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River City Casino Has Surprisingly Good Pedestrian Access Route

River City Casino, located in south St. Louis County, opened for business two years ago yesterday. I’d visited the site in 2010 shortly after it opened but last week I visited again — this time as a pedestrian. I knew from my prior visit in my car they’d done a good job with sidewalks but I wanted to experience it first hand.

The #40 Broadway MetroBus I took ends at the Catalan Loop in far south St. Louis. According to Google Maps, the walk to the casino from the transit center is one mile. Many places I seek to visit using my power chair can’t manage to connect just 50 feet to the door so I was still a bit skeptical.

ABOVE: Looking north at the Catalan Loop MetroBus transit center in south St. Louis
ABOVE: Looking south on Broadway, not a pedestrian's paradise
ABOVE: Bridge over the River des Peres is fairly new and adequate
ABOVE: After crossing the bridge you are in St. Louis County and facing River City Casino Boulevard, a private road east of Broadway
ABOVE: Only the south side of River City Casino Boulevard has a pedestrian route
ABOVE: The road becomes a bridge over railroad tracks and industrial land
ABOVE: Pedestrians are directed in such a way they are facing the main entrance
ABOVE: Crosswalks are a different material but the visually impaired might have issues since they blend with the adjacent pavement
ABOVE: The path leads the pedestrian, and motorists from parking, right where to go
ABOVE: From the main entrance looking north to bridge where we came, a one mile journey
ABOVE: I didn't see any bike parking anywhere.
ABOVE: North of River City Casino Blvd is overflow parking and a pedestrian route exists for those who park here to walk safely all the way to the entrance
ABOVE: Navigating the entire site was good, even from the far south edge of the site

Overall I was highly impressed by what could have been a pedestrian’s nightmare, like Loughborough Commons. Good pedestrian circulation, just like vehicular circulation, doesn’t happen by accident. Someone made pedestrian access a high priority. Perhaps River City’s owner, Pinnacle Entertainment, was sued because of poor ADA access at another location? Or the professional design firm(s) included it as a design priority? Or St. Louis County required River City to plan for pedestrians in addition to cars? However it came to be, this shows good pedestrian access is possible when planned in advance. You can view an aerial image here.

Hopefully the pedestrian network will serve them well as they expand this year:

Construction works are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2012 with an expected completion in the second half of 2013. The new expansion at the Missouri casino will add a 200-room hotel, a 10,000 square-foot multi-purpose event center and a covered parking structure with capacity for approximately 1,700 vehicles. Additionally, the $82 million project will create nearly 100 permanent jobs and 350 construction-related jobs. (Source)

I’ll return next year after the new work is completed to see if hotel guests can walk to/from the casino via sidewalks.

– Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "26 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dustin Bopp says:

    While I couldn’t say for sure, I think the high level of pedestrian access is client-driven. Casinos are very smart and let no stone go unturned when it comes to enhancing their customers experience  — no matter who they are. They understand the importance of people — whether driving a car or not — getting into their facility. It directly translates into dollars.Also, making people (lots of OLDER people) comfortable getting from their cars to the front door is going to be a very high priority. Pinnacle has made a significant investment in that property because they know in the long-run it translates into revenue. If only every developer understood the power of simply making it easier (and more pleasant) for EVERYONE (not just those in cars) to access their services.

     
  2. Dustin Bopp says:

    While I couldn’t say for sure, I think the high level of pedestrian access is client-driven. Casinos are very smart and let no stone go unturned when it comes to enhancing their customers experience  — no matter who they are. They understand the importance of people — whether driving a car or not — getting into their facility. It directly translates into dollars.Also, making people (lots of OLDER people) comfortable getting from their cars to the front door is going to be a very high priority. Pinnacle has made a significant investment in that property because they know in the long-run it translates into revenue. If only every developer understood the power of simply making it easier (and more pleasant) for EVERYONE (not just those in cars) to access their services.

     
    • Douglas Duckworth says:

      I think that’s a big assumption which may not hold in every place. Motor City Casino in Detroit is a pedestrian disaster. We shouldn’t speculate until we see some plans.

       
    • eric656 says:

       Or, less charitably: casino visitors are disproportionately low-income and without cars, so it is more necessary than usual (from a business perspective) to provide pedestrian access.

       
  3. Brian Kenney says:

    There is a bike rack on the West side of the building on the South Lot. It was set up per employee request and is used from a few employees on a daily basis. I will put a request for one in a comment box. They do seem very receptive to requests like these.

    I, and other employees, wish that Metro would have the Broadway 40 turn into River City. I am sure that more staff would take the bus if they didn’t get dropped off at Broadway.

     
  4. Brian Kenney says:

    There is a bike rack on the West side of the building on the South Lot. It was set up per employee request and is used from a few employees on a daily basis. I will put a request for one in a comment box. They do seem very receptive to requests like these.

    I, and other employees, wish that Metro would have the Broadway 40 turn into River City. I am sure that more staff would take the bus if they didn’t get dropped off at Broadway.

     
    • How would a bicyclist arriving at the casino know where to find a place to secure their bike? A simple inverted-U race visible at the main entry is needed.

       
  5. How would a bicyclist arriving at the casino know where to find a place to secure their bike? A simple inverted-U race visible at the main entry is needed.

     
  6. Rick says:

    I would be amazed if more than 20 people per year walked or biked to the Casino to gamble.  Once you get there, the place is pretty nice.  But it’s sort of on an island, a mile or so away from everything.  

     
  7. Rick says:

    I would be amazed if more than 20 people per year walked or biked to the Casino to gamble.  Once you get there, the place is pretty nice.  But it’s sort of on an island, a mile or so away from everything.  Not everyone has a car you know.

     
  8. I’d be curious to know how many employees and customers arrive on foot or two wheels.

     
  9. Rick says:

    When you were there, were there any bikes parked or people walking to or from the site?

     
  10. Rick says:

    When you were there, were there any bikes parked or people walking to or from the site?

     
    • I did see a cyclist leaving as I entered. But it’s easy to spend 15 minutes observing and say no pedestrians exist, but a longer study over hours & days might reveal a very different picture.

       
  11. I did see a cyclist leaving as I entered. But it’s easy to spend 15 minutes observing and say no pedestrians exist, but a longer study over hours & days might reveal a very different picture.

     
  12. Topher74 says:

    if they stick to anything like their original model, which i expect they will, the phase 2 expansion with the hotel and garage won’t need sidewalk access, as they’ll be connected directly.  See this older photo of the pre-construction model and compare it to the overhead view of what has been built (http://g.co/maps/53dyk) and you can see exactly how it will all fit together.

     
  13. Topher74 says:

    if they stick to anything like their original model, which i expect they will, the phase 2 expansion with the hotel and garage won’t need sidewalk access, as they’ll be connected directly.  See this older photo of the pre-construction model and compare it to the overhead view of what has been built (http://g.co/maps/53dyk) and you can see exactly how it will all fit together.

     
  14. Douglas Duckworth says:

    I think that’s a big assumption which may not hold in every place. Motor City Casino in Detroit is a pedestrian disaster. We shouldn’t speculate until we see some plans.

     
  15. Douglas Duckworth says:

    Probably not many. I cycle every day would never bike to a casnio nor for nice dinner or a date. Cycling doesn’t work for every trip!

     
  16. Moe says:

    Well we certainly don’t want anything coming between the handicapped/pedestrians and their wallet not would we?

     
  17. Moe says:

    Well we certainly don’t want anything coming between the handicapped/pedestrians and their wallet not would we?

     
  18. Anonymous says:

     Or, less charitably: casino visitors are disproportionately low-income and without cars, so it is more necessary than usual (from a business perspective) to provide pedestrian access.

     

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