I love rail transit, but a problem with our MetroLink light rail system is getting from the stations to your destination. Last week I attended a meeting hosted by Trailnet at Shrewsbury City Hall, a mile from the station. I could’ve caught a bus that would’ve dropped me off at Murdoch & Shrewsbury Ave but I still would’ve had 4/10ths of a mile to reach city hall. It was decent out and my power chair had a full charge so I decided to “walk” the mile.
But first a little background information.
The Shrewsbury MetroLink station opened with the blue line extension on August 26, 2006.
Click image to view video of the arrival of the first train pictured above.
The Shrewsbury MetroLink station is located in the City of St. Louis, but the Shrewsbury city limits is the western edge of the commuter parking lot. The station has been open neatly 7 years now so there’s been time to better connect the surrounding neighborhoods to transit.
Okay, let’s head to Shrewsbury City Hall located one mile away at 5200 Shrewsbury Ave.
My planned route Lansdowne, Murdoch Cut-Off, Murdoch, Shrewsbury Ave, click map to view in Google Maps
From the station platform I could see the direction I needed to go to reach the Shrewsbury City Hall.
Looks like many walk up/down this hill
Others walk here, but I’d better find a sidewalk I can use.
Now I’m headed down toward Lansdowne Ave, sandwiched between the retaining wall on the left and the auto driveway on the right. Not a friendly environment!
At Lansdowne Ave I see pedestrians crossing the street without a crosswalk. I couldn’t cross here even if I wanted to because of the numerous curbs.
More pedestrians risking getting hit by cars
I stick to the north side of Lansdowne Ave and head west under the railroad tracks, the Shrewsbury city limit.
I want to cross Lansdowne Ave here but there is no curb cut or crosswalk to allow me to do so.
I’m able to use this crosswalk to reach the other side of Murdoch Cut-Off
But there’s no sidewalk on this side of Murdoch Cut-Off
So I returned to the intersection to cross Murdoch Cut-Off to reach the point I originally wanted to reach but couldn’t
After passing the gas station I discover there’s no sidewalk on this side of Murdoch Cut-Off either. It looks like many pedestrians walk in the narrow dirt path, I had to use the narrow shoulder. This point is about 400 feet from where I left the station property.
Looking back from where I’d just traveled you can see a bus stop encouraging pedestrian use of this area.
As Murdoch Cut-Off approaches Murdoch a sidewalk does exist.
But the sidewalk doesn’t continue, it turns and heads back east. This is about 1/8th of a mile from the station.
I head south on St. Vincent Ave, this view is looking back north from Notttingham. Only the west side of St. Vincent Ave has a narrow sidewalk.
The streets intersecting with St. Vincent don’t have sidewalks for the first block to Danbury Ave., I cautiously proceed in the street.
Once past Danbury Ave sidewalks are available
That doesn’t mean the sidewalks weren’t blocked at times. This owner had more room on their driveway before their garage door, more than enough to keep the sidewalk clear.
After I reached Shrewsbury Ave I went north to Murdoch to see where sou;d’ve been dropped off had I taken a bus. This point is about a third of a mile from the corner of the transit station property.
Looking east on Murdoch, the direction I originally thought I’d take. No sidewalk, only shoulder.
The north side of Murdoch has a sidewalk next to the apartment buildings only.
This is the bus stop heading back toward the MetroLink station, I caught a bus here a couples of hours later to return downtown.
Heading back south toward city hall I passed charming houses and the route was paved and easy to navigate. The distance was over a half mile but it was fine, the worst part of the journey was closest to the transit station.
Getting closer to city hall and the adjacent Wehner Park
Newer houses mix well with older houses.
The sidewalk just ends, dumping me into the street. No crosswalk or visible sidewalk into the Shrewsbury City Center complex grounds, just a sidewalk going east & west.
No way in on the east side of the auto drive.
No pedestrian route on the west side either, so I had no choice but to use the auto driveway
A pedestrian route along the east side of the auto driveway would be a direct path to the main entrance of the Shrewsbury City Center complex. Voters approved a bond in 1991 to pay for the renovations to city hall, the work was completed in 1993 — both after The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Leaving at night via the auto driveway. I’d imagine many neighbors drive here from just blocks away because that’s the message the design suggests.
My only other time here was Saturday June 17,2006 for a charrette on connecting St. Louis & Shrewsbury to the open MetroLink line, attended by residents, businesses and elected officials. I drove on that visit.
Given the substantial capital investment made in the MetroLink expansion and the commitment of sales taxes to help fund Metro I find it unacceptable that nothing has been done in nearly 7 years. Well, the sidewalk along one side of St. Vincent looks like it was done in that time frame, but nothing else looks different. Employees & customers should be able to walk from the MetroLink station to the businesses along Murdoch & Murdock Cut-Off. Shrewsbury residents living within a 1/4 mile of the station should have a easy walk, but they don’t.
I suggest the following action steps:
- Metro, St. Louis, Shrewsbury, Trailnet, etc. begin to examine ways to improve the pedestrian experience to/from the Shrewsbury MetroLink/MetroBus station.
- Shrewsbury begin to evaluate multiple routes from the station to destinations with Shrewsbury, starting with a walking audit. I’d be happy to participate. Dan Burden from the Walkable & Livable Communities Institute would be an outstanding facilitator.
- Shrewsbury work to add an ADA-compliant accessible route to the main accessible entrance of the Shrewsbury City Center complex.
I’m emailing various officials at Shrewsbury & St. Louis this morning to try to raise awareness and get some action.
– Steve Patterson