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Lack of Curb Cuts Annoying, Requires Backtracking

May 5, 2009 Accessibility, Downtown 1 Comment

Saturday I met a friend and her nieces at Union Station.  I didn’t drive there, I took my motorized wheelchair.

On the way back home  I decided to take a slightly different route.  Normally I take 17th street North across Olive to Locust.  But Saturday I thought I’d go one more block East before heading North on the former 16th.  16th has been closed for decades, ever since the Plaza Square urban renewal project cleared the area.  But as I approached the former 16th Street as I headed East on Pine I encountered a problem.

My destination is the sidewalk going off to the left on the other side of this drive.  This drive goes to a locked gate.  All of the street intersections around here have ramps but little drives like this get overlooked.

Unable to proceed as planned I backtracked to 17th to cross Olive.

Crossing Olive without a signal is a bit scary but when there is no traffic such as Saturday it is alright.  The green light you see is 16th, where I was trying to cross.

The street grid is a joyous thing, when it is still a grid for motorists and pedestrians in wheelchairs.  As you destroy the grid you destroy the essence of the city.  Someday I plan to map all the public streets & alleys that have been vacated since say 1950.  How many acres of land has the city given away as the street grid was destroyed?

I’m emailing a link to this post to Alderman Phyllis Young, the director of the Streets Dept and the Office on the Disabled so they will be made aware of the issue at 16th & Pine.


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  1. Jimmy Z says:

    But wouldn’t tearing out these vintage curbs compromise the historic integrity of the city streetscape? 😉

    But seriously, I noticed the same thing along Lindbergh, where MoDOT had to do things 3 or 4 times to get the ramps right – all it takes is one discontinuity to render any route virtually unusable – the proverbial “missing link”. Ideally (and per the ADA) the best soultion would be to go into defined areas (ward by ward?) and fix everything at once, even if it took a few years to cover the whole city, instead of doing it piecemeal and living with a whole slew of missing links.

    Then, again, the best short-term answer may be trading in your motorized wheelchair for an electric ATV! 8) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4BH78RAcmQ


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