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Bike Parking Comes to Loughborough Commons, Sorta


The sign reads “For Everyone’s Safety, No Skateboarding, No Roller Blading, No Bicycling. Violators Will Be Prosecuted.” And below the no bicycling sign is, a new bike rack. The sign they should have up at the two entrances would warn pedestrians, “We have no provisions in place for those of you on foot so for your own safety just stay out (unless you work here).” But, back to the new bike rack.

This rack is known as a “dish rack” type of rack and frankly it is one of the worst racks on the market. This type has several problems but the main thing is that it is designed to have a wheel (typically front) slide into one of the narrow slots. This makes the bike very unstable in windy conditions but more critically when attempting to secure the bike to the rack you really can’t use a modern U-lock, you must have a long enough chain to be able to lock the bike’s frame to the rack. Otherwise, someone can easily release the front wheel and take the rest.
This is also a two-sided rack, designed to be accessed from one side or the other but here they’ve pushed it up against the wall so only one side is usable. This is probably OK because I doubt they’d have a mad rush of cyclists all at the same time. What is unfortunate is for the same money (or maybe less) they could have purchased a far superior bike rack capable of holding 2-4 bikes with good support, rather than potentially twisting an expensive rim on a windy day.


But the real problem comes in the placement of the rack. It is increasingly obvious they (developer & engineer) had no thought about bike parking beforehand, only trying to fix the situation later after so much attention. But the sidewalk you see here will someday connect to walks eventually getting you out to Loughborough. This is the only pedestrian route planned in and out of the entire project and if the bike rack is used, bikes will be blocking the sole sidewalk.Pedestrian access & bike parking should have been ready on the day the store opened, something that would have been possible had they given it some thought ahead of time. It would have been the friendly thing to do.


Turning back north toward Loughborough we see they’ve begun to dig out the dirt where a planned sidewalk is going to go. My personal guess is they wanted to wait on this sidewalk until the strip mall building that will be on the left gets built. As with bike parking, the recent attention to these issues has likely rearranged their construction schedule a bit.Note the pedestrian walking along the narrow auto drive as they leave the store. I’ve never once had to hang around to get a picture of a pedestrian, someone is almost always walking to or from the store.


Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. Adam says:

    don’t cars injure more people than bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades combined? i think these places are more worried about damage to their property (e.g. skateboarders “grinding” along curbs and such) and potential law suits than the safety of their customers. could this place make it any more clear that they don’t care about the safety of their customers?

  2. Lester Burnham says:

    And isn’t the idea of those type of racks they be accessed from both sides?

  3. newsteve says:

    While I agree with most of what you said – some credit is due. As the old saying goes – “better late than never”. Sure, they could have planned for this better or provided something better now – it is satisfying to some extent that they bowed to the “attention” and did something – if that truly is the reason why that bike rack appeared!

  4. Lester Burnham says:

    ^Not when such shortcomings were pointed out to the developer, engineer, and alderman BEFORE the drawings were even complete. Absolutely NO credit is due.

  5. newsteve says:

    Honestly, while I find it hard to believe that this lonely bike rack showed up due to the attention this project has gotten, it got there! Seriously – if they created a dedicated bike path with a portion of the parking lot for bikes only and put in state of the art bike racks – I am sure that there are those out there who would find something to complain about!

    [UrbanReviewSTL — The point was to show that even when trying to rectify things they show their incompetence.   This rack does not function well and it likely cost them as much or more than a rack that would function much better and not block pedestrians on the sidewalk.  Sorry, but I am not one of those that says they deserve credit for an after the fact poor decision.   We should stop making excuses for mediocrity in society.]

  6. john says:

    “We should stop making excuses for mediocrity” hits the nail right on the head. The StL area is #1 for finding excuses, its never our fault. Whether its for such simple matters as a bike rack or planning to reconstruct a highway, we continue to accept second class results.

    We spend over $600 million for light rail (also poorly designed) and a small winter storm puts it out of service. We have been warned many times (even as recently as this summer when a storm crippled more than half of AmUE customers) about our shortcomings but do not have the leadership or will to address the obvious problems.

    When presented with statistics about our crime problems we argue with the messenger and attempt to redefine the base. The most important highway in our area is the one that delivers electricity, phone service and the Net to our homes and businesses…. but we ignore it.

    At least we have a baseball team that makes us feel important and full of pride… Go Cards!

  7. Jim Zavist says:

    It’s pretty obvious that your last picture shows a temporary access road. Could/should it include dedicated pedestrian and bike access? Sure, but obviously some power-that-be didn’t require it, the owner didn’t want to spend money on it, and the contractor sure isn’t going to spend money on it unless he or she is forced to. Bottom line, it would’ve been great to have a grand opening for a totally-complete shopping center, but the (logical) decision was made to complete the work in phases. And, until the work is actually complete, pointing out incomplete items is just a waste of time and space, especially if the final plans show what you’re looking for!

    I do agree with you that the city is less than rigorous or progressive when it comes to requiring good urban design and good urban amenities. As others have pointed out, this likely stems from both an inferiority complex and a passion to get projects, any projects, done and generating (eventually, after the TIF ends) more taxes to pay for city services, even if it means “cutting corners”. And the time to require urban design elements is when the plans are still on paper. Both the will and the available funds fade as the project nears completion, so, realistically, the best solution is to incorporate these types of requirements into the city’s planning, zoning and traffic engineering standards, as many other cities alreday do . . .

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Jim you almost had a good argument but I must point out a few flaws.  The road you see is the main drive — not a “temporary access drive.”  That is it, not something until the final drive is built. The future building adjacent to the Schnuck’s is just that — sometime in the future.  All they’ve applied for so far is the Schnuck’s (finished), Lowe’s (finished) and the strip building on higher ground near Loughborough (stakes in the ground).  So while it is convenient to say “we are not finished yet” it is fair to ask when might that be?  A year? Two years?  Which brings me to that pesky ADA requirement for an accessible route.  It doesn’t really say anything about phasing or whenever you get around to it.  And frankly, I feel them installing the sidewalk prior to the adjacent building would not be happening if not for the issue of pedestrian access being continually raised.  Therefore, I don’t believe this to be a waste of time.]

  8. Jim Zavist says:

    You obviously know more than I do – it just looks like phase II will be starting soon. If not, I fully agree that full access needs to be provided if “temporary” is actually measured in years, and not just a few weeks or months.

  9. re: the first image…. What an incredibly miserly sidewalk. Is there even room to roll a shopping cart along that thing?

  10. Laura says:

    I don’t understand why everyone is complaining about the whole loughbrough situation. I agree that it isn’t very convenient right now, nothing is that is incomplete. Before everyone starts freaking out they should really wait to see the finished result. A good project takes time otherwise you will end up with crappy results. Meanwhile everyone should be patient. When everything is finished and there still isnt an appropriate, accessible walkway, then i would be worried.

    [SLP — Let me see if I can help you understand.  They had zero sidewalks shown on drawings before project started and I mentioned sidewalks at a public meeting.  What they have shown on official drawings submitted to the city (yes, I’ve seen them) do not meet ADA standards.  The Schnuck’s and Lowe’s have been operational for nearly a year now and you cannot access either by an ADA compliant access route.  Again, the drawings submitted show nothing about getting an access route to the Lowe’s.  The token sidewalk along the main drive does not meet ADA (yes, I’ve taken digital readings with my level to measure the slope and cross slope).  But you think we should wait?  What exactly are we waiting for?  Part of the idea of complaining early is that hopefully deficiencies can be corrected before the project is 100% finished.  If I remained quiet and only complained once they’ve finished every out parcel then people will be like, “Why didn’t you speak up earlier, its too late now, its all finished.”]

  11. Laura says:

    Righhhht ….. so we should be pessimistic …

    [SLP — We should not be foolish enough to think that if we wait 2-3 years that magically all will be right.  That suddenly where no bike racks existed there will be the right types in the right places (try to go to Lowe’s via bike), or that sidewalks will suddenly appear in areas long finished (entrance from Grand).  It is completely naive, based on real life experience, to just sit back and put our full faith in the city and developer to do the right thing.]


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