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Streets and Accessibility in St. Louis

November 17, 2006 Events/Meetings, Planning & Design, Transportation 6 Comments

A couple of things:

First, MayorSlay.com has announced the retirement of Director of Streets Jim Suelmann effective the end of this month after 28 years. So, I must now direct my emails on valet parking issues to the Acting Director, Todd Waelterman.

Southtown Centre - 32.jpgThe Mayor and the St. Louis Board of Public Service are hosting a seminar on “New Accessibility Guidelines for Public Rights-Of-Way;”

Compliance is no longer a guessing game. There is a right way, a wrong way and a best way. Architects, engineers, other designers, developers, builders, contractors, and city inspectors and officials now have a chance to make our community a model. This seminar will provide an opportunity to learn about the new guidelines — from experts in the accessibility field who helped develop the guidelines, and by experiencing what happens when accessibility is not addressed.

Co-Sponsors are The Pyramid Companies and The Starkloff Disability Institute. The seminar will be held December 14-15, 2006 from 8:30am to 5pm at the Hilton at the Ballpark. The registration fee is $100. The registration deadline is December 6, 2006. For more information call 314-588-7090.

Expert panelists include Janet Barlow of Accessible Design for the Blind, Asheville, NC; Bill Hecker, AIA, of Hecker Design, Birmingham, AL and St. Louis Architect Gina Hilberry, AIA of Cohen Hilberry Architects. Hilberry is also an adjunct professor at the Washington University School of Architecture.

At right is an intersection that would have had the involvement of St. Louis’ Board of Public Service — note how those at the intersection of the crosswalks are in the line of fire of right turning autos. Similar situations are being created all over the city, including the new intersection outside Loughborough Commons. Hopefully BPS can learn a thing or two from their own event.


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. awb says:

    I hate to see no discussion on this topic because accessible rights of way are so crucial to a healthy urban environment, but I’m unable to form a coherent thought.

    The City hosts this thing, after they approve the dangerous mess pictured above. Is this theory of design new to them? What woke them up?

  2. GMichaud says:

    One thing is clear: the city and the state government like to pretend they are concerned about the welfare of the people. As the photograph shows that is not the case. It seems conferences and public hearings are for show, so they can continue to do as they please.
    The management of St. Louis continues to be seriously lacking in ability and results.
    I wish Starkloff Disability Institute would call them on it. The problem is too many people go along with these poorly designed projects.
    The failure to include needs of the pedestrian and by natural extension accessibility concerns should be obvious to all. Those failures have been well documented on this site. Every public official should review them.
    People can barely walk to and around most of these projects; the problem becomes much worse if the person has a disability. If there is no concern about mobility in the city, who is the city being designed for? who is the city built for?, the rich in limos?
    What did the Indians say? “The white man speaks with forked tongue”. I guess it still holds true today. Conferences, public hearings, what is needed is results, good design is not rocket science. It will be interesting to see if there is a transformation in accessible design after the conference. The Board of Public Service must be held accountable.

  3. Jim Zavist says:

    I don’t quite get your statement that “note how those at the intersection of the crosswalks are in the line of fire of right turning autos.” Anytime you’re a pedestrian and dealing with people turning right, you’re more at risk. You’re also at risk with people making left turns in without a dedicated left-turn arrow. Can things be improved sure? Will they ever be “safe”? I doubt it . . .

    [UR — Typically if you are a pedestrian and you cross a street and you are waiting to cross the perpendicular street the placement of the crosswalks, where they intersect, has you safely on the sidewalk and out of harms way. But St. Louis’ Board of Public Service, headed by Marjorie Melton, is designing and approving unsafe intersections like these where if you wait in the intersection of the crossings you are in the path of cars.]

  4. Jim Zavist says:

    OK, I get it, you don’t like having to step back to the curb when crossing two streets. My guess is that this simply reflects a limited right-of-way / sidewalks at the curb combined with larger corner radii to accomodate larger, contemporary semi trucks and a desire to keep the crosswalks in the same line of travel as the sidewalks on either side.

    Could the crosswalks be shifted back ±20′ away from the intersection to do what you want to do? Sure, but you’re working against human nature, where the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Moving the crosswalks back will probably just mean more people crossing outside the marked area, increasing the hazard to pedestrians, not reducing it . . .

    [UR — This image symbolizes for me the failure of our city to recognize the pedestrian and what it takes to make an environment that works for both motorists and pedestrians. This intersection is so fundamentally flawed.

  5. Joe Frank says:

    I’m no traffic engineer by any means, but I think the technicality both in the picture above on Chippewa and at Loughborough Commons is those are not actual street intersections. Instead, they are really gigantic curb cuts for retail centers.

    Does BPS review every single curb cut? I don’t know, maybe they’re supposed to. Also Chippewa is a state highway (MO 366). Does that change the restrictions any? Because it’s a state highway with high traffic volume, can they get away with more things in the name of facilitating traffic flow?

    I do think it’s ironic, though, that Dick Gephardt earmarked Federal money for making this stretch more pedestrian-friendly. Hmm.

    Perhaps the attention to these details should have come from SLDC, who presumably approved tax abatement and/or TIF for this site.

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