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Pedestrian Signal Activation Button Beyond Reach

Last week I was at Kingshighway Blvd at Devonshire Ave but I wanted to be on the other side of Kingshighway.

ABOVE: Looking west across Kingshighway at Devonshire Ave, click image for map

Most signals in the city don’t require activating the pedestrian signal but after I didn’t get the walk symbol I began looking for a button.

ABOVE: Crosswalk button is placed high and on the one side lacking a sidewalk

Oh there it is. Unfortunately, I can’t reach it because 1) it’s too high and 2) it’s at the one place on the poll I can’t reach because no sidewalk exists. After dinner I crossed Kingshighway at the other crosswalk, pressed the button but still no walk symbol. Complete pedestrian failure.

– Steve Patterson

UPDATE: Monday June 11, 2012 @ 9:15am – Just received an email from a city traffic engineer that this button was moved on Friday June 8th.


Currently there are "26 comments" on this Article:

  1. Eric432432 says:

    Is there an address to complain to about this? Did you complain?

    Also, I can’t tell from the picture how high the button really is. Something to give scale, like a person, would have been nice.

    • Fozzie says:

      I guarantee Steve complained.

    • Sorry, I didn’t have an extra person handy. I’ll be sending a link to this post to the Streets Dept and the Board of Public Service. It’s possible MoDOT, not the city, was responsible for this. Even if it had been lower, it wouldn’t have been reachable because it faces a planter, not a sidewalk.

      • JZ71 says:

        Bigger picture, what is the real problem?  This is obviously poorly designed and poorly implemented.  Someone in an office created a sketch / plan and issued a work order.  Several guys were sent out to install the button and the sign (and apparently explicitly followed a flawed plan/sketch).  Presumably, a manager or supervisor came by and approved the work.  This ain’t rocket science, but it does require a little thinking.  Multiple people did what they were told to do (poorly), yet there were no apparent consequences – the button’s current location is stupid!  Yet this is far from the only occurrence that one can find with city infrastructure.  Do our aldermen need to take a greater role in oversight?  Do we need a more effective head of the Streets Dept.?  Why is it up to citizens like Steve to point out the obvious?

        Rant done – two observations – one, the fact that the button(s) didn’t work is less surprising, and if no one complains, the city probably didn’t / doesn’t know.  The real test will be in how quickly they’re fixed.  And two, this White Castle was reconstructed fairly recently (if I remember correctly) and this may be a case where the new parking lot landscaping screwed up what was acceptable before the construction started, as in the button was installed before the landscaping.

        • These mistakes are frequent, quality control measures need to be improved or created. Why do we pay for such bad implementation?

          Location: pedestrian buttons should be reachable from the public right-of-way, not adjacent private property.

  2. JZ71 says:

    How was your dinner at White Castle?  😉

  3. JZ71 says:

    Upon further review (on the Historic Aerials website), it appears that the current structure, with a drive-thru, was built in 2006 and landscaping was added next to the pole at that time.  That would imply that this situation has existed unchallenged for 6 years.

    And, tangentially, it looks like the previous structure was built between 1971 and 2002 (probably in the 1970’s), replacing a smaller structure that was centered on the intersection.  I’m not sure what the urban design implications might be – just thought I’d raise the point, explore the history . . .

  4. Kevin B says:

    Really, that whole intersection is a head-scratcher, as they actually installed a stoplight across the way purely for vehicles exiting White Castle. Very odd.

  5. samizdat says:

    I’m sure the City ADA compliance office will get right on that…


    • I emailed this post to four people this morning, I just received a copy of an directive to get this changed.

      • RyleyinSTL says:

        For all the chop busting that people give the city (samizdat) I have found them to be generally snappy when it comes to smallish stuff like this.  I find if you actually take the time to report issues they will take care of them.  Most people don’t report; if the city isn’t aware of the problem they can’t do anything about it.

        • JZ71 says:

          I’ve also found them to be responsive, as well.  My issue is that this shouldn’t be happening in the first place – there’s no excuse for a poor design that is then cluelessly followed in the field – and it shouldn’t up to us, the citizens, to point out obvious design issues, like this one and like the bases for signals and lights that we find blocking pedestrian access at other intersections and along other sidewalks!  It’s as if pedestrians don’t exist (in some city workers’ minds) and that sidewalks are just some quaint form of urban decoration . . . .

        • msrdls says:

          Sometimes we look at things and look right through them and beyond, and we ignore the obvious. Case in point:  Hyatt Regency, Kansas City. Professionals who understood the loading on the stacked connections didn’t connect the dots. So what happened?  Several people lost their lives when the catwalk collapsed. Last week, I was in Fargo, ND and noticed that a sidewalk ends 20′ from a major street crossing, complete with disabled ramps and disabled crosswalks,  near a hospital. The condition has obviously existed for years, because it was obvious that the sidewalk had  been poured years ago.   I once worked on a project in which the brick shelves had been undersized and underused,  and they couldn’t support the weight of the masonry. The shelves deflected, and the masonry stressed and had to be replaced. Engineers had ignored the obvious.   Humans make all kinds of errors. The City is typically very vigilant about reviewing as-built conditions when contractors and architects/engineers meet with planning in the preconstruction meetings. But things happen, and things get missed. Kingshighway isn’t a wheelchair-friendly street, especially in that specific area, so it’s possible that no one before Steve had ever tried to cross it at Devonshire in a wheelchair. I play basketball once a week at St. Mary Mag’s gym, so I’ll take a look this weekend to see if the crosswalk buttons have been relocated yet.

          • I agree that things get overlooked. I got off the Chippewa bus and found Kingshighway to be no different than other streets. In fact I traveled father on it than I can on some downtown streets (9th, 11th). Also 114 people died in the KC Hyatt incident.

          • msrdls says:

            Don’t get your point. Does the fact that 114 people died have any bearing on the fact that humans make mistakes? Or does a count of 114 make the use of “several” inappropriate?

          • The latter, several was a huge understatement.

      • samizdat says:

         Well, color me surprised. Not necessarily because I didn’t think the City would take their time correcting the issue. Although I couldn’t resist having a little fun. The problem is that this should never been allowed to happen in the first place. I give the City a hard time, but as Riley states, they generally do a fairly good job in response to many of the issues for which I contact them, such as alley trash (yay, Dutchtown!), derelict cars, ill-behaved neighbors, etc. This is just one of those situations where the City–yet again–dropped the ball on these little things that should be a no-brainer. I mean, did the inspector really give the thumbs-up to this? I realize there are a lot of retired cops and tradesmen with connections to hire, and the pay can’t be that good, but can’t the City hire one, just one professional inspector who can oversee all of the other workers responsible for compliance. Maybe they need a training seminar to be brought up to speed. You know, something which drills into their heads that people with physical challenges are human beings, too. Frankly, I’m rather surprised that the standard base isn’t blocking the sidewalk; oh, how many times have I seen that? (and not just on pix on this blog; I get around a bit)

        Actually, I do know of one City inspector who is pretty good, though I recall he was talking retirement just a few years ago.

        I love the City…some of the her citizens, and employees, weeeeellll, that’s another matter…

    • I just got word the button was moved on Friday 8th, the day after I notified the city of the problem.

  6. RyleyinSTL says:

    The city has been improving this situation at some intersections by installing free standing poles away from the signals and nearer to the ramps.  I have seen this mostly with new construction. Hampton and Nottingham for example.

    • Will Fru says:

       Also at every intersection in the South Grand great streets improvements and a number of the crosswalks around SLU.

  7. Moe says:

    It was an oversight.  We have no clue if any questions were raised to superiors in the field and what if any (obviously none) were taken.  No, the City can’t be everywhere.  No, Modot can’be be everywhere.  It will be fixed.  Gees.

  8. moe says:

    Steve, as a disabled person, I would think something like the Social Secuirty Office moving out the Crestwood would be a bigger concern for you.  I know many, many disabled and elderly in the City that used the office on 4300 Chippewa. Now they will have to travel all the way out to Crestwood.  and even though it is still on the bus route, that is not the point.  It is about convinence to the taxpayers, esp the disabled and elderly.  Sorry, just had to rant

    • I and others use the Social Security office at 16th & Delmar, easily accessible from the #94, #97, and #99.

      • moe says:

        But there are more disabled and elderly in the South precients though.  It just sucks.

        • Yeah I noticed the office was closed when I passed by on the bus the other day, didn’t realize it was moving. I don’t have any data on where numbers of people live to judge need.


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