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Access Changes at Loughborough Commons

This is a quick update post from my favorite auto-centric sprawl shopping center in the city, Loughborough Commons. As regular readers know, I’ve been making a big deal about the poor pedestrian access to the center. This update shows you some good and some not so good things at this time.


Above was the view looking north from the front of the Schnuck’s store on November 28, 2006. I thought they were going to provide some sort of access at that time but they did not. Note the customer walking against traffic in the main auto drive.

So I was very glad to see that in the last few days a temporary pedestrian walkway has been created between the main auto entrance and where another building is being construted (I believe for an office supply chain store). Though likely not ADA compliant this is a very nice but long overdue gesture on the part of developer DESCO.

In the back ground near the white van they’ve also started to excavate for more of the sidewalk on the east side of the main auto drive. Eventually these walkways should connect although the stop sign at this internal intersection has been removed for months now. We’ll see how the crossing gets marked and signed. Again, I am very glad to see they are taking steps to provide this access.

Shifting now out to the public street, the sidewalk situation along Loughborough has had ups and downs turing this project.


Above is a view from August 30th, 2006 looking westbound from the bus stop. You can see the sidewalk, the old auto entrance, now blocked, and the new auto entrance. In the background is the big pile-o-dirt where the recessed new strip center is being constructed today. Not exactly great but at least passable for most.


Sadly, for roughly nine months the public sidewalk along Loughborough (just east of the new auto entry) has been left in this condition (above). Missing curb, stagnant water, broken concrete, piece of plywood, etc. The benches for those using the bus were removed last year as well.


Close up view of the conditions, above. Note the changing water marks on the warning barriers. The lights have long stopped flashing.

Pedestrians heading to & from Loughborough Commons have managed to avoid the above mess by taking a short cut which you can see clearly in the grass. This, of course, does not help those using mobility aids such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

I recently pointed out these conditions to officials via email. Today crews are working to finish the curb and sidewalk in this area. But just as I think I am making progress something else happens. Ald. Matt Villa, of late, has been receptive to discussions about access and has been very responsive to my requests to push for completion of some of these area. DESCO may have had these things on their schedule for now anyway so it is hard to say if my complaining was effective, I like to think it helped grease the wheel.

The above is along Loughborough east of the main entrance, let’s now switch to west of the main entrance.


Above was the scene on August 30th, 2006. The old store had just closed and the new store opened but pedestrians coming from the west were forced into the street. Yes, I know a construction zone not finished – just hold on before you scroll down and yell at me in the comments!


A month later, on September 30, 2006 a new sidewalk was poured and the big pile of dirt was removed (to where the old store was located, now razed).
Skipping ahead to April 24, 2007 and switching directions in the same area:


Above we can see the sidewalk from September 2006 is still in place and being used — we have a mom and her child heading to the store and another customer just leaving.


However, by June 3, 2007 much of the sidewalk from September 2006 and the remaining old sidewalk had been removed, including the corner ramp at Grand. Here you can see a customer who had just left the Schnuck’s walking in the street. I’m actually glad to see the old sidewalk and corner ramp go away as they were in poor condition and should have been replaced back in September 2006. I don’t know the plan here but hopefully the sidewalk will be back in place soon so that more customers are not forced into an un-friendly street.

Earlier this year the auto drive was also restriped to change some lanes, I’ll spare you the pictures (for now).


Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Kara says:

    It’s too bad that during times of construction a temporary path for pedestrians isn’t sectioned off in the street (as is commonly done in cities like New York). I know, many will say that there aren’t enough pedestrians to make it worth taking out a lane of traffic. But maybe there aren’t more pedestrians because there aren’t enough places for them to safely walk (or use scooters, wheelchairs, etc).

  2. toby says:

    Rather than not enough pedistrians to make Desco provide sidewalks, it now looks apparent that complaining pedestrians have forced Desco’s hand, and thus the access. I’m imagining angry walkers (of which there are a lot – Steve’s photos don’t even prick the tip of the iceberg) constantly giving the Schnucks store manager an angry earful. It’s not his problem, so anger rolls up hill. Callous oversite is slowly being addressed, so I’m concentrating on the “win” in hopes of encouraging more of the same behavior from them.

  3. Jim Zavist says:

    The thing I find most intetresting about the whole deal is how long it takes to get things done (and not just here) – there’s a master plan in place, the developer is paying more for a construction loan than they would on their final financing for a completed project, and most contractors I know want to get in, get their work done, get paid and move on to other projects. I don’t know whether to “blame” the local permitting and approval process, the construction unions or just the local attitudes and expectations toward construction (“that’s how we’ve always done things”). I would’ve expected demolition of the old grocery to take 2-3 weeks, at most, maybe another month for regrading the site, then completion of the curbs, concrete flatwork and parking lot paving in another two weeks.

  4. Jason says:

    About damn time!

    Glad to see they are making progress on this issue. They still have not addressed internal site issues such as access from one store to the other (cart corrals and such) but its a start.


  5. Jason says:

    If ever there was a place to be at the right time today was it- I saw Deborah Dee, the disabled services commissioner (she works in city hall on accessibility issues people), talking to what looked to be developers, engineers, architects about accessibility on the site. Of course they have been addressing some of the concerns as of late, but they still have a way to go before they are completely done. At least the new stuff they are building along Loughborough is beginning to address the street, but from what I can see with the rest of it, is that they are just going to plop down a chain restaurant in the northeast corner of the site near the highway and color the rest of it in with more parking.


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