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Poor Pedestrian Accessibly at Saint Louis (Panera) Bread Co on Chippewa St. at Lansdowne Ave

February 20, 2012 Accessibility, Featured, Planning & Design, South City 77 Comments

The comments on a recent post brought up the issue of poor pedestrian accessibility at the Saint Louis Bread Co on Chippewa St at Lansdowne Ave and the fact they added a drive-thru to the existing location last year at a cost of $125,000 (per city records).

ABOVE: Recently added drive-thru lane at the Saint Louis Bread Co at 6607 Chippewa, click image to view aerial in Google Maps

The building at 6607 Chippewa was built in 1974 but became the present Saint Louis Bread Co after a major remodel in 2000, a decade after President George H.W. Bush signed the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. Like most places in this part of town, most customers arrive by private automobile, that’s how I arrived earlier this month.

ABOVE: Easy access from disabled parking, my car is the vehicle on the left

The location is in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood and across the street from the St. Louis Hills neighborhood.  Both neighborhoods include many people who walk recreationally. The Saint Louis Bread Co likely has a fair number of employees that arrive as pedestrians via MetroBus (#10 or #30).

ABOVE: Accessibility in the public right-of-way is good with ramps, crosswalks and signals to assist crossing Chippewa St

Public sidewalks and public transportation is equality important with respect to accessible route:

4.3.2 Location.

(1) At least one accessible route within the boundary of the site shall be provided from public transportation stops, accessible parking, and accessible passenger loading zones, and public streets or sidewalks to the accessible building entrance they serve. The accessible route shall, to the maximum extent feasible, coincide with the route for the general public. (Source: ADA Accessibility Guidelines)

They are good on the route from accessible parking but they fail to provide a route from “public transportation stops…and public streets or sidewalks.”  There is no “or” in guideline 4.3.2.1, it’s clear a route must be provided for all. Since most public transportation stops happen in the public right-of-way you cover access from a public sidewalk you’ve got transportation covered as well.

ABOVE: The only pedestrian entry point is a stair on the SW corner of the building
ABOVE: The stair doesn't meet the ADA guidelines regarding railing design, click image to read guidelines

The stair as numerous issues, the railings don’t extend beyond the last step. One addition step exists beyond the stair and it does’t have a railing.

ABOVE: A switchback ramp should have been constructed in the above space in 2000, click image for ramp guidelines

In 2000 and in 2011 they made substantial alterations to the property yet they failed to correct the lack of a proper pedestrian access route. I will follow this until a pedestrian access route is finally provided.

– Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "77 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jason Stokes says:

    Thanks, Steve. You’re my favorite city social gadfly. I didn’t understand the implications of lack of pedestrian access until we had our first child. It’s amazing how much pushing a stroller opens your mind to the pathetic pedestrian state, especially for people with restricted mobility. The route from Prather to the store is likely “technically” accessible, but requires walking through the rather busy parking area + drive through. I don’t find it safe and I won’t do it while pushing my son.

    I live ~2 blocks from here and often walk to the store. If you need local support, contact me on Twitter and I’ll do whatever I can.

     
  2. Jason Stokes says:

    Thanks, Steve. You’re my favorite city social gadfly. I didn’t understand the implications of lack of pedestrian access until we had our first child. It’s amazing how much pushing a stroller opens your mind to the pathetic pedestrian state, especially for people with restricted mobility. The route from Prather to the store is likely “technically” accessible, but requires walking through the rather busy parking area + drive through. I don’t find it safe and I won’t do it while pushing my son.

    I live ~2 blocks from here and often walk to the store. If you need local support, contact me on Twitter and I’ll do whatever I can.

     
    • I forgot to mention the stroller crowd. A parking lot doesn’t count as “technically accessible” bevause thr ADA guidelines don’t consider that acceptable. Sure people do it , but it comes with risks and treats pedestrians as second class citizens.

       
      • Jason Stokes says:

        Using the parking lot is crap. I meant “technically accessible” because yes, technically, I can go from A-B while pushing the stroller, but it’s awful, and makes me fear getting hit by some moron on their cell phone busting to the drive-through (which I also opposed).

         
  3. I forgot to mention the stroller crowd. A parking lot doesn’t count as “technically accessible” bevause thr ADA guidelines don’t consider that acceptable. Sure people do it , but it comes with risks and treats pedestrians as second class citizens.

     
  4. Anonymous says:

    Interesting article. I’d offer that the area you’ve marked off for a switchback ramp was used to add landscaping to buffer the patio crowd from the intersection (that comment isn’t to dismiss the need for ADA access). That being what it is, would it not make sense to go another 20′ up the street and add a simple sidewalk access point into the stripped area? It might still require a switchback due to grade, but it would be much smaller and easier access than trying to navigate a switchback in the location you pointed out. Maybe it’s a possible solution that fulfills the needs of everyone. Also, would you please follow up on the Montgomery Bank ADA access issue, they fixed it shortly after your post and I think your readers should be aware that it was rectified in a timely manner and credit should be due where it is deserved.

     
  5. stlsig says:

    Interesting article. I’d offer that the area you’ve marked off for a switchback ramp was used to add landscaping to buffer the patio crowd from the intersection (that comment isn’t to dismiss the need for ADA access). That being what it is, would it not make sense to go another 20′ up the street and add a simple sidewalk access point into the stripped area? It might still require a switchback due to grade, but it would be much smaller and easier access than trying to navigate a switchback in the location you pointed out. Maybe it’s a possible solution that fulfills the needs of everyone. Also, would you please follow up on the Montgomery Bank ADA access issue, they fixed it shortly after your post and I think your readers should be aware that it was rectified in a timely manner and credit should be due where it is deserved.

     
  6. Msrdls says:

    This is a major oversight on the part of the building code enforcement departments at St Louis City Hall AND (especially) by the architectural/civil team that developed the drive-through. Based on the photos, it appears that there would be sufficient space for a ramp if most of the landscaping is removed and those areas are utilized for an ADA ramp. I suspect the costs for the upgrade may be significant because some retaining walls will likely have to be provided to accommodate the existing grades. The restaurant owners, though, are really good people and will want to do the right thing, and I’m confident they won’t fight you or City Hall on this issue…….unless a variance was issued to allow use of the parking lot for disabled access, and I suspect this may be the case because TYPICALLY City Hall is on top of these and similar ADA issues in cases of new construction and significant upgrades to existing structures.

     
  7. Msrdls says:

    This is a major oversight on the part of the building code enforcement departments at St Louis City Hall AND (especially) by the architectural/civil team that developed the drive-through. Based on the photos, it appears that there would be sufficient space for a ramp if most of the landscaping is removed and those areas are utilized for an ADA ramp. I suspect the costs for the upgrade may be significant because some retaining walls will likely have to be provided to accommodate the existing grades. The restaurant owners, though, are really good people and will want to do the right thing, and I’m confident they won’t fight you or City Hall on this issue…….unless a variance was issued to allow use of the parking lot for disabled access, and I suspect this may be the case because TYPICALLY City Hall is on top of these and similar ADA issues in cases of new construction and significant upgrades to existing structures.

     
    • The ADA is federal civil rights law and currently St. Louis’ auto-centric building codes don’t require buildings to provide an access route for pedestrians. Until the city requires pedestrian access in the building & zoning codes the building department has nothing to enforce.

       
      • Msrdls says:

        When Dr. Dee ran the ADA-Compliance division, she wouldn’t sign-off on a building/remodel permit until all ADA issues were addressed. Don’t know how much muscle the new division head has, but I know that Dr. Dee certainly exercised her “influence”!!!!

         
        • Someone signed off in 2000 when the building was remodeled into the Bread Co.

           
          • Msrdls says:

            Steve: You may want to veify if a variance was issued to use the parking lot as an alternate ADA-approved entry.

             
          • The city cannot grant a variance to a federal civil rights law.

             
          • Msrdls says:

            First you are saying that pedestrian access routes are not required by the City. I suppose you  mean disabled access routes?  I’ve sat in at least 15f pre-construction meetings with Dr. Dee and with representatives of her successor, Lyle Manniger, plan reviewers, Fire Marshall representative, and a host of others…..and ALWAYS, WITHOUT QUESTION, ADA ACCESS HAS BEEN REVIEWED  FOR COMPLIANCE.  Me thinks you are being stubborn!

             
          • The list of buildings built it the city in the last decade without a pedestrian route from a public sidewalk is very long. No doubt they focused on the pedestrian route from the disabled parking to the front door, which is part of the building code. Connecting the front door to the public sidewalk isn’t part of our code — yet.

             
          • Msrdls says:

            The variance, Steve, would not allow the City to ignore the Federal law! The variance would be issued BY the city to the owner/developer, allowing him to provide ADA access by a means less costly/invasive than strict adherence to the code requires. It’s called compromise. It’s done, especially when buildings are renovated.Developers have it do it all the time so that they can afford to develop properties. Architects and consulting engineers often disregard or oversimplify the role of a budget in a development. Your tone suggests that the City is provincial and, in your words, auto-centric. I have constructed buildings in major cities all over the country, and I have been personally involved with their building divisions prior to completion of design-development drawings and before construction began—-and my experience is that the City of St. Louis building/planning division is one of the most openminded of its kind anywhere. They respect the needs of the owner, developer and user, including the disabled, especially, and they interpret the codes fairly. They’re not your enemy, Steve. They’re always there to help you. You can walk into Lyle Manniger’s office anytime, and he’ll sit with you and review any concerns that you have. Ron Brendle with plan review is tough but fair.

             
          • The city can grant a variance from a requirement of the building code, but they can’t issue a variance to the ADA which is enforced by the US Dept of Justice.

             
  8. The ADA is federal civil rights law and currently St. Louis’ auto-centric building codes don’t require buildings to provide an access route for pedestrians. Until the city requires pedestrian access in the building & zoning codes the building department has nothing to enforce.

     
  9. Good point, I do like the landscape buffer. An access route needs to provided somewhere.

     
  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for spotlighting this.  Unfortunately, this is way much more the norm than the exception, and the biggest problem is the stilted way the law was crafted and how it needs to be enforced.  Yes, the ADA is civil rights legislation, but it ends up being enforced after the fact, after somebody goes to the effort of complaining, while the building code mostly applies before construction starts, and government has both the precise standards and staff to identify non-compliance AND to require compliance.  And since most owners aren’t that interested in going above the minimum standards when it comes to many code compliance requirements, especially accessibility (viewing them as unnecessary costs and government intrusion into private businesses), we end up with a lot more “wait until I get caught” and finger pointing than actually doing things right in the first place.

    @ Msrdls – Your comment that “I suspect the costs for the upgrade may be significant” is wrong in this particular case, and both irrelevent and something I hear way too many times from owners who don’t want to comply.  The original ADA required owners to do a survey for areas of non-compliance and to implement a program to bring facilities into compliance within a reasonable and readily-achievable time frame.  Twenty years was and is plenty of time to build a ramp to accomodate a relatively-small grade change (< 3') like this one.  Add in that they spent significant money to move dirt, pour concrete and patch asphalt to build the drive-thru addition, and any argument about undue cost becomes that much weaker.  Is there a cost involved?  Absolutely, but it is way less than $5,000, and would have been even less if it were included when the Bread Company first moved in in 2000 OR during the recent construction instead of, now, having to be done under a separate contract – "pay me now or pay me later!"

     
  11. JZ71 says:

    Thanks for spotlighting this.  Unfortunately, this is way much more the norm than the exception, and the biggest problem is the stilted way the law was crafted and how it needs to be enforced.  Yes, the ADA is civil rights legislation, but it ends up being enforced after the fact, after somebody goes to the effort of complaining, while the building code mostly applies before construction starts, and government has both the precise standards and staff to identify non-compliance AND to require compliance.  And since most owners aren’t that interested in going above the minimum standards when it comes to many code compliance requirements, especially accessibility (viewing them as unnecessary costs and government intrusion into private businesses), we end up with a lot more “wait until I get caught” and finger pointing than actually doing things right in the first place.

    @ Msrdls – Your comment that “I suspect the costs for the upgrade may be significant” is wrong in this particular case, and both irrelevent and something I hear way too many times from owners who don’t want to comply.  The original ADA required owners to do a survey for areas of non-compliance and to implement a program to bring facilities into compliance within a reasonable and readily-achievable time frame.  Twenty years was and is plenty of time to build a ramp to accomodate a relatively-small grade change (< 3') like this one.  Add in that they spent significant money to move dirt, pour concrete and patch asphalt to build the drive-thru addition, and any argument about undue cost becomes that much weaker.  Is there a cost involved?  Absolutely, but it is way less than $5,000, and would have been even less if it were included when the Bread Company first moved in in 2000 (when it really should have been added) OR even during the recent construction instead of, now, having to be done under a separate contract – "pay me now or pay me later!" "The restaurant owners [may be] really good people", but they don't seem to get that making their business accessible to all customers is a bigger priority than adding a drive-thru when it comes to spending their limited resources!

     
    • Msrdls says:

      JZ71: I hope I don’t sense a bit of “SNARKY” in your response. First, NOTHING gets done for $5000.00 on a UNION construction job unless the contractor is on-board/on-site. (And the owners of the franchise wouldn’t consider doing the work using non-union labor–in St. Louis.) And I wasn’t suggesting that the cost of the improvement should dictate to any decision whether to move forward on the project. This project will require a civil engineer’s drawing, after the area is surveyed. Then a permit will have to be issued. It can’t be built like a kid might build a treehouse or a fort!!! Then the contractor will be required to bring in a bobcat to remove the existing vegetation…establish grades….and haul it off the vegetation and any excess soils. If more soil is needed, that will have to be hauled in.  A soils testing agency will have to be hired to verify compaction.   And with a 3′ grade differential (as you suggest), any switchback configuration will require some retaining walls to prevent erosion. The cheapest way to accomplish that in a confined space is to use a concrete retaining wall, which has to be designed, excavated, reinforced, formed and poured. Add to that a totally separate setup to pour  a ramp-walk. Then steel hand-railings will have to be provided, then painted. Then some sort of turf replacement and/or shrubbery installation will be required. I really think that if you can do all of that for $5K, you should contact the store managers and sign up, my friend!

       
      • JZ71 says:

        Doing it now could easily exceed $5,000.  Doing it as a part of the drive-thru addition in 2010, when they had a civil engineer doing plans, and a contractor getting permits, moving dirt and pouring concrete would have added less than $5,000 to the overall project cost.  The real issue is whether or not the value of delaying compliance for 10-15 years is really “worth it”?  We’re talking about an incremental cost of something like $20 a week when the cost is spread over 15 years.  It all boils down to accepting that not everyone in St. Louis drives!

         
        • Msrdls says:

          I still disagree with your construction cost-estimates. The ramp/retaining wall  would have involved two engineers: civil and structural; one architect to design the rails and select the paint color. Two testing labs: concrete and soils. The following trades would be required: laborers for demolition, carpenters to form the retaining walls; iron workers for the wall reinforcing; finishers to provide edge forms for the walks; finishers and carpenters to pour the walls; laborers to strip the wall forms; iron workers to install the rails; painters to paint the rails; operators and laborers to excavate and regrade; bricklayers/stonemasons to terminate and transition the existing stone retaining wall; landscapers to replace landscaping (and maybe a landscape architect to redesign the new landscaping). Add the cost of the bobcat rental.  This could NEVER have been done for $5K, as your first post states: Your words:   “Absolutely,but it is way less than $5000, and WOULD HAVE BEEN EVEN LESS IF IT included when the Bread Company first moved in in 2000.”  WRONG:  You’ll never get that much work done for 5K, during or after a project! Nevertheless, the work should be done because it is the right thing to do.

           
          • JZ71 says:

            We apparently are envisioning two different solutions, a danger of doing budget pricing without plans.  Your solution appears to put a new ramp next to the existing stair, I was thinking more of connecting the striped access aisle for the parking with the existing public sidewalk on the Lansdowne side of the property.  That would be primarily flat work, requiring few, if any, retaining walls and no guard rails.  We agree that either solution “would be the right thing to do”.  Where we apparently differ is in presenting the most expensive scenario (and arguing that its expense is a reason why a variance may be appropriate) or in trying to find an economical scenario that still solves the problem.

             
    • stlsig says:

      JZ, I’m curious… what is your background in the construction world? I realize this will come across as questioning how you arrive at your position on the matter, and it is, but it’s not meant to be rude. I’ve just read your comments for quite some time and always wondered if you were an architect, code official, project manager, etc by trade?

       
      • JZ71 says:

        I’m an architect with 30 years of commercial experience that has dealt with multiple ADA issues for various clients. I was also very active in planning, land use, parks and transit issues in Denver, before relocating here in 2004.

         
  12. Cheryl says:

    This post makes me wonder why Dierberg’s is not prosecuted under ADA for its store next to the Brentwood metrolink. If there is an access that forces you walk half a mile out of your way, is that still accessible?  And of course there is no sidewalk or shoulder to walk on  once you get to the Dierberg drive.  Has anyone ever considered suing Dierberg’s for non-ADA compliance?

     
  13. Cheryl says:

    This post makes me wonder why Dierberg’s is not prosecuted under ADA for its store next to the Brentwood metrolink. If there is an access that forces you walk half a mile out of your way, is that still accessible?  And of course there is no sidewalk or shoulder to walk on  once you get to the Dierberg drive.  Has anyone ever considered suing Dierberg’s for non-ADA compliance?

     
    • The US Dept of Justice can sue or citizens with standing can, but the process is cumbersome. The solution is to make pedestrian access a zoning & building code requirement.

       
      • Msrdls says:

        And I’m saying that pedestrian access ALREADY IS  a zoning and building code requirement.  You’re pouting!  Call Lyle Manniger.

         
        • JZ71 says:

          We wouldn’t be “pouting” if it wasn’t a problem!

           
        • The successor to Dr. Dee in the office on the disabled was David Newburger , which is under the health department. Lyle Manniger is the head of plan review within the building division.

           
          • Msrdls says:

            Lyle orchestrates the preconstruction meetings and plan review. He calls everyone to the table, and he signs off on NOTHING until it is right!

             
  14. The US Dept of Justice can sue or citizens with standing can, but the process is cumbersome. The solution is to make pedestrian access a zoning & building code requirement.

     
  15. Msrdls says:

    When Dr. Dee ran the ADA-Compliance division, she wouldn’t sign-off on a building/remodel permit until all ADA issues were addressed. Don’t know how much muscle the new division head has, but I know that Dr. Dee certainly exercised her “influence”!!!!

     
  16. Someone signed off in 2000 when the building was remodeled into the Bread Co.

     
  17. Msrdls says:

    JZ71: I hope I don’t sense a bit of “SNARKY” in your response. First, NOTHING gets done for $5000.00 on a UNION construction job unless the contractor is on-board/on-site. (And the owners of the franchise wouldn’t consider doing the work using non-union labor–in St. Louis.) And I wasn’t suggesting that the cost of the improvement should dictate to any decision whether to move forward on the project. This project will require a civil engineer’s drawing, after the area is surveyed. Then a permit will have to be issued. It can’t be built like a kid might build a treehouse or a fort!!! Then the contractor will be required to bring in a bobcat to remove the existing vegetation…establish grades….and haul it off the vegetation and any excess soils. If more soil is needed, that will have to be hauled in.  A soils testing agency will have to be hired to verify compaction.   And with a 3′ grade differential (as you suggest), any switchback configuration will require some retaining walls to prevent erosion. The cheapest way to accomplish that in a confined space is to use a concrete retaining wall, which has to be designed, excavated, reinforced, formed and poured. Add to that a totally separate setup to pour  a ramp-walk. Then steel hand-railings will have to be provided, then painted. Then some sort of turf replacement and/or shrubbery installation will be required. I really think that if you can do all of that for $5K, you should contact the store managers and sign up, my friend!

     
  18. Msrdls says:

    Steve: You may want to veify if a variance was issued to use the parking lot as an alternate ADA-approved entry.

     
  19. The city cannot grant a variance to a federal civil rights law.

     
  20. Anonymous says:

    JZ, I’m curious… what is your background in the construction world? I realize this will come across as questioning how you arrive at your position on the matter, and it is, but it’s not meant to be rude. I’ve just read your comments for quite some time and always wondered if you were an architect, code official, project manager, etc by trade?

     
  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m an architect with 30 years of commercial experience that has dealt with multiple ADA issues for various clients.

     
  22. Anonymous says:

    Doing it now could easily exceed $5,000.  Doing it as a part of the drive-thru addition in 2010, when they had a civil engineer doing plans, and a contractor getting permits, moving dirt and pouring concrete would have added less than $5,000 to the overall project cost.  The real issue is whether or not the value of delaying compliance for 10-15 years is really “worth it”?  We’re talking about an incremental cost of something like $20 a week when the cost is spread over 15 years.  It all boils down to accepting that not everyone in St. Louis drives!

     
  23. Msrdls says:

    I still disagree with your construction cost-estimates. The ramp/retaining wall  would have involved two engineers: civil and structural; one architect to design the rails and select the paint color. Two testing labs: concrete and soils. The following trades would be required: laborers for demolition, carpenters to form the retaining walls; iron workers for the wall reinforcing; finishers to provide edge forms for the walks; finishers and carpenters to pour the walls; laborers to strip the wall forms; iron workers to install the rails; painters to paint the rails; operators and laborers to excavate and regrade; bricklayers/stonemasons to terminate and transition the existing stone retaining wall; landscapers to replace landscaping (and maybe a landscape architect to redesign the new landscaping). Add the cost of the bobcat rental.  This could NEVER have been done for $5K, as your first post states: Your words:   “Absolutely,but it is way less than $5000, and WOULD HAVE BEEN EVEN LESS IF IT included when the Bread Company first moved in in 2000.”  WRONG:  You’ll never get that much work done for 5K, during or after a project! Nevertheless, the work should be done because it is the right thing to do.

     
  24. Msrdls says:

    First you are saying that pedestrian access routes are not required by the City. I suppose you  mean disabled access routes?  I’ve sat in at least 15f pre-construction meetings with Dr. Dee and with representatives of her successor, Lyle Manniger, plan reviewers, Fire Marshall representative, and a host of others…..and ALWAYS, WITHOUT QUESTION, ADA ACCESS HAS BEEN REVIEWED  FOR COMPLIANCE.  Me thinks you are being stubborn!

     
  25. The list of buildings built it the city in the last decade without a pedestrian route from a public sidewalk is very long. No doubt they focused on the pedestrian route from the disabled parking to the front door, which is part of the building code. Connecting the front door to the public sidewalk isn’t part of our code — yet.

     
  26. RyleyinSTL says:

    The wife and I frequent this location….on foot.  Pedestrian access for us able bodies folks isn’t even ideal.  The addition of the drive through made a bad situation deplorable.  Why on earth is the ADA requirement not part of local enforceable building code?  Law without enforcement is meaningless. 

     
  27. RyleyinSTL says:

    The wife and I frequent this location….on foot.  Pedestrian access for us able bodies folks isn’t even ideal.  The addition of the drive through made a bad situation deplorable.  Why on earth is the ADA requirement not part of local enforceable building code?  Law without enforcement is meaningless. 

     
    • Much of the ADA is part of the code — door widths, bathroom specifications, number and size of parking spaces, etc. Smart cities make connecting to the sidewalk important and included that in their zoning & building codes. St. Louis hasn’t yet made that requirement.

       
      • JZ71 says:

        The current building codes do a pretty good job of making sure that ADA compliance happens on new construction, especially inside of buildings.  The big remaining challenge is that a lot of site work isn’t covered by building codes.  If the vertical grade change is less than 30″, guard rails are not required.  If a retaining wall is (I believe) less than 24″ high, it doesn’t require a permit.  So “connecting the dots” falls under the jurisdiction of the civil engineer, the zoning and streets/public works departments and the flatwork (sub)contractor.  My experience is that their focus, especially outside of the CBD, is typically more on drainage, curb cuts and parking counts, and that many sidewalks are viewed and reviewed more as decorative elements than as a critical part of an accessible path for non-drivers.  To get better compliance is going to take a bigger commitment from owners and tenants, from the various reviewing agencies and, unfortunately, from the Department of Justice suing recalcitrant owners.  Priorities are just that – something that is or has been made important!

         
  28. Msrdls says:

    The variance, Steve, would not allow the City to ignore the Federal law! The variance would be issued BY the city to the owner/developer, allowing him to provide ADA access by a means less costly/invasive than strict adherence to the code requires. It’s called compromise. It’s done, especially when buildings are renovated.Developers have it do it all the time so that they can afford to develop properties. Architects and consulting engineers often disregard or oversimplify the role of a budget in a development. Your tone suggests that the City is provincial and, in your words, auto-centric. I have constructed buildings in major cities all over the country, and I have been personally involved with their building divisions prior to completion of design-development drawings and before construction began—-and my experience is that the City of St. Louis building/planning division is one of the most openminded of its kind anywhere. They respect the needs of the owner, developer and user, including the disabled, especially, and they interpret the codes fairly. They’re not your enemy, Steve. They’re always there to help you. You can walk into Lyle Manniger’s office anytime, and he’ll sit with you and review any concerns that you have. Ron Brendle with plan review is tough but fair.

     
  29. The city can grant a variance from a requirement of the building code, but they can’t issue a variance to the ADA which is enforced by the US Dept of Justice.

     
  30. Msrdls says:

    And I’m saying that pedestrian access ALREADY IS  a zoning and building code requirement.  You’re pouting!  Call Lyle Manniger.

     
  31. Much of the ADA is part of the code — door widths, bathroom specifications, number and size of parking spaces, etc. Smart cities make connecting to the sidewalk important and included that in their zoning & building codes. St. Louis hasn’t yet made that requirement.

     
  32. Anonymous says:

    We apparently are envisioning two different solutions, a danger of doing budget pricing without plans.  Your solution appears to put a new ramp next to the existing stair, I was thinking more of connecting the striped access aisle for the parking with the existing public sidewalk on the Lansdowne side of the property.  That would be primarily flat work, requiring few, if any, retaining walls and no guard rails.  We agree that either solution “would be the right thing to do”.  Where we apparently differ is in presenting the most expensive scenario (and arguing that its expense is a reason why a variance may be appropriate) or in trying to find an economical scenario that still solves the problem.

     
  33. Anonymous says:

    The current building codes do a pretty good job of making sure that ADA compliance happens on new construction, especially inside of buildings.  The big remaining challenge is that a lot of site work isn’t covered by building codes.  If the vertical grade change is less than 30″, guard rails are not required.  If a retaining wall is (I believe) less than 24″ high, it doesn’t require a permit.  So “connecting the dots” falls under the jurisdiction of the civil engineer, the zoning and streets/public works departments and the flatwork (sub)contractor.  My experience is that their focus, especially outside of the CBD, is typically more on drainage, curb cuts and parking counts, and that many sidewalks are viewed and reviewed more as decorative elements than as a critical part of an accessible path for non-drivers.  To get better compliance is going to take a bigger commitment from owners and tenants, from the various reviewing agencies and, unfortunately, from the Department of Justice suing recalcitrant owners.  Priorities are just that – something that is or has been made important!

     
  34. Anonymous says:

    We wouldn’t be “pouting” if it wasn’t as problem!

     
  35. Anonymous says:

    Steve – regarding the stair’s handrail – the link you provide is to the old standards.  The new standards will apply to any future modifications / corrections:  http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#c5 And, as an interesting aside, the “Accessibility in the public right-of-way is good with ramps, crosswalks and signals to assist crossing Chippewa St” came about after the Starbucks was constructed (across the street) and the alderman pushed for the Streets Dept. to provide the connection.

     
  36. JZ71 says:

    Steve – regarding the stair’s handrail – the link you provide is to the old standards.  The new standards will apply to any future modifications / corrections:  http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#c5 And, as an interesting aside, the “Accessibility in the public right-of-way is good with ramps, crosswalks and signals to assist crossing Chippewa St” came about after the Starbucks was constructed (across the street) and the alderman pushed for the Streets Dept. to provide the connection.

     
    • Jason Stokes says:

      Interestingly, one can cross Chippewa there, but there’s no legal, crosswalked way to cross over from the Bread Co to the Starbucks. Lansdowne has no crosswalk either way. 

      As someone who enjoys Starbucks and lives north of this intersection, it’s usually a mad dash across the street with dog or baby in town, hoping I don’t get creamed by a car. Lovely.

       
  37. The successor to Dr. Dee in the office on the disabled was David Newburger , which is under the health department. Lyle Manniger is the head of plan review within the building division.

     
  38. Jason Stokes says:

    Interestingly, one can cross Chippewa there, but there’s no legal, crosswalked way to cross over from the Bread Co to the Starbucks. Lansdowne has no crosswalk either way. 

    As someone who enjoys Starbucks and lives north of this intersection, it’s usually a mad dash across the street with dog or baby in town, hoping I don’t get creamed by a car. Lovely.

     
  39. Jason Stokes says:

    Using the parking lot is crap. I meant “technically accessible” because yes, technically, I can go from A-B while pushing the stroller, but it’s awful, and makes me fear getting hit by some moron on their cell phone busting to the drive-through (which I also opposed).

     
  40. Anonymous says:

    And the reason I’ve been given by the city is that they don’t like doing marked crosswalks if there aren’t appropriate wheelchair ramps.

     
  41. Gina says:

    No curb ramps at the corner of Lansdowne?  Crosswalks can exist whether marked or not… 

     
  42. Jason Stokes says:

    If only there was a way to create a wheelchair ramp. I wish we had the technology. 🙂

     
  43. Msrdls says:

    Lyle orchestrates the preconstruction meetings and plan review. He calls everyone to the table, and he signs off on NOTHING until it is right!

     
  44. Moe says:

    I’m glad everyone thinks every location everywhere should be ADA compliant instantly.  Doesn’t happen.  I’ve been to this store many times.  Many people of all types use it and have access.  But let’s not complain about how lazy the people are that have to wait minutes for their sandwich made to order (and compound that by every car that waits in line).  To me this store got more dangerous AFTER the drive through went in.  And those mini-car strollers have NO place in any store.  I am so tired of getting bumped by inconsiderate parents who think I should drop what I’m doing and move out of their way

     
  45. Moe says:

    I’m glad everyone thinks every location everywhere should be ADA compliant instantly.  Doesn’t happen.  I’ve been to this store many times.  Many people of all types use it and have access.  But let’s not complain about how lazy the people are that have to wait minutes for their sandwich made to order (and compound that by every car that waits in line).  To me this store got more dangerous AFTER the drive through went in.  And those mini-car strollers have NO place in any store.  I am so tired of getting bumped by inconsiderate parents who think I should drop what I’m doing and move out of their way

     
  46. jrarnett says:

    It looks like Bread Co listened and they are addressing the pedestrian access problem.  Or they are at least doing extensive work in the area that you suggested they install a switchback ramp.

     
  47. Jason Stokes says:

    They’re putting in a pedestrian switchback ramp now. It appears almost complete as of yesterday.

     

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