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Entrance Stairs Makes 19th Street Sidewalk Useless

November 1, 2012 Accessibility, Featured, Planning & Design, Walkability 5 Comments

Recently, on my way home from the Schlafly Tap Room, I ran into problem after problem.  At 19th there was no curb cut so I couldn’t continue east.

ABOVE: Can’t proceed when encountering a corner without a curb ramp. The opposite corner has a ramp that’s pretty useless without a ramp in this side of 19th St. Click image to view map.

As I had to do at 22nd to get to the Tap Room, I thought I’d go mid-block and cross at the alley. But turning south on 19th I discovered another problem newer than the granite curb.  A friend went with me a few days later to get pics of me on what’s left of the sidewalk.

ABOVE: The wide steps/wheelchair ramp for Jim Edmonds 15 Steakhouse makes the sidewalk on 19th Street almost impossible to use, my wheelchair barely fit between the stair and parking meter.
ABOVE: The width of the wheelchair ramp (right edge) is fine, it is the stairs that create the problem.
ABOVE: Close up you can see just how tight this sidewalk is now.

Based on city records, a $1.3 million renovation project took place in 2007 to create  I saw no separate building permit listed for an exterior ramp and stairs. I don’t know who’s at fault for this, but something has to change! The public sidewalk cannot be pinched down this narrow for private use.

Was it designed this way?  Perhaps, but my guess is a field change made the steps wider so the open door wouldn’t block the steps (see 2nd pic). However it happened, it should’ve been caught by someone in the city building department.

I see two solutions to be paid for by the responsible party: remove the extra wide part of this construction or take out the adjacent parking lane to widen the sidewalk. Neither will be cheap.  Just removing the parking meter might be marginally acceptable.

But wait, there is more!

ABOVE: Just trying to reach the alley so I could cross 19th St. I encountered big blue blocking my way, forcing me to squeeze past the stairs and find another route. .

The 3-story building contains multiple tenants, including  Jim Edmonds 15 Steakhouse on the first floor, insideSTL.com on the 2nd floor and a law firm on the 3rd.

I’m emailing this post to Todd Waelternan, Director of Streets, and David Newburger, Office on the Disabled, for action. I’ll be discussing this and other topics tonight with DJ Wilson on KDHX’s Collateral Damage show at 8:30pm.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. RyleyinSTL says:

    Looks like the situation there is a bit of a cluster f$%k. No doubt everyone involved was working in their little box and no one was looking at the bigger picture. The punishment for that will be paying for costly changes. I can think of at least 3 ways the design could have been done differently and still provided acceptable access for everyone.

    As for the dumpster….that is disappointing as someone is making a conscious decision to block the sidewalk.

  2. JZ71 says:

    One, if there is a double exit door at the top of the stairs (as it appears there might be), you’d also need to provide wider steps for the calculated occupant load. Two, much like how water flows downhill, the obvious solution here is to take out a couple of parking spaces and to push the sidewalk out into what is now the street.

  3. JAlexander says:

    As one last act in office perhaps Mr. Williams can have the parking meter moved closer to the curb, or (heaven forbid) just remove it entirely.

  4. JonCarter says:

    They could extend the yellow striped No Parking area and simply remove the parking meter.

    • JZ71 says:

      The parking meter is only one part of the problem on this block. The tree well is also an issue, and the dumpster is a bigger impediment (but the easiest to “fix”). The real issue (and an ongoing crusade for Steve [and one I support]) is that a) most people don’t think about pedestrians and b) the city is falling down on their job of protecting the public right of way for ALL of its citizens, and not just the adjacent property owners. The former will always be an issue (you can’t fix stupid, but you can continue to try and educate people), but the latter should NOT be happening nearly as often as it apparently does (otherwise Steve would run out of material for this blog). The city either issued a permit for this work/dumpster placement AND/OR failed to cite the owner for doing work/placing the dumpster without a permit. Either way, this merits a huge “FAIL”! I get it, the city’s staff is stretched thin and there will be occasional mistakes. But this is less than a mile from city hall and not that hard to check out – just do your job! And if you can’t get out of the office, require good, comprehensive plans (and, if necessary, photos), and not just a sketch or “rough drawing”. Other cities do it every day; there’s no reason why we can’t!


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