Home » Featured »MLK Jr. Drive »North City » Currently Reading:

Changes Along St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive

January 19, 2015 Featured, MLK Jr. Drive, North City 2 Comments

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and for the 11th year in a row, I’m posting about St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. (MLK herein). Unlike the past couple of years, this year offers no new projects completed or started. To check out changes I rode the #32 MetroBus on Thursday January 15th — the #32 runs on Cass until it merges with MLK West of Grand. Then on Saturday 1/17 I drove the length of the continuous portion of MLK — from East of Tucker to past the city limits.

This post covers the main changes I saw from last year:

  1. Modifications to ADA ramps, new crosswalks
  2. Buildings being torn down or that may be gone before next year
  3. Signalized intersections now 4-way stops
In the car I started at Tucker, the farthest East MLK is continuous, and headed  West past the city limits.
In the car I started at Tucker, the farthest East MLK is continuous, and headed West past the city limits in the suburb of Wellston.

1) DA Ramps & New Points to Cross MLK

MLK goes through multiple wards, areas built at different period and very different grids.  Within the last decade a major traffic calming project on MLK between Jefferson & Grand reduced travel lanes, protected parking lanes, installed new lighting, and replaced sidewalks. As I’ve written before, this multi-million dollar from-scratch project forgot to  make any provisions to cross MLK for the mile-long project. Now, years later, this is finally getting corrected as best they can after the fact.

The Jefferson-Grand had the greatest need, but this new work took place from end to end, where needed. These examples from East to West. For those unfamiliar, I often use public transit with a power wheelchair.

All along MLK Dr I saw evidence of new ramps and crosswalks. Hopefully the city will come back to fill in the asphalt gap -- I often need to report these as I encounter them.
All along MLK Dr I saw evidence of new ramps and crosswalks. Hopefully the city will come back to fill in the asphalt gap — I often need to report these as I encounter them.
One of my criticisms over the years has been a lack of places to cross MLK.This has finally been addressed.
This new crossing point is at N 22nd
Another view of the same. Lack of crosswalks is often an unintended consequence of street removal to create super blocks.
Another view of the same. Lack of crosswalks is often an unintended consequence of street removal to create super blocks.
mmm
I’ve personally had trouble getting to/from the bus stop on the North side of Leffingwell
Looking South-ish at Leffingwell
Looking South-ish at Leffingwell
Just West of Glasgow Ave
Just West of Glasgow Ave, looking North
Same new crosswalk, looking South
Same new crosswalk, looking South
New crosswalk at N Cardinal Ave, has been a 3-way stop for years, just no way to cross
New crosswalk at N Cardinal Ave, has been a 3-way stop for years, just no way to cross
I was driving this day but I'm usually in a wheelchair, I first saw this man East of Jefferson and now he's almost to Cardinal. He's in the street because the new ramps have those huge gaps that can't be crossed until filled with asphalt.
I was driving this day but I’m usually in a wheelchair, I first saw this man East of Jefferson and now he’s almost to Cardinal. He’s in the street because the new ramps have those huge gaps that can’t be crossed until filled with asphalt.
Where MLK meets Cozens a new channel was created for wheelchair navigation, lacks a point to pass when two meet each other. Sorry for the blurry image.
Where MLK meets Cozens a new channel was created for wheelchair navigation, lacks a point to pass when two meet each other. Sorry for the blurry image.
The crosswalk leads to where a new ramp was, based on Google's aerial, but a newer ramp was build midway between Cozens & MLK
The crosswalk leads to where a new ramp was, based on Google’s aerial, but a newer ramp was build midway between Cozens & MLK
Same type of channel to the West where Cass & MLK meet, again no place to meet anyone
Same type of channel to the West where Cass & MLK meet, again no place to meet anyone
Much further West, at Burd Ave, a needed crosswalk is now completed.
Much further West, at Burd Ave, a needed crosswalk is now completed.

If only the civil engineers had considered the basic idea that pedestrians need to places to cross the street.

2) Demolished or will be

I saw no evidence of buildings removed in the last year, but one was actively being razed and others will likely be razed rather than rehabbed/rebuilt.

2618 MLK
In November 2014 fire destroyed The Hit Zone at 2618 MLK, just West of Jefferson. According to city records he 2-story building was built in 1996. Click image for KSDK story on the fire
2618 MLK East side
East side view of the destroyed bar at 2618 MLK

b

mlk201518
5088 MLK, just West of kingshighway, had a big fire in the fall It was inspected/condemned on 10/30/2-14
1495 Stewart Pl, built in 1890, was condemned 12/24/2013 -- over a year ago.
1495 Stewart Pl, built in 1890, was condemned on 12/24/2013 — over a year ago.
mlk fav
I’ve been watching 5716 MLK for years, I love the design. After seeing daylight through a side window I drove down the side street (Shawmut) to see the back.
back
Unfortunately the roof has collapsed over the Western half of the building.
LRA 5746 MLK built in 1907
5746 MLK being razed brick by brick, built in 1907. A city (LRA) property
October 2009, Source: GEO St. Louis
October 2009, Source: GEO St. Louis
Last remains of the State Bank of Wellston, in Wellston. Click image for more information
Last remains of the State Bank of Wellston, in Wellston. Click image for more information
Passing by on MetroBus, April 2013
Passing by on MetroBus, April 2013

Many of these neighborhoods are depressing; lots of poverty, few jobs in the area. I’d imagine many residents would like a way out. Yet, efforts to bring investment and jobs would be labeled as gentrification. Not sure how to change the situation in these neighborhoods, but I don’t like watching them crumble.

3) From Signalized to 4-Way Stop

Two intersections that have traffic signals, now shut off, are 4-way stops.

MLK & Euclid is now a 4-way stop, the signals are turned off.
MLK & Euclid is now a 4-way stop, the signals are turned off.

The other is MLK & N. Sarah.

Peace…

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    You state that “Many of these neighborhoods are depressing; lots of poverty, few jobs in the area. I’d imagine many residents would like a way out. Yet, efforts to bring investment and jobs would be labeled as gentrification. Not sure how to change the situation in these neighborhoods, but I don’t like watching them crumble.” I agree with most everything except that efforts to improve the area “would be labeled as gentrification”. When an area is as derelict and depressed as this is, any efforts at redevelopment, at least initially, might be labeled as crazy, insane or Pollyannish, but I doubt that they would be viewed as gentrification. Residents, here, face little risk of being kicked out for tenants willing to pay higher rents; they’re more likely to be preyed on by predatory slumlords, and more retail would be the first step to bringing some stability to the area.

    Your other two points raise some interesting issues with government spending, as well. Converting signalized intersection to four-way stops illustrates two things, decreased traffic and declining budgets. Signals cost more to run than stop signs, so if they’re no longer needed, as they are along Jamieson in south city (at Fyler and Pernod), they should be removed. Four-way stops, below a certain threshold, are just as safe as signals, and can actually move traffic more efficiently, if they’re not spaced too closely together.

    On a micro scale, it’s good to see efforts to finally comply with ADA standards, citywide. On a macro level, it remains frustrating to see piecemeal, scattershot, investments being made that do little to either create a cohesive pedestrian network or to complement development efforts by the private sector. Would the city be better served if our dollars were spent to get things right (and complete) in the CWE, Cortex, TGW, TGS, TGE, Soulard, Benton Park and South City, instead of spending money in areas where no development is happening, missing sidewalks are forcing pedestrians into the street and there are far fewer residents, employees or customers? I know we want to be “fair”, but we also have limited resources (and limited will) to spend what needs to be spent to “get things right”, everywhere, citywide, anytime soon . . . .

     
  2. John R says:

    Hopefully the MLK memorial project planned for Hamilton gets done and spurs some surrounding retail activity. It would be great to see more quality mixed-use projects like the North Sarah Apartments built in the Vandeventer neighborhood throughout the area.

     

Comment on this Article:

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

Business at Tucker & Washington boarded their windows on Friday to prevent damage. ... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago  ·  

Emergency exit blocked at Culinaria, a Schnucks market, various exits blocked over the years. ... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago  ·  

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe