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Macklind Ave Is An Inaccesible, Incomplete Street

At the start of this month I had an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, to get a cast made for a new ankle-foot orthosis (AFO).  Orthotic & Prosthetic Design is located at 5467 Highland Park Drive, off of Macklind Ave. between Manchester & Oakland. I’d been there before, usually driving. Once via the #59 MetroBus on Oakland — which goes as far East as the Central West End. With my husband at work with our car, I decided to take the #32 MetroBus — no transfer needed. I boarded at 14th & Washington.

This is the Eastbound #32 I took, the Macklind bus stop is just West of the intersection. I snapped this photo at 9:21am on November 2, 2015.
This is the Eastbound #32 I took, the Macklind bus stop is just West of the intersection. I snapped this photo at 9:21am on November 2, 2015. Click image to map bus stop.
The lowered section here is to be able to cross Manchester, but it's filled with debris.
The lowered section here is to be able to cross Manchester, but it’s filled with debris.
I wanted to locate the bus stop for my return trip, it's East of Macklind. The concrete pad isn't accessible -- no sidewalk to reach it. I'm forced to take a different MetroBus and transfer at the CWE or travel further East or West on Manchester until I find an accessible stop.
I wanted to locate the bus stop for my return trip, it’s East of Macklind. The concrete pad isn’t accessible — no sidewalk to reach it. I’m forced to take a different MetroBus and transfer at the CWE or travel further East or West on Manchester until I find an accessible stop. Click image to view closer view on Google Street View.
I rotated back toward Macklind to show you how far away from the intersection I was.
I rotated back toward Macklind to show you how far away from the intersection I was.
To head North on Macklind I can't go up the East side. The sidewalk is missing behind the corner but just out of view is a curb. My only option is the West side, which is ok because my destination is to the West.
To head North on Macklind I can’t go up the East side. The sidewalk is missing behind the corner but just out of view is a curb. My only option is the West side, which is ok because my destination is to the West.
At 9:26am I get to 1249 Macklind, owned by American Pulverizer, and see there's no sidewalk. Rather than risk getting hit in the street, I risk tipping over on uneven ground. If it had rained I might have gotten stuck.
At 9:26am I get to 1249 Macklind, owned by American Pulverizer, and see there’s no sidewalk. Rather than risk getting hit in the street, I risk tipping over on uneven ground. If it had rained I might have gotten stuck.
In front of the Humane Society I reach Wise Ave -- no curb cut on either side. I decide to go West on Wide to cross over to the other side at a driveway.
In front of the Humane Society I reach Wise Ave — no curb cut on either side. I decide to go West on Wide to cross over to the other side at a driveway.
On the North side of Wise Ave I managed to slowly get past the parking meters next to the Pasta House headquarters, but then...
On the North side of Wise Ave I managed to slowly get past the parking meters next to the Pasta House headquarters, but then…
I couldn't get past a light pole because the slope of the grass. I had to stand to get my chair reversed, all while not falling or sending my chair over the curb into the street.
I couldn’t get past a light pole because the slope of the grass. I had to stand to get my chair reversed, all while not falling or sending my chair over the curb into the street.
So I returned to the driveway off Wise and rode back toward Macklind in the street. But I can't get onto the sidewalk. I had to choice but to use Macklind Ave -- going into a drive and to go around parked cars until I reached a curb ramp or driveway.
So I returned to the driveway off Wise and rode back toward Macklind in the street. But I can’t get onto the sidewalk. I had to choice but to use Macklind Ave — going into a drive and to go around parked cars until I reached a curb ramp or driveway.
The next point was the street I needed, Highland Park Drive. No curb ramps here either, but I was able to get over this curb. Others might not be able to.
The next point was the street I needed, Highland Park Drive. No curb ramps here either, but I was able to get over this curb. Others might not be able to.
My destination is at the end of the street, but CBRE decided their sign was more important than pedestrians, I went around but the slope & condition of the asphalt was another challenge in a difficult morning, I arrived right on time at 9:40am.
My destination is at the end of the street, but CBRE decided their sign was more important than pedestrians, I went around but the slope & condition of the asphalt was another challenge in a difficult morning, I arrived right on time at 9:40am.
After my appointment I headed North to Oakland Ave, at St. Louis Community College I encountered another curb. I used a nearby drive to once again go onto Macklind Ave to get around the lack of a curb cut. Whoever painted it yellow probably didn't think about wheelchair access.
After my appointment I headed North to Oakland Ave, at St. Louis Community College I encountered another curb. I used a nearby drive to once again go onto Macklind Ave to get around the lack of a curb cut. Whoever painted it yellow probably didn’t think about wheelchair access.

I did reach the bus stop on Oakland — in front of Paraquad.

When the Humane Society of Missouri opened their new headquarters nearly 18 years ago it seems nobody worried about pedestrians reaching the property — no sidewalk to the South and no curb cut to the North. Not sure how long the Pasta House Company has been in their location. And what if my destination had been on the East side of Macklind?

This morning I’ll email a link to this post to various people with the City of St, Louis, Metro, the Humane Society, American Pulverizer, the Pasta House Company, St. Louis Community College, Paraquad, and 24th Ward Alderman Scott Ogilvie. Hopefully they can collectively figure out a plan to make this area comply with the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990. Twenty-five years is long enough, this shouldn’t still be like this.

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. Fozzie says:

    How about you offer a real solution to this issue for a city that isn’t exactly oozing with money instead of your usual “someone ought to do something about this” bellyaching? How do you propose that this be fixed?

     
    • KevinB says:

      Steve’s overarching point in all these posts is that it shouldn’t *need* to be fixed. As an urban environment, all construction — private and public — should be checklisted for effective access in the right of way. Examples like this suggest the local government doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the pedestrian (and wheelchair-bound) experience, only that of the driver. While that’s hyperbole, since a majority of areas *are* accessible, it’s important to call out and (hopefully) remedy those areas that are not.

       
    • The first thing is for everyone to recognize that pedestrians do exist. For 11+ years I’ve helped raise awareness of this but this region is a bit hard-headed.
      The second thing is for people to think think about pedestrians when doing new work. The humane Society spent millions building their headquarters in the late 90s, yet they failed to notice the lack of sidewalk to the south or the last of a curb cut on the NE corner of their property.

      More recently a crew working for Metro poiured a concrete pad for the bus stop on Manchester. Did anyone involved in making that pad happen ask how it would be reached? Apprently no.

      Or the person(s) from the community college who painted the curb yellow, why didn’t they notice that it should be a curb ramp instead of a curb?

      In my email this morning I volunteered to work with stakeholders along Macklind Ave to evaluate the problems and seek solutions.

       
    • Bernard Finucane says:

      The city is broke because it wastes too much money on car infrastructure and fails to provide a liveable environment for humans. Your logic is backwards — the crummy public space is the cause of the city’s financial problems, not vice versa.

      I would offer the following short term solution to the dreadful state of bus stops all across America — why no sell ads at bus stops to finance them? This works well in Germany with a public / private partnership. See the link for an example.

      http://www.wall.de/en/street_furniture/case_studies/luebeck

       
      • JZ71 says:

        No, the city is broke because it has lost 2/3 of its population and many of its employers and businesses, yet it still has to pay the generous pensions it promised to its employees in better times, while it tries to deliver services and maintain its aging infrastructure, much of it a century old, or older!

        You’re getting into that chicken-or-egg argument mode – what caused the population decline, why the city isn’t growing like many other American cities and what should be done (and how) to attract new investment? The world in 2015 is, in many ways, different than the world was in 1915 (or 1940). We move ourselves and our goods in different ways. We communicate in different ways. We recreate in different ways and we live in different ways . . . than our predecessors did 100 or 75 years ago.

        We’ve pretty much realized that what we’ve always done hasn’t worked out as well as was planned, yet we’re stuck with these investments . . . and we don’t have a lot of extra resources ($$$$$!) to go back and do everything over again. The real question is how do we take what we have and make it stretch as far as possible? Do we focus on “up and coming” areas (like Cortex)? Do we focus on depressed or seriously-distressed areas, like much of north city? Do we spend a little everywhere, essentially contuing the current patch job? Do we raise taxes? Cut pensions? Cut back on services?

        It’s easy to say that we need “to provide a liveable environment for humans” or to assume that we can sell enough ads to pay for better bus stops. Part of the reason that bus stops are “dreadful . . . all across America” is that riders don’t take care of them – they (some, not all) leave their trash on the ground and/or vandalize the shelters and/or seating someone else erected for them! Add in the reality that print ads are a dying vehicle and digital ads are expensive to install and even more difficult to maintain, when some “humans” can reach and vandalize them on a whim, and advertisers only want to advertise in certain areas. The real issue is that we’re a community, and an increasing number / too many CHOOSE to be takers and abusers, instead of making real contributions, to grow our city, every day!

         
        • Bernard Finucane says:

          The city lost its population because it destroyed itself with bad planning decisions, including running massives highways through downtown and destroying entire neighborhoods for prestige projects.

          The current pattern is heavily subsidized. It didn’t “just happen”. It was misguided policy and completely unnecessary. The good news is that it is much cheaper to undo than to do.

           
  2. JZ71 says:

    We can build the Rams a new stadium, we can hire more police, we can divert/increase taxes so the Zoo can buy Grant’s Farm, we can pay retired city employees the pensions they were promised, or we can invest in “boring” stuff, like replacing sidewalks, adding curb ramps and improving bus stops (and transit, in general). It’s all about priorities, since we don’t have enough money to do everything every citizen wants the city to spend money on! The reason this (sidewalks) isn’t happening is that there are far more citizens who want to keep the Rams and try and reduce crime than care about a marginal pedestrian experience in a marginal, fading, industrial part of the city . . .

     
    • Mark-AL says:

      I don’t generally support utilitarianism, but I wonder if a choice were to be made between replacing the sidewalks and curbs along Mackland for pedestrians vs terminating city pensions, which of the two affected groups would be more adversely impacted? That issue aside, the right thing to do is for STL to continue the city pensions, forget about the new stadium and purchasing Grant’s Farm (let Billy Busch buy it!), hire several more policemen and upgrade (not entirely replace) the non-compliant Mackland Ave ramps and sidewalks sufficient to make the area usable. Then they need to figure a way to recover the $5M+ that HOK, et al. were non-competitively awarded (cost-plus) for their stadium design services,.

       
  3. Joseph Frank says:

    Most of these street and sidewalk conditions were in place well before 1990. Many of the light industrial areas in the city and inner-ring suburbs have similar conditions. I appreciate Steve’s efforts to point out the issues though. Unfortunately, these kinds of situations are the reason you so often see users of mobility devices traveling in the street – the sidewalks are just not reliable nor sound in many places.

     
    • neroden says:

      Really cities should have been fixing this stuff starting in 1968 when the Architectural Barriers Act was passed — cities were already taking federal funding for roads at the time.

      The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 is why the DC Metro, built way before the ADA, is wheelchair-accessible.

      I really have no sympathy with cities for any non-wheelchair-accessible construction built after 1968. There were sections on sidewalks and wheelchair access in my elementary school textbooks in the early 1980s!

      Admittedly some streets haven’t been repaired since the 1950s, but that has to be fairly rare, right?

       
      • JZ71 says:

        Streets, yes; curbs and gutters, no. Most cities “punt” the whole sidewalk issue onto the adjacent property owners, essentialy creating an unfunded mandate, to both install and to maintain sidewalks, for the larger, greater, public good. Guess what? Many property owners either don’t care / don’t “get it” or are actively opposed to the goernment telling / forcing them to do something / anything!

         

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