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A Detailed Look at the Streets of St. Charles

Last month I posted about the Streets of St. Charles after driving through it, see Indulge In Urban Living’ At Streets of St. Charles. In that post I wrote:

To most residents of St. Charles County this is more urbanity than they ever thought they’d see on their side of the Missouri River.

A decade or more ago this site would’ve been developed as a big box with an even bigger parking lot. Smaller buildings would’ve dotted the perimeter. Visitors would’ve been expected to arrive via car and to drive to reach other buildings on the site.  From my brief observations, it appears the planners have made sure pedestrians can reach every building via a sidewalk.

While I’m not going to give up my downtown loft to live here, it’s an improvement over old-school development patterns.

I didn’t feel I could be too harsh based on just driving through. So, later in February, I returned in my power wheelchair so I could spend more time there —  to see how well it works…or doesn’t. Within the project boundaries it works fairly well, they’ve made a much better effort than most developments to make sure each business is accessible as a pedestrian. Attempting to reach adjacent & nearby developments proved difficult, though the blame for that isn’t necessarily the fault of this developer.

To reach the Streets of St. Charles I took the St. Charles Area Transit's I-70 bus from the North Hanley station in St. Louis County, click image to see post in new tab/window
To reach the Streets of St. Charles I took the St. Charles Area Transit’s I-70 bus from the North Hanley station in St. Louis County, click image to see post in new tab/window

I arrived at just before 10am — in need of a bathroom. I knew the adjacent Quik Trip would be a good choice.  Just how to get to it.

I know the QT is on the other side of this, office building -- the first built on the site
I know the QT is on the other side of this, office building — the first built on the site
Staying on the sidewalk near the office building i end high up, overlooking the QT
Staying on the sidewalk near the office building i end high up, overlooking the QT
Continuing I'm down lower, but no access route from here
Continuing I’m down lower, but no access route from here
Back on the West side, on the lower sidewalk heading right toward the QT
Back on the West side, on the lower sidewalk heading right toward the QT
Even though planned and built simultaneously, nobody thought to connect them! Pavers were added to keep people out of the planter -- but that doesn't work for me.
Even though planned and built simultaneously, nobody thought to connect them! Pavers were added to keep people out of the planter — but that doesn’t work for me.
So I turn West, towered 5th St, to see if I can find a way into the QT
So I turn West, towered 5th St, to see if I can find a way into the QT
Looking back
Looking back
Crossing the drive heading South
Crossing the drive, heading South
The sidewalk on the QT side of the drive looks like it wants to go into the development -- but no.
The sidewalk on the QT side of the drive looks like it wants to go into the development — but no.
On the South (far) side of the QT now
On the South (far) side of the QT now
Found it!
Found it!
From the back side of the QT, looking North toward the office building -- no pedestrian connection
From the back side of the QT, looking North toward the office building — no pedestrian connection
From the front side of the QT, looking North toward the office building -- no pedestrian connection
From the front side of the QT, looking North toward the office building — no pedestrian connection
Back out along 5th St I see signs for the charming historic district ahead -- too early for lunch. Oh never mind, the sidewalk doesn't continue past this driveway
Back out along 5th St I see signs for the charming historic district ahead — too early for lunch. Oh never mind, the sidewalk doesn’t continue past this driveway
I'm back along the North St that connects 5th to Main, this woman parked in the parking lot, right, then walked through the planter to reach the crosswalk. Nobody seemed to plan a way for motorists to walk from their cars to the buildings!
I’m back along the North St that connects 5th to Main, this woman parked in the parking lot, right, then walked through the planter to reach the crosswalk. Nobody seemed to plan a way for motorists to walk from their cars to the buildings!
I headed toward Main St, the East edge of the development, The sidewalk here seemed narrow.
I headed toward Main St, the East edge of the development, The sidewalk here seemed narrow.
The parking garage entrance
The parking garage entrance
The pedestrian entry to the garage, the movie theater on the left
The pedestrian entry to the garage, the movie theater on the left
I went up to the top level of the garage. Here we see the back of the residential building -- which hides the garage from view
I went up to the top level of the garage. Here we see the back of the residential building — which hides the garage from view
Looking North from the top level of the parking garage we see site prep underway for the Drury Hotel to be built soon, I-70 beyond. My lunch destination is just out of view to the left.
Looking North from the top level of the parking garage we see site prep underway for the Drury Hotel to be built soon, I-70 beyond. My lunch destination is just out of view to the left.
Back on the sidewalk, heading East toward Main St
Back on the sidewalk, heading East toward Main St
Looking South along Main St
Looking South along Main St
But I want to see if I can get to the historic Main Street from here, since I couldn't via 5th St
But I want to see if I can get to the historic Main Street from here, since I couldn’t via 5th St
Heading North, about to go under I-70. The Ameristar Casino complex can be seen in the upper right
Heading North, about to go under I-70. The Ameristar Casino complex can be seen in the upper right
I must cross over to the East side of Main St to continue heading North
I must cross over to the East side of Main St to continue heading North
Good crosswalk, though pedestrian refuge in the middle would've been comforting
Good crosswalk, though pedestrian refuge in the middle would’ve been comforting
Looking back
Looking back
After going under I-70 the sidewalk suddenly ends -- just shy of the casino & hotel entrance drive and the South end of the historic district. So I turn around and head back.
After going under I-70 the sidewalk suddenly ends — just shy of the casino & hotel entrance drive and the South end of the historic district. So I turn around and head back.
As you can see I was close. The distance between this new development and the casino is only a half mile.
As you can see I was close. The distance between this new development and the casino is only a half mile.
I stayed on the East side of Main St, the AMC theater is on the left, the new hotel will be on the right
I stayed on the East side of Main St, the AMC theater is on the left, the new hotel will be on the right
The pedestrian crossing sign had been run over
The pedestrian crossing sign had been run over
It still wasn't 11am so I stopped and had a hot chocolate at Picasso's, ground floor of the residential building
It still wasn’t 11am so I stopped and had a hot chocolate at Picasso’s, ground floor of the residential building
I leaned public restrooms are in the adjacent hallway connecting the parking garage to the street
I leaned public restrooms are in the adjacent hallway connecting the parking garage to the street
There are several of these places to cross the center of the street or sit on a bench --- not ADA-compliant,
There are several of these places to cross the center of the street or sit on a bench — not ADA-compliant,
Heading North for lunch, the hotel will be built to the right
Heading North for lunch, the hotel will be built to the right
Looking West at restaurants under construction. In the foreground is another non-ADA crossing
Looking West at restaurants under construction. In the foreground is another non-ADA crossing
My destination is Pieology Pizza
My destination is Pieology Pizza
I can cross here, a raised crosswalk
I can cross here, a raised crosswalk
Construction workers to the West managed to put cones in the pedestrian path. I was able to move the first and go around the others
Construction workers to the West managed to put cones in the pedestrian path. I was able to move the first and go around the others
This is what most developments miss -- being able to access every building on the site. A Noodles & Co will open in the space next door
This is what most developments miss — being able to access every building on the site. A Noodles & Co will open in the space next door
Accessible crossing toward the future hotel
Accessible crossing toward the future hotel
Pieology Pizzeria is one of several quick pizza chains where each is made right in front of you
Pieology Pizzeria is one of several quick pizza chains where each is made right in front of you
My pizza & salad
My pizza & salad
After lunch I noticed the center median has a path, but it isn't really accessible because vertical heights are too tall
After lunch I noticed the center median has a path, but it isn’t really accessible because vertical heights are too tall
In the end, the feeling of urbanism is very limited to this block.
In the end, the feeling of urbanism is very limited to this block.

The internal site issues are pretty easy to correct, including a direct connection toward QT. Other problems, beyond the site, are more complex. St. Charles City, St. Charles County, MoDOT, etc all need to play a role in better connecting this site to its surroundings.

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "13 comments" on this Article:

  1. RyleyinSTL says:

    “NOBODY SEEMED TO PLAN A WAY FOR MOTORISTS TO WALK FROM THEIR CARS TO THE BUILDINGS!”

    This one always gets me. You’d think that developers/designers would at least think about pedestrians as they pertain to arriving in their cars, but no, they rarely do. This really demonstrates how little thought is given to any kind of pedestrian accommodation…despite the fact that we have ADA laws. It’s almost like the people who are responsible for these things have never been pedestrians themselves.

     
    • Mark-AL says:

      It’s hard to imagine that so many violations exist in that single development–one after another! The number of violations almost makes me question if a single developer is involved, or if there are multiple developers involved, each doing his own thing and ignoring the other developers’ plans. If that is actually the case, then the governing municipal authority has the responsibility to connect the dots of the overall accessibility design and to insist on each development’s compliance before permits are issue (or certainly before occupancy is granted) , and clearly that was not done. I’d be embarrassed to admit that I had any part of this design. What a mess!

       
      • This is one of the better multi[-building developments in the region. I wish more were half as good as this!

         
        • Mark-AL says:

          If there are multiple developers and if the municipal authorities have responsibility to make the overall design whole, then the responsible municipal authority needs to return to university to re-enroll in classes that address accessibility planning and design. If an independent civil engineering firm had single responsibility for the entire development, then the engineer of record needs to be replaced by someone who has a clue. Your comments are too kind.

           
    • Yet, so much time is spent planning for the circulation and storage of cars! Zoning laws are very specific about parking but largely silent on accommodations for pedestrians.

       
      • Mark-AL says:

        The pizza/salad is the most encouraging item in your post and would be the only reason that I’d ever go that this area of ST Charles to visit. Great pizza made with STL Provel cheese is hard to beat–there’s nothing like it anywhere, from my experience.

         
        • JZ71 says:

          You’re right, there’s nothing else like it anywhere else . . . for good reason – other areas won’t put up with its inherent nastiness!

           
          • Again, this is among the very best developments of multiple buildings on a single site. The lack of connection beyond the site isn’t any worse than most in the region.

            Those of you who drive most places fail to understand just how bad it really is.

             
          • Mark-AL says:

            I take it that you’re not a fan of Provel–or anything Provel-related! I’m sure it’s an acquired taste. Our family acquired it quickly when we first moved to STL from CA, where the pizza cheeses used are flat and the dough tastes like cardboard. I’ll take a slice of STL pizza made with Provel over any I’ve ever eaten elsewhere, including all over Italy where the pizza tastes no better than CA pizza. Whenever I’m in STL, I schedule a visit to Urzi’s Market on SW Blvd and purchase Provel cheese so I can bring it back to the kids, then they add it to frozen pizza bought from the markets.

             
        • This was real pizza, with real cheese — no provel.

           
  2. gmichaud says:

    You look at your photographs and you can see why St. Louis is in big trouble. Talk about hostile to humans, completely, and I mean completely designed for the auto. And if you are in a wheelchair it is ten times worse.

    It is so unattractive for human use to be unthinkable. It’s no wonder Americans are so f**ked up in the head. The urban environment has all of the charm of a cell block.

    This type of poor design is also being done to the city far too often when replacing historic buildings that once contributed to pedestrian activity. The new Quick Trip on Jefferson and Chouteau comes to mind. Although it is not as extreme as this example.

    I have to agree that the pizza looks to be the best part and the salad doesn’t look bad either.

     
    • Mark-AL says:

      I really must take back my initial comment about the pizza shown in Steve’s photo. Without Provel, why not just go to Schnucks, buy a Jack’s Pizza, throw away the pizza and dine on the box!

      But the salad does look good.

       

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