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Chippewa Road Diet, Bike Lanes, Pedestrian Lane

March 7, 2014 Bicycling, Featured, Walkability 5 Comments

Late last year Chippewa got a road diet using paint, not concrete. Four traffic lanes were reduced to two with a center turn lane, and a bike lane was added in each direction.  Under the railroad bridge between Gravois & Meramec was the part that confused me, with a wide lane to the right of the new bike lane. The other day I was finally in a place where I could get some photos.

Looking east you see the westbound  bike lane to the right of the orange cones.
Looking east you see the westbound bike lane to the right of the orange cones.
Looking west toward Morgan Ford
Looking west toward Meramec

Because of the railroad tracks pedestrians haven’t been able to  walk in an east-west direction along Chippewa. Up top the tracks are a barrier and the underpass was designed decades ago only for vehicles.  Online I found Chippewa Bike Lanes: A Review:

The pedestrian lane under the viaduct seems like a creative and appropriate solution to the problem of pedestrian connectivity along aging infrastructure. It is important that the pedestrian lane be separated from automobile traffic, and the traffic cones are obviously a temporary fix. We look forward to seeing the permanent configuration, and will update this post as the project evolves. 

Hopefully the traffic cones are just temporary, but replaced with what? The excellent images on the post Chippewa Bike Lanes: A Review show how lanes shift, with the risk of motorists ending up driving in the bike/pedestrian lanes.

— Steve Patterson.

  • wump

    civic center, leave downtown via tucker/gravois, then take chippewa to landsdowne to shrewsbury metrolink. thats a street car route that would be better than just shadowing the existing metrolink line.

  • JZ71

    Agree with the concept (better non-vehicular connectivity), disagree with the execution, here. This is a painted shoulder, no different than many rural highways, it’s not a sidewalk and it’s not a comfortable or an attractive place to be either a pedestrian or a cyclist. A better solution would have been shared 8’+ wide path, one shared by both cyclists and pedestrians AND is physically separated from the roadway, either with true curbs or jersey barriers. The real challenge will be long-term maintenance – who’s gonna keep the “sidewalk” area clean, free of trash and gravel, ice and snow? It won’t be the railroad or the adjacent apartment complex nor the self-storage facility. And if the city/MoDOT installs permanent bollards, it won’t be either one of them, either.

    • moe

      No. The better solution would have been to install a standard crossing walk at the tracks on top so bikers could resume going over the bridge. There is no need to have the tracks fenced off. Less than 200 feet to the north is Beck, which has an unguarded train crossing. The fencing is there to stop jumpers, etc. It no longer serves a purpose.

      • JZ71

        Unfortunately, railroads are working really hard to eliminate as many grade crossings, as possible. Given the one at Beck, it would be nearly impossible to do/keep/add one here, especially one just for cyclists and pedestrians.

        • moe

          3 to 5 feet of asphalt running from bridge to bridge, keep the fencing over the bridge proper to stop whatever crime may occur, fence in the asphalt with L-shape fencing on both sides of the sidewalk to keep the pedestrians from straying onto the rest of the right-of-way and both sides of the tracks …..16 ramps, 32 corner fence units. Wham bam, done. Cheaply. Meanwhile, the dangerous, faster vehicle traffic goes on un-abated underneath. I’m not talking the fancy gates with all the bells and whistles….just simple, small town, railroad crossing. There are 100,000’s of these all across America still. It’s a win for all.

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