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Schnuck’s Opens in Loughborough Commons, Pedestrians Unwelcomed.

IMG_4701.jpgYesterday I brought you an image from the new Loughborough entrance to Loughborough Commons. I showed how no provisions were being made to allow people to walk from the public sidewalk along the street to the front door of the new Schnucks, the Lowe’s and other smaller retail buildings yet to be constructed.

Apparently Ald. Villa is taking exception to my statements and has indicated, to others, pedestrian access will be provided. He also suggested people should question where they get their information, implying I’m misleading the facts. Of course, my photos do a good job of documenting the reality of what is built and you are also free to attempt to walk to the Schnuck’s yourself. In fact, I may just organize such an event — walking to the neighborhood grocery store.

But, I want to share a few more images that I took today during the grand opening. First, the image at right is the bottom of the hill as you enter from Loughborough. As you can see, the grass is planted and no curb cuts are in place. If they come back and remove grass and add curb cuts for sidewalks it will only be as an afterthought.

To Matt Villa and/or the Schnuck’s family:
Show me the drawings indicating your plans for pedestrian access. I will gladly publish them here for all to see.

The right hand drive coming into Loughborough Commons is for trucks to access the docks for the Schnuck’s store. Among the pictures on Flickr you can see this area.

IMG_4717.jpgTo anyone that might be thinking they are going to place a pedestrian sidewalk on the other side of the main drive, think again. Along the front of the store and toward Loughborough they have the planted ends to the parking lot — no sidewalk here.

But, be really thankful for this little bit of landscaping because the parking lot is mostly asphalt. Don’t look for all the trees provided in recent developments such as the Target store at Chippewa and Hampton.

IMG_4715.jpgI think they actually did a commendable job breaking up the front facade of the building so it has a pleasant scale. The materials and detailing is very well done.

This is the problem we have, the store itself — inside and out — is really well executed. My issue is the site planning and lack of connections that one expects (or should expect) in all but the most suburban of areas.

The two entrances/exits from the store have marked crossing areas which lead not to any sort of sidewalk between the cars but in the middle of a drive — not exactly a safe thing to encourage.

Due to rain they ended up moving the ribbon inside for the cutting ceremony. Father Biondi considered it a sign yesterday that it did not rain during the ground breaking of SLU’s new arena. Perhaps today’s rain was a sign as well…

IMG_4719.jpgFolks leaving the drive-thru pharmacy are warned of a pedestrian crossing between the Schnuck’s and Lowe’s but evidence of such a crossing, other than this sign, is hard to find.

IMG_4720.jpgExtra shopping carts are blocking sidewalk where one might presumably walk to head from Schnuck’s to Lowe’s. It is quite possible these carts are here just as a temporary measure since the store just opened today. The cart area inside, however, was already full so this is a wait and see. But, lets assume for a moment these carts will be moved now that the store is open.

IMG_4721.jpgSo even if the shopping carts are moved the pedestrian must either walk through the grass or planter, or walk in the drive-thru land and out to the main drive for the entire development. Yep, Schnuck’s is real friendly…

IMG_4705.jpgBut Schnuck’s really doesn’t care about pedestrians or cyclists. Nope, they seem to really understand cars — motorized transportation.

IMG_4703.jpgAnd boy howdy, is there every plenty of parking! And look, no pesky trees taking up valuable spaces!

In addition to a complete inability to walk from home to store or even from store to store without putting oneself in the direct line of cars coming and going, the Schnuck’s fails to provide a single bike rack. Not one!

I’m sorry folks but while it is new and shiny it is a miserable failure from an urban perspective. The fact our “leaders” Ald. Matt Villa and Mayor Francis Slay didn’t require anything beyond what Desco would build in a far-flung suburb is cause for alarm at our development process.

This morning Mayor Slay said it was a great day for St. Louis. I could not disagree more, this is a sad day for St. Louis that so much earth was moved, millions of dollars were spent and we can’t provide a sidewalk for a neighbor to walk to the store.

– Steve


Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jon says:

    Steve, As a planner who spends some time reviewing submitted site plans, I ask you who’s responsiblity was it to review these plans to make sure the city got the best development it could. Seems like someone in the city was pretty lazy. Landscaping and sidewalks are two of the most common comments I make on plans, clearly my city counter part didn’t…

    [REPLY Jon that is the really sad part, the plan reviewer likely did their job just fine as the city really doens’t have any pedestrian access requirements. We can raze and redevelop the city to be completely anti-pedestrian and as long as it costs millions and the politicos can attend ribbon cuttings they’ll be fine with that. – SLP]

  2. tom says:

    I was with the director of public works of Clayton yesterday. Paul Wojciechowski said Clayton would be working on improving pedestrian access. Clayton also has adopted TOD ordinances. This kind of thing should be going on in the city.

  3. Brian says:

    The only bus access to the site is one new bus route, the #08 Bates, passing by on Loughborough, turning to/from Carondelet Park at Grand. Seeing as there are no sidewalks between Loughborough and the stores, I guess transit patrons aren’t welcome either.

  4. Jim Zavist says:

    The new bus route may be your “silver bullet” – the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates site acces for pedestrians from public transportation routes:

    206.2.1 Site Arrival Points. At least one accessible route shall be provided within the site from accessible parking spaces and accessible passenger loading zones; public streets and sidewalks; and public transportation stops to the accessible building or facility entrance they serve.

    EXCEPTIONS: 1. Where exceptions for alterations to qualified historic buildings or facilities are permitted by 202.5, no more than one accessible route from a site arrival point to an accessible entrance shall be required.

    2. An accessible route shall not be required between site arrival points and the building or facility entrance if the only means of access between them is a vehicular way not providing pedestrian access.

    Advisory 206.2.1 Site Arrival Points. Each site arrival point must be connected by an accessible route to the accessible building entrance or entrances served. Where two or more similar site arrival points, such as bus stops, serve the same accessible entrance or entrances, both bus stops must be on accessible routes. In addition, the accessible routes must serve all of the accessible entrances on the site.

    Advisory 206.2.1 Site Arrival Points Exception 2. Access from site arrival points may include vehicular ways. Where a vehicular way, or a portion of a vehicular way, is provided for pedestrian travel, such as within a shopping center or shopping mall parking lot, this exception does not apply.

    206.2.2 Within a Site. At least one accessible route shall connect accessible buildings, accessible facilities, accessible elements, and accessible spaces that are on the same site.

    EXCEPTION: An accessible route shall not be required between accessible buildings, accessible facilities, accessible elements, and accessible spaces if the only means of access between them is a vehicular way not providing pedestrian access.

    Advisory 206.2.2 Within a Site. An accessible route is required to connect to the boundary of each area of sport activity. Examples of areas of sport activity include: soccer fields, basketball courts, baseball fields, running tracks, skating rinks, and the area surrounding a piece of gymnastic equipment. While the size of an area of sport activity may vary from sport to sport, each includes only the space needed to play. Where multiple sports fields or courts are provided, an accessible route is required to each field or area of sport activity.

    Perhaps a complaint needs to be filed with the Dept. of Justice. KMart recently found out the hard way – “Kmart has agreed to settle out of court, paying $13 million in damages to shoppers, $3.25 million in legal fees, and a projected $60 million to retrofit 1,400 Kmart stores across the country”. (http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/ide/access/002116.html)

  5. The presence of a TIF allows for much greater scrutiny of the project by the local alderman – in order for a TIF to be passed, the Alderman has to be behind the project 100% because he or she must sponsor the enabling legislation. A properly educated and urban-minded Alderman could have easily demanded a much better design as part of the TIF process.

    Deborah Dee from the Office on the Disabled would have been present at the “One Stop Shop” meetings during design and development of the project. However, she doesn’t have any power to enforce accessibility beyond what is specifically written in the code and/or required by other state and federal legislation. Jim’s point about the accessibility from bus lines is an interesting twist – I would be interested to see some more research into that legal quagmire.

    In the grand scheme of things, the cost of adding sidewalks to the plan form the start would have been negligable. It will be much more expensive to retrofit for pedestrian access. Sad, sad, sad.

  6. Walker says:

    This is an interesting article from CNN today that I feel presents some evidence for why we need walkable communities.


  7. Hopefully more of these developments will be proposed. They really have some positive benefits! Steve, this will attract shoppers from the County! THEY MIGHT MOVE HERE!!!

    We must keep destroying the City. Demolish the Wainwright building for a parking garage. Redesign the Bird Cage at the Zoo for an updated look. Make Government Hill more pedestrian friendly. Sell Forest Park to BJC. Take homes through eminent domain and build new shopping centers. Build vinyl homes in North St. Louis while destroying the old. Demolish Kiel Opera House for parking. Spend 500 million on Highway 40.

    Oh what has been done and what could be done! Lets make St. Louis a great City!

  8. Brent says:

    That didn’t stop people. I noticed a number of people walking in the street and through the dirt to get there. That was a better alternative than negotiating the opening-day, after-work traffic we got stuck in trying to get there. Basic access leaves a lot to be desired, but hey, cool new store.

  9. practice makes perfect says:

    Given the projected sales activity at these stores, will the entrance at Loughborough be able to handle the increased traffic volume?

    LC has got to be the largest commercial development in the St. Louis area with only one main entrance and exit.

    [REPLY I wondered this myself but I think they’ve done about as much as I’d like to see. Incoming traffic will come from three places: eastbound and westbound Loughborough and from Carondelet Park after people cut through it. The last thing I’d want to see is say a double turn lane from westbound Loughborough into the project.

    As it is they have three outgoing lanes — one to each possible location. How well all this works for cars and pedestrians will depend on the timing of the signals. I will look at that once they’ve finished all the signal work and the Lowe’s is open. – SLP]

  10. B.J. says:

    It is my understanding that state highway money has been allotted to widen the Loughborough bridge over the railroad tracks to accommodate the increased traffic. This was supposedly part of the highway allotment that includes the rebuilding of the Weber Road interchange to accommodate the new Lemay Wal-Mart and other rumored big box retailers.

  11. jason says:


    saw you out there again today. I look forward to the additional pictures. I actually saw your scooter before I saw you. Too bad they dont have scooter parking. I went by the morning of the grand opening then again this morning (wednesday). Let me tell you I am really not impressed so far. Tuesday AM they had a huge sign out at 7am saying they were open so I did a u-turn on the bridge to be the first one in the new store. Needless to say I was dissappointed when I found out they really didnt open until 9am!! They could have waited to put the sign out there! SOOO I went by again this morning. From a functionality standpoint things look like they are laid out pretty well, but its by no means as large as the one at Hampton/Chippewa. I would say its even smaller than the one at Hampton and Gravois. Bathroom was disgusting however- new but not clean by any means. And when I went to check out she opened the drawer to give me change only there was no money in there. It took me 10 minutes, going over to customer service so I could finish my transaction for 2 donuts. I realize there are going to be kinks but it seems that I am hitting them all so far. The one positive thing I do have to say is that they have the frozen food in the right place finally!! Its at the end of the line where it should be, right before you check out.

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