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Downtown>Hampton>IKEA>Downtown Part 1

April 18, 2016 Accessibility, Featured, Planning & Design, Walkability 5 Comments

The morning of April 6th I had a 9am appointment on Hampton Ave, between Columbia & Elizabeth. It was raining off and on that day. Today’s post is about the journey there & back.

I had originally planned to take MetroBus there, but I didn’t have any two-hour passes so I’d get a transfer for the 2nd bus. So I went to the Union Station MetroLink station, purchased a few passes, validated one, boarded a Westbound train to the Forest Park MetroLink station. Just before a Southbound #90 (Hampton) MetroBus arrived it began to sprinkle. I left home in a poncho to keep  and my wheelchair’s controller dry.

View out a Southbound #90 MetroBus on Hampton about to cross over I-64. Traffic was backed up on the highway and WB on ramp
View out a Southbound #90 MetroBus on Hampton about to cross over I-64. Traffic was backed up on the highway and WB on ramp

After taking care of business at two places on Hampton, I wanted to visit IKEA to shop and have lunch. The most direct route was a short ride on a Northbound #90 (Hampton) MetroBus, then take a #32 (Chouteau-Manchester) MetroBus to Vandeventer. But when I was ready to leave it was going to be a while before the next #90 arrived, I might as well just roll it.

I’ve gone up to Clayton Ave before, so I knew  I could manage — it was about 3/4 of a mile from my starting point to Lloyd Ave. where I’d go right to make my way down to Manchester (map).   As I turned off Hampton onto Lloyd I was pleasantly surprised a sidewalk existed — I wasn’t sure that would be the case. However, a the bottom of the hill there was no sidewalk along Sulphur. Well, there is along the East side, but because of curbs, I couldn’t get to it.

At this point I had two options:

  1. Roll on the Sulphur Ave roadway, or
  2. Go back up to Hampton, cross, reach Manchester on the other side.

Looking at the time I thought I’d miss the next #32 if I went with the safer #2 option. So, when there was no traffic I quickly rolled South to Manchester. Whew…

The ADA ramp to cross Manchester is covered in a fine gravel. I can power over it but others would have difficulty.
The ADA ramp to cross Manchester is covered in a fine gravel. I can power over it but others would have difficulty.
Looking back where I'd been
Looking back where I’d been
The EB MetroBus stop. I wish it had a curb at the far right edge to prevent backing up too far and rolling down the hill.
The EB MetroBus stop. I wish it had a curb at the far right edge to prevent backing up too far and rolling down the hill.
Looking West to see the #32 coming. In September I posted about the danger of reaching one bus stop to the West -- clock image to view that post
Looking West to see the #32 coming. In September I posted about the danger of reaching one bus stop to the West — clock image to view that post

So the #32 MetroBus came right on time, my transfer was still valid, and it had stopped raining. I’d get off at Vandeventer Ave and roll North to IKEA — about a half a mile. So I got off at the last MetroBus stop before Vandeventer Ave., just had to cross one side street first.

Hemp Ave is between the bus stop and Vandeventer, but no curb ramp is visible. But be just out of view
Hemp Ave is between the bus stop and Vandeventer, but no curb ramp is visible. But be just out of view
Nope, just 100 feet from a bus stop there's no curb cut! I found a driveway I was barely able to use to get onto the sidewalk
Nope, just 100 feet from a bus stop there’s no curb cut! I found a driveway I was barely able to use to get onto the sidewalk
Looking North I'd hoped to cross here to stay on the West side of Vandeventer -- but pedestrians aren't allowed ri cross at this point
Looking North I’d hoped to cross here to stay on the West side of Vandeventer — but pedestrians aren’t allowed ri cross at this point
So I crossed Vandeventer, them crossed Manchester. The sidewalk design makes it clear to not go East on Chouteau.
So I crossed Vandeventer, them crossed Manchester. The sidewalk design makes it clear to not go East on Chouteau.
QuikTrip thinks this is a compliant pedestrian route. It's not.
QuikTrip thinks this is a compliant pedestrian route. It’s not.
Heading North, but I see a problem ahead. Initially I thought no sidewalk existed after the building on the right
Heading North, but I see a problem ahead. Initially I thought no sidewalk existed after the building on the right
But the tiny sidewalk has been blocked by Laclede Cab. Looking at city records, the public right-of-way is as wide as it is ned to the building -- the sidewalk should be wider!
But the tiny sidewalk has been blocked by Laclede Cab. Looking at city records, the public right-of-way is as wide as it is ned to the building — the sidewalk should be wider!
Continuing, I'm almost to Market St. JJs Clubhouse, a gay bar, is to the right
Continuing, I’m almost to Market St. JJs Clubhouse, a gay bar, is to the right
Turning left, I can see my destination--almost there!
Turning left, I can see my destination–almost there!
Rough surface that would be a challenge for many
Rough surface that would be a challenge for many
When the side on the right is soon developed, this sidewalk will be redone. Still, this was great compared to what I had just experienced
When the side on the right is soon developed, this sidewalk will be redone. Still, this was great compared to what I had just experienced
But when IKEA was built one time section was left as gravel and my chair couldn't get up over the vertical edge -- not with me in it. Unlike many, I'm fortunate enough to be able to stand on level ground. So I got up and the chair could then get up to the sidewalk.
But when IKEA was built one time section was left as gravel and my chair couldn’t get up over the vertical edge — not with me in it. Unlike many, I’m fortunate enough to be able to stand on level ground. So I got up and the chair could then get up to the new sidewalk.
Looking back we can see the tiny section left unfinished and inaccessible for more than half a year .
Looking back we can see the tiny section left unfinished and inaccessible for more than half a year .
Finally, I can now cross to IKEA.
Finally, I can now cross to IKEA.

Combined with public transit, I can cover miles as a pedestrian in my wheelchair — though our public rights-of-way are far from ideal. Looking at Google Maps it suggests using Sarah to reach IKEA instead of Vandeventer — no matter where you start from: Commerce, QuikTrip, Laclede Cab, even JJs Clubhouse! Yes, if you’re at Vandeventer & Market where you can see IKEA it suggests you cross Vandeventer and go West on Clayton Road to Sarah.

This isn’t a lack of money issue — it’s a lack of concern issue. Money is spent building infrastructure that doesn’t work for actual users. This mentality needs to change!

Tomorrow’s post will be about my trip back downtown from IKEA.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Sebastian says:

    Awesome post, Steve. What a chore for you to get around!

     
  2. JZ71 says:

    And as you continue to dig into responsibility, you will find multiple “responsible” parties – MODOT, the city, Metro / Bi-State and individual property owners, along with a pervasive mindset that either “it’s been that way for years, what’s the big deal now”, “we have more important things to spend money on” and/or “nobody uses the sidewalk”, and all willing to point fingers, shirk responsibility and/or plead poverty.

    This also illustrates, in great detail, the point I was trying to make a week ago – that missing links are a far bigger challenge than a lack of walk signals or having to push a button to activate one. If/when the city (or any other agency) can find a million dollars to spend improving our local pedestrian environment, putting in sidewalks (where there are none), fixing the ones that are damaged and enforcing existing laws and rules about providing a clear path of travel (ticket people who park on sidewalks, block crosswalks or fail to maintain them, as required by existing ordinances) will do far more to improve accessibility than installing more expensive electrical devices (way more bang for the buck)!

    (And I continue to wonder why enforcement is such a low priority? Unlike building stuff, which costs money, enforcement should be revenue positive, it should be making the city far more money than it costs to hire, train and equip a dedicated crew. The only explanation I can come up with is that our aldermen are afraid of the blowback from people who will feel like they’re being “picked on”, now, after “decades” of it being “no big deal” . . . )

     
  3. Mark-AL says:

    I have a question: how/why is the QT ramp out of compliance? From the photo I can’t see a problem other than it dumps into a driveway.

     
    • JZ71 says:

      That’s the problem – the ADAAG requires a designated path of travel, not just smooth, continuous surface.

       
      • Mark-AL says:

        Maybe a gallon or two of white paint, a 4″ roller and a few hours of labor would fix the problem. QT appears to be a responsible retailer, and I can’t imagine they wouldn’t address the problem if it were brought to their attention.

         

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