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Roberts Market Place at Kingshighway & Delmar Hostile to Pedestrians

The Roberts Market Place has opened at Kingshighway & Delmar, the site of a former Schnucks. Discount grocer ALDI, the only business so far, is the anchor. Unfortunately, it is designed to be driven to, not walked to.

Roberts Market Place on the NE corner of Kingshighway & Delmar
Roberts Market Place on the NE corner of Kingshighway & Delmar, click image for map link
The same corner back in April
The same corner back in April
Looking east along Delmar
Looking east along Delmar
Looking north along Kingshighway, a stop for the #95 MetroBus is circled in red
Looking north along Kingshighway, a stop for the #95 MetroBus is circled in red. Concrete barriers block the auto driveway.
The fencing blocks pedestrian access, except at the auto driveways
The fencing blocks pedestrian access, except at the auto driveways. Not welcoming at all
Looking east along Enright we see a family leaving ALDI
Looking east along Enright Ave we see a family leaving ALDI
An opening in the fence at the auto driveway.
An opening in the fence at the auto driveway.
At least a walkway was provided at one point
At least a walkway was provided at one point
Not a straight shot or wide enough if you meet someone, but as a bare minimum it works...except...
Not a straight shot or wide enough if you meet someone, but as a bare minimum it works…except…
Who fits between the carts & bollard? Certainly nobody using a cane, walker, scooter, or wheelchair! #adafail
Who fits between the carts & bollard? Certainly nobody using a cane, walker, scooter, or wheelchair! #adafail
Looking back at the problem from the opposite side
Looking back at the problem from the opposite side
Looking west toward Kingshighway
Looking west toward Kingshighway
Looking south toward Delmar
Looking south toward Delmar
Getting closer toward Delmar we can see the fence forces pedestrians to enter/exit via the auto driveway
Getting closer toward Delmar we can see the fence forces pedestrians to enter/exit via the auto driveway

Seriously? The one minimal pedestrian route from a secondary road is blocked by a bollard!?! As I mentioned in April, the site has been divided into three parcels.

Outline of the parcel Aldi purchased.
Outline of the ALDI parcel, the other two are just parking right now.
A hearing will be held on the 20th for a drive-thru fast-food restaurant at the Kingshighway & Enright parcel
A hearing will be held on the 20th for a drive-thru fast-food restaurant at the Kingshighway & Enright parcel

It would’ve been relatively easy to plan a north-south sidewalk through the site connecting Enright to Delmar, with a perpendicular walk connecting to the bus stop on Kingshighway. This would’ve provided a pedestrian route to all three adjacent streets and to all three parcels. Instead we’ve got another development that ignores pedestrians almost entirely.

The #97 (Delmar) bus and #95 (Kingshighway) bus generate lots of pedestrian traffic at this location. Many customers & employees of ALDI, a new drive-thru, and a third place will arrive on foot. Development in our neighborhoods should be designed to welcome motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This must be mandated, developers aren’t going to do it on their own — especially not in low-income areas where they do as little as possible.

— Steve Patterson

 

Large 19th Century Home Being Razed, 19th Ward Not In Preservation Review

The once-stately residence at 3630 Page Boulevard was used as an assisted living facility for years. Now the 1888 structure is being razed.

2009 photo of Page Manor from GEO St. Louis
2009 photo of ‘Page Manor’ from GEO St. Louis
Earlier this week
Earlier this week from the #94 MetroBus

The sad part is this property is in the 19th ward, so Cultural Resources wasn’t even given a chance to review the request for the demolition permit. Most of the city is in a “preservation review” area where trained staff look at requests for demolition, referring some to the Preservation Board for a decision on the fate.

Note: city records list the property address as 3630 Page Blvd, but Page Manor used the address 3636 Page Blvd.

— Steve Patterson

 

Tucker Offramp Now Open, Adjacent Land More Valuable

Yesterday MoDOT and city officials cut a ribbon to open traffic from I-70 onto the new Tucker.

An hour before the off ramp from I-70 to Tucker signs still weren't placed.  Only the right was opened, the left will be for I-70 traffic when the new bridge opens next year
An hour before the off ramp from I-70 to Tucker signs still weren’t placed. Only the right was opened, the left will be for I-70 traffic when the new bridge opens next year
The view of downtown motorists will now see
The view of downtown motorists will now see
Officials cut the ribbon opening the off ramp from I-70 onto the new Tucker.
Officials cut the ribbon opening the off ramp from I-70 onto the new Tucker on September 26, 2013.
The land surrounding thus on/off ramp is now more valuable.
The land surrounding thus on/off ramp is now more valuable.

With the new offramp, and the opening of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in 2014, the adjacent land is suddenly prime real estate. Will it be developed like most highway offramp areas or will it be more urban/dense/walkable? I don’t have any illusions the city will make any such demands so my only hope is Paul McKee comes through with a plan the surprises his many critics.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Lean Toward Expanding Proposed Modern Streetcar Line With Connections To MetroLink Light Rail

The poll last week had two related questions, basically how you’d expand the proposed streetcar through north & south city, respectively.

North:

Poll #1/2: From the options below, select how you’d extend the proposed streetcar line further into north city from N. Florissant & St. Louis Ave:

  1. N. Florissant>Natural Bridge>UMSL South MetroLink Station 14 [26.42%]
  2. None, I’d prefer light rail over modern streetcar 8 [15.09%]
  3. None of the above, don’t extend at all 7 [13.21%]
  4. Better to expand north from Lindell @ Taylor 7 [13.21%]
  5. Cass>MLK/St. Charles Rock Rd>St. Charles Rock Rd MetroLink Station 4 [7.55%]
  6. Unsure/No Answer 4 [7.55%]
  7. None, I’d take a route not listed 3 [5.66%]
  8. Won’t be anything to extend 3 [5.66%]
  9. St. Louis Ave>Goodfellow 2 [3.77%]
  10. N. Florissant>Goodfellow 1 [1.89%]

The option that was, at least partially, selected for a north extension of our light rail received the highest number of votes, though hardly a consensus. In that plan the light rail turned north at Goodfellow, whereas I proposed continuing west to UMSL. This would be about a 7 mile extension, perhaps built in 1-3 phases. Natural Bridge is excessively wide so the streetcar could run in a median, just as was planned with the light rail.  Nearly the entire route is suitable for densification without displacement. This could bring much needed jobs as well as new housing options.

Looking east on Natural Bridge at Newstead, March 2012
Looking east on Natural Bridge at Newstead, March 2012

This alignment would replace the current #4 (Natural Bridge) MetroBus route. Current frequencies range from 27 minutes to one hour, depending upon the time of day.

Some possible future expansions for the proposed streetcar line ending at N. Florissant @ St. Louis Ave
The teal route along Natural Bridge received the most votes of any one answer

UMSL is working on a plan to improve Natural Bridge, better connecting to the UMSL South MetroLink light rail station. A modern streetcar could be a great connection, helping deal with that first/last mile to/from light rail.

South:

Poll #2/2: From the options below, select how you’d extend the proposed streetcar line into south city from 14th & Spruce:

  1. 14th/Spruce> Chouteau> Jefferson> Chippewa> Lansdowne> Shrewsbury MetroLink Station 15 [28.3%]
  2. 14th/Spruce> Lafayette> Tucker> Gravois> Hampton 13 [24.53%]
  3. 14th/Spruce> Chouteau> Vandeventer> Southwest> Hampton 7 [13.21%]
  4. None, I’d prefer light rail over modern streetcar 5 [9.43%]
  5. 14th/Spruce> Chouteau> Broadway > River Des Peres 3 [5.66%]
  6. Other: 3 [5.66%]
  7. None, I’d take a route not listed 2 [3.77%]
  8. Won’t be anything to extend 2 [3.77%]
  9. Better to expand south from Forest Park @ Taylor 2 [3.77%]
  10. None of these, don’t extend at all 1 [1.89%]
  11. Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

Three readers provided their owner answers to this question:

  1. I’d like to see the route follow Jefferson, but continue south on Broadway
  2. 14th/Spruce>Gravois>Jefferson
  3. think about the goals of the whole system first

Like The goals for a streetcar go beyond just transit, they include:

  • Creating dense corridors.
  • Spurring new construction, creating construction & permanent jobs.

Looking at the votes here it looks like readers would prefer the south alignment to get into the heart of the southside rather than stay closet to Broadway/I-55. If we were to build the planned light rail instead it would go down Jefferson to Broadway and terminate in a park- & ride lot at I-55, with further expansion along the I-55 ROW into South County.

Some possible future expansions for the proposed streetcar line south from 14th @ Clark
The teal route along Jefferson & Chippewa received the most votes, though the pink route wasn’t far behind.

The south streetcar alignment that received the most votes would replace the current #11 (Chippewa) MetroBus which does a big “L” by traveling on Jefferson (north-south) and Chippewa (east-west). This would intersect with many existing bus routes, including the very busy #70 (Grand).

Right behind in votes was an alignment that would replace the rest of the #10 (Gravois-Lindell) MetroBus. Part of this bus route would be replaced by the original streetcar route on Olive/Lindell. Going down Gravois would cut through a big section of south city, connecting with east-west & north-south buses.

Thoughts?

— Steve Patterson

 

Polls: How Would You Expand Modern Streetcar Lines From Proposed Route Into North & South City?

I’m excited about the proposed St. Louis Streetcar, I’m a streetcar fan and the idea of living just a block away from the line has be overjoyed. Like out 20 year old light rail line, the streetcar primarily serves the city’s central corridor — downtown and parts west. North & south St. Louis wouldn’t benefit with the original route. I’ve lived 16 of my 23 years in St. Louis in north (3) and south (13) city, I know what it’s like to see millions spent on transit infrastructure with little personal benefit.

Even living downtown now I use MetroBus way more often than MetroLink, the bus is closer to me and my frequent destinations than light rail.

For the purposes of this post/poll I’ve made the following assumptions:

  • The initial streetcar line will open in 2017, aligned as proposed. 
  • The #70 MetroBus line on Grand will get longer articulated buses.
  • In-street light rail to quickly get north & south county suburbanites to ballgames won’t move forward
  • Modern streetcars are as much about economic development as transportation.

The poll this week is broken into two questions: 1) how would you expand the proposed streetcar line further into north St. Louis from the spur at N. Florissant @ St. Louis Ave. and 2) how would you expand the proposed streetcar into south St. Louis from 14th @ Clark.

Some possible  future expansions for the proposed streetcar line ending at N. Florissant @ St. Louis Ave
Some possible future expansions for the proposed streetcar line ending at N. Florissant @ St. Louis Ave. Grand is shown in yellow.

The north options I’ve listed in the poll are:

  • Cass to MLK to the St. Charles Rock Rd MetroLink station. This goes though areas in need of development, investment, & jobs, but doesn’t go very far north
  • West on St. Louis Ave to Goodfellow. This goes through areas also needing the above but runs through primarily residential areas while crossing major commercial streets.
  • N. Florissant to Natural Bridge, eventually out to UMSL south MetroLink. Natural Bridge is a wide right-of-way, plenty of room for a streetcar in the center.
  • N. Florissant past the cemeteries to Goodfellow. This goes farther north than the other options, possible connections to north county bus/streetcar
Some possible future expansions for the proposed streetcar line south from 14th @ Clark
Some possible future expansions for the proposed streetcar line south from 14th @ Clark. Grand is shown in yellow.

The south options listed all start by going south on 14th from Clark:

  • Chouteau to Broadway to River Des Peres
  • Chouteau to Jefferson to Chippewa to Lansdowne to Shrewsbury MetroLink
  • Lafayette to Tucker to Gravois to Hampton
  • Chouteau to Vandeventer to Southwest to Hampton

Poll questions for both north & south are in the right sidebar. As you can see these vary and cover different parts of the city. Variations in the street network between north & south city plays a role as well.

Please share your ideas for local modern streetcar routes in north & south S. Louis in the comments below.

— Steve Patterson

 

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