through the democratic processes of initiatives, elections, recalls, and referendums, because public hearings donÂ’t have any effect.

  2. Darci says:

    I nearly hit a pedestrian tonight, driving into the parking lot for the very first time. You never get a second chance to make a first impression… This person was walking north in the right vehicle lane, along the construction fence, and apparently thought it might be safer to try walking in the grass on the other side of the road; luckily my brakes were working as she tried to make a beeline to safety. I asked for a manager to inquire why there were no sidewalks, and both managers were very agreeable and explained that “we just got the email today”, “yes, they will build sidewalks and more handicapped spaces” once the old store is torn down. That’s going to be a few weeks, and certainly several hundred pedestrian customers navigating the narrow entrance, away… And as you pointed out with your photos, Steve, I’m not sure where the sidewalks will go, with plantings and permanent curbs in place on the other side of the temporary construction fence.

  3. pedestrian says:

    Everyone, in my opinion, should call Mr. Villa tomorrow and let him know that we are not pleased with pedestrian access. I will certainly call! I often walked or biked to the old schnucks but as we can see, it is poorly planned w/no regard for the pedestrian. I’m glad you mentioned your concern towards the manager, darci. Had I known that desco wasn’t going to place sidewalks I would have made calls sooner!

    thanks for the photos, SLP.

    I’m going to the L.C in a few minutes, i just hope they’re open and I won’t have to swerve around pedestrians.

  4. Jason says:

    If you are crossing Loughborough from the park you also need to be careful and do just go straight across. If you do you are right on top of the left turn lane. That is probably what the Grand Am was doing and didnt even realize they were in the wrong lane.

  5. This reminds me a lot of the Shop & Save on Gravois. Every time I go there I gotta wonder what they were thinking. I bet there are at least 200 people a day that walk to that store (it’s right in the middle of a residential neighborhood after all) and not a single sidewalk from the street to the store. What is it about all the new retail developments that they totally ignore pedestrian traffic? Why are they constantly trying to bring the worst of suburban architecture (the strip mall) to the city, which was originally designed to be walkable? It really makes me angry, obviously the answer to the question “what are they thinking?” is they’re not.

  6. old toad says:

    Steve, We visited yesterday and you are correct in that unless you are in an auto, the development not user friendly but then the “friendliest store in town” has not as a rule been warm and fuzzy. Opps! They do have an expectant/new mother parking spot. Funny thing, I have had four tadpoles and and did not know this condition was a disability. We at last found the handicap parking, (yes Mr. Toad has a disability) and oddly enought is is positioned in such a way as to require one upon leaving to back out into the main lane in front of the store! I could not find the parking reserved for “mad old toads and Englishmen” however the noonday sun had already set. We did encounter foot traffic in the drive way coming and going and entering and leaving the car park was a bit exciting as the city is not quite done (one hopes) with the intersection. I am closer to the Grand and Gravois Schnucks, when that opened I suggested to the manager and by mail to the corporate office that a person on foot was at a disadvantage visiting theit store. Those of you who live in the area know that while there are sidewalks, entering the parking lot on foot means walking in the auto drive. Some YEARS later after people walking from the south wore a path through the shrubs, the store did lay a piece of concrete down to walk on. I do not shop there now but that is fodder for another post.
    I did not find the new store “exciting” , yes it is clean but so was Grand and Gravois for a bit. There is a store directory hanging in the center of intersecting isles, who ever positioned it there must have planned the car park, I almost expierenced whiplash. A great deal of space is devoted to non-food items, ho hum. I must say I prefer the Hill store, I drive past Grand and Gravois and I did walk to that one, and do not care for the layout of Hampton Village unit since the old one was torn down.

    Steve I know people think you are too critical and sometimes you do need “to get a life” but then this is your life is it not? The ability for people to move around St. Louis is poor unless you are in an auto OR are are going where Metro wants you to go. The transportation needs of people who most depend upon their feet and public transportation are not considered much less met.

  7. Multimodal says:

    ^You can contact Jenifer Florida on the Gravois Plaza issue. For some reason she is very proud of that development. I am guessing she doesn’t walk there.

  8. Jeff Jackson says:

    The developers are simply not figuring in that people will walk to their destination. They can’t get outside the four wheeled vehicles that are everywhere. Bombarded with commercials in print, radio, TV. Until more people like Steve start speaking up changes won’t take place. I think a call is in order to show the pictures of the peds as proof of the great NEED for pedestrians to be included as part of the facility. I just recently went to the new Brentwood / I-64 station and walked the long walkway to get to the Dierbergs shopping center. Boy was that an experience. There were several signs stating that only Dierbergs customers can park their car or violators can face a stiff fine. Made me think they don’t want metro people around. There is no “official” walkway to get to Dierbergs from Metro that I can tell. You have to face motor traffic and eventually you will find one of Dierbergs sidewalk areas. I find not just Dierbergs guilty of this but that whole facility there are sidewalks but they are by the road and none are made along the enterances. Pedestrians are excluded by design! The almighty auto is supreme and everyone else must pass through at a higher level of danger than should be.

    Thanks Steve for sharing this and maybe you can check out the Dierbergs area near the Brentwood / I-64 Metrolink Stop to see what I am describing above. Very similar to what you have already shown with this Loughborough Commons area.

  9. Jeff Jackson says:

    I would rather these facilities start to put up signs that only people in cars can safely navigate their faclities. Perhaps they will see a decline in people who patronize their stores? Just a thought. The truth needs to be addressed. That these large big box stores and strip malls aren’t addressing the needs of pedestrians. Until they do they need to start making people aware that they aren’t safe to navigate. It is a liablity issue that they need to address.

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