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The Schlafly Bottleworks Lacks Pedestrian Route To Front Door

ABOVE: One of two automobile entrances at Bottleworks with the entrance in the background

Twice now I have visited Schlafly’s Bottleworks in Maplewood (map) using public transit. Being disabled, I arrived at the site in my power wheelchair after departing the bus. The issue of access is the same for the able-bodied using transit or by walking from the surrounding area.

While it is great Schlafly reused an old grocery store building it is unfortunate their architect/engineer didn’t include a walkway to connect to the public sidewalk on Southwest.  During the $5 million construction work, in 2003, a patio was added out front and the parking lot was reconfigured. It is at this time that a walkway should have been added to connect the public sidewalk to the front door.

ABOVE: pedestrians can see, but not reach, the front door from the sidewalk

As you can see from the above photo the distance to reach the walk next to the patio just isn’t that great. From an aerial view it looks like this:

ABOVE: the blue line represents the short path to connect to the public sidewalk

The amount of effort that would have been required, at the time the work was done, would have been minimal.  Even today the effort isn’t much, including the loss of one auto parking space.

Hopefully Schlafly’s will see fit to correct their pedestrian access deficiency. Based on my conversation with the manager last night I think they will.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Agree, it should be an easy fix. Did you ask the manager if they had had any other complaints or concerns about inadequate access? Like the Galleria, this site predates the ADA, and the various changes have happened in a piecemeal fashion, likely with no overall look at site access, and unless someone pointed out problem areas, it probably is a case of true ignorance of some of the nuances of the ADAAG. And, BTW, I'm pretty sure that the newer Shop and Save, a couple of blocks away on Manchester, as well as the Walgreens at Manchester and McCausland are equally as guilty . . .

    • As I indicated above, the $5 million dollar renovation took place in 2003 when the former grocery store was converted to brewery & restaurant. Thus, it did not predate the ADA. My two able-bodied friends had to walk out the same way I did last night. I didn't ask the manager if they ever had a complaint because it doesn't matter if they have or haven't. Their architect/engineer failed to provide a way for nearby pedestrians to arrive at the establishment.

      • JZ71 says:

        You know the ADA is complaint driven. Yes, they spent a pile of money to remodel the building in 2003, but they did little to the existing grocery store site, and likely without using a civil engineer. Yes, they should've looked at site access in 2003, but what they did is no different than what 98% of the people doing similar projects have done since the ADA passed. They added ramps at the front door, they painted blue handicapped parking spaces in the parking lot and they called it good. For better or worse, this is also apparently good enough for most people in the disabled advocacy community, since I haven't seen or heard of very many lawsuits, settlements or sanctions related to this issue. (The focus seems to be more on access within structures and employment considerations.) The vast majority of the disabled, just like the vast majority of the abled, choose to drive. Your raising concerns now are likely the first they've received, so if they're addressed quickly, I'd put Schlafly in the “good” column.

        • That is like saying workplace discrimination is complaint driven. No, civil rights legislation should be followed and complaints used in those cases where there is non-compliance. The bigger issue is the professional they hired for the project. It is in a highly walkable location at the end of downtown Mapkewood, adjacent to many residences and served by transit. They had to expect pedestrians.

          • JZ71 says:

            The professionals who worked on the project are only partially responsible (through any omissions); the ultimate responsibility lies with the owner. Proving a negative (that the design professional[s] actually proposed an accessible path, but were overruled) is nealy impossible,

          • Their Errors & Ommissions insurance policy can cover the cost of the work unless they can document they proposed a connection but were overruled by the owner.

          • JZ71 says:

            Proving who's wrong at this point (owner or consultant) is irrelevent. As Troika noted, the company believes that they did what was necessary, per the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility GUIDELINES. You have a different perspective, as well as a different agenda. Unlike building or development codes, where local officials approve physical construction, the ADAAG are not “enforced” during construction, and many building officials do not want any liability for interpretting them. Until that changes (and building codes are including more specific accessibility requirements), these issues will need to addressed on a case-by-case basis. Schlafly seems willing to address your concerns. You've made them known. If that's the first time anyone has commented in 7 years, it may not be that big an issue after all.

            We're all offended by what other people do or don't do. Unfortunately, it's never the same stuff. I'm offended by smokers using our world as one giant ashtray. A good solution would be making them lick the gutters. Will that ever happen? I seriously doubt it. Most people want to be able to get into a business and use its facilities. Painted crosswalks are nice, but I patronize businesses every day without them. As a pedestrian, I see them as nice suggestions, but I NEVER trust that any motorist will actually pay attention to them, nor do I feel any real obligation to stay within their borders. But if you, a pesron with a disability, really believe that adding a crosswalk between the sidewalk and the front door will make your life better, by all means, pursue this issue. I'm more focused on issues like steps (as a barrier) or blocked fire exits (a real safety issue).

  2. Troika says:

    Hi Steve,
    I'm the Communications Director here at Schlafly I would love to talk with you about this when you have time. You can email me directly at Troika@Schlafly.Com. I can't speak to what decisions were made in terms of how we renovated the Bottleworks in 2002-2003, but I can certainly make sure that your concerns are heard by the right people. Obviously we don't want any of our patrons to feel in any way unwelcome at either of our brewery/restaurants. I will be perfectly honest with you and tell you that I'm not entirely certain I understand what you would like to see from us based upon your posting. As JZ71 mentioned, we do have ramps, power doors both in front and out to the patio as well as dedicated handicapped parking. Someone coming to the Bottleworks in a wheelchair can very easily get from the sidewalk into our parking lot via both “driveway” entrances as the sidewalks ramp down so I'm not sure what you mean by lacking a “pedestrian route.” I have seen a number of people in wheelchairs enter our property from the sidewalks coming both from Manchester and up Southwest. Are you simply wanting a ramp down of some sorts from the sidewalk into our parking lot in addition to the “driveways” so you don't have to travel as far through the parking lot? People in powered wheelchairs coming to the Bottleworks have never complained to us as they simply use the car entrances as the two entrances are what you come across first. I was also under the impression that when funding for the public transit system was cut, our Bus Stop was taken out of commission (I think the City even removed the sign) so I'm surprised to hear that you've been using that. Have they brought that stop back into use? So, if I am understanding correctly what you are asking for, I can assure you that it would not require minimal effort (nor minimal cost) and the simple loss of a parking space as you suggest. I would take time and a good deal of money. Finally, everything would have to go through the City of Maplewood as we don't own the sidewalks. Please feel free to email me and clearly explain the issue as you see it and what solution you would like to see. I can't guarantee anything beyond the fact that we will listen to you, but we will listen. Thanks again, Steve.
    Troika Brodsky
    Schlafly Beer

    • I'll email you as well but entering the site as a pedestrian (wheelchair or foot) via an automobile drive is not acceptable. The #32 bus runs along Manchester Rd and the #16 comes down Sutton — your location is very well served by transit.

    • anniezaleski says:

      Especially when it's dark, it's not always safe for a wheelchair patron — or any other pedestrians, for that matter — to travel up or down those driveways. Visibility isn't always great, and you run the risk of being hit by a car, esp. because the parking lot is so crowded.


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