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Readers Want Walkability and Long-Term Jobs at NorthSide Regeneration

northside regeneration map
Map of project area

Last week readers at least 135 readers took the poll, indicating what they’d like to see as priorities at Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration project. Here are the results in the order the software listed, two answers tied for the the top spot.

Q: Paul McKee’s “Northside Regeneration” project is slowly moving foreword, pick your top 5 priorities from the following:

  1. Good walkability 76 [11.33% – TIE]
  2. Jobs for locals: long-term work at various pay levels 76 [11.33% – TIE]
  3. Rail transit connected to downtown 64 [9.54%]
  4. Urban form with adequate parking behind buildings 60 [8.94%]
  5. Safety 59 [8.79%]
  6. Mixed uses, incomes 52 [7.75%]
  7. Good street grid with short blocks 48 [7.15%]
  8. Architecture that IS historic looking 43 [6.41%]
  9. Hoodlum-free zone 39 [5.81%]
  10. Renovation of the Clemens Mansion 35 [5.22%]
  11. Many builders/developers, not just a few 33 [4.92%]
  12. Good bikeability 24 [3.58%]
  13. Something…anything ASAP 21 [3.13%]
  14. Jobs for locals: short-term construction work 17 [2.53%]
  15. Architecture that is NOT historic looking 11 [1.64%]
  16. Easy access to highways 8 [1.19%]
  17. Plenty of free parking 3 [0.45%]
  18. Suburban planning, big blocks and cul-de-sacs 2 [0.3%]

I agree with most of the items in the top 10, very glad to see “Good Walkability” tie with “Jobs for locals: long-term work at various pay levels” at the top, followed closely by rail transit to downtown and urban form. I do take exception with one item: architecture.

I was disappointed “Architecture that IS historic looking” got 43 votes, but “Architecture that is NOT historic looking” only got 11 votes. Buildings in 2014 trying to look like they’re from 1914 end up looking cheesy.  Other cities do a great job building new urban buildings that relate to the sidewalk and neighboring buildings without being faux historic. We need to drop the expectation that every new building be given a bit of red brick on the front and a fake mansard roof on top.

— Steve Patterson

 

Washington Ave Sidewalk Reopened

The last part of filling in the old railroad tunnel under Tucker was the NW corner of Tucker & Washington Ave. In January I posted the Last Remaining Corner of Tucker Project, at that time, 

Washington Ave sidewalk in from of the Bogen Lofts is now reopened.
Washington Ave sidewalk in from of the Bogen Lofts is now reopened.

The basement of the Bogen lofts extends under the Tucker & Washington sidewalks, requiring more work to to create the concrete top over the basement vaults. Up top the Washington Ave sidewalk looks the same as it did before, the bricks were reset on top of the concrete. I’m glad I can finally use the north side of Washington.

— Steve Patterson

 

Update: Chippewa Road Diet, Bike Lanes, Pedestrian Lane

Last month when I posted Chippewa Road Diet, Bike Lanes, Pedestrian Lane the project wasn’t finished, I was holding out judgement until complete. The project now appears to be complete, but I’ve only experienced it as a passenger in a passing vehicle.

Looking east you see the westbound  bike lane to the right of the orange cones.
March 2014: Looking east you see the westbound bike lane to the right of the orange cones.
Now the bike lane is separated from the pedestrian area
April 2, 2014: Now the bike lane is separated from the pedestrian area

I’ll take MetroBus there this Spring so I can check it out end to end using my wheelchair, paying close attention to the transitions from the sidewalks at each end. On the reverse trip we noticed lots of water covering the sidewalk on the south side of the street.

— Steve Patterson

 

Parking on 14th Street Sidewalk Continues

The sidewalk along 14th Street, just north of Clark Ave, has pedestrians throughout the day & night because of the Civic Center MetroBus Transit Center, Civic Center MetroLink station, and the Gateway Transportation Center (Amtrak & Greyhound), so the south. The sidewalks aren’r packed, but the pedestrian traffic is steady. When events are held at the Scottrade Center or Peabody Opera House the pedestrian level increases dramatically as people make their way to these venues. Sidewalk space becomes scarce, especially if you’re going again the flow.

The other day, as I returned downtown on MetroLink, and I headed north on 14th to go home, people were headed into the Scottrade Center en mass. This isn’t the first time I’ve posted about these sidewalks being used for vehicles rather pedestrians:

The examples above were on the east side of 14th, the other day it was the west side of 14th getting squeezed:

I couldn't believe my eyes...what kind of podunk are we?
I couldn’t believe my eyes…what kind of podunk are we?
Cars on the north side of the bus stop made it impossible for buses to pull up to the curb
Cars on the north side of the bus stop made it impossible for buses to pull up to the curb
Looking back south from next to the Peabody.
Looking back south from next to the Peabody.

The remaining sidewalk was tight as I met people heading to the event at the Scottrade. I find this unacceptable, I’m just not sure how to get it to stop.

— Steve Patterson

 

One ADA Issue at Fields Foods Corrected, Site Connectivity Issues Remain

In December I showed a blatant ADA-violation at Fields Foods, no ramps where the pedestrian route crosses a driveway. Once we got a break in the weather they began busting out concrete to build it how they should’ve in the first place. A friend and I took the bus there on February 22nd, I was pleased:

You can see the mew ramp in the foreground
You can see the mew ramp in the foreground
This ramp is also new, as is the crosswalk paint.
This ramp is also new, as is the crosswalk paint. Pedestrians entering from 14th or from the east still aren’t considered.

I’ve suggested ways to connect to the East once the last part of the site is developed, and I’ve suggested the route, above, be connected to 14th — assuming the 14th St entrance remains open. The other topic I raised was that of conducting multiple buildings within the same development.

The ADA also requires a pedestrian route between buildings within the same development, which wasn't considered here at all.
The ADA also requires a pedestrian route between buildings within the same development, which wasn’t considered here at all.

The other day we needed to get something from Walgreen’s & Fields Foods, I was able to see how easy it would be to connect these two.  Of course, it would’ve been much easier if planned in advance.

We drove to Walgreen's first. It was obvious connecting these two would be fairly simple by extending the Walgreen's sidewalk until it reaches Fields Foods.
We drove to Walgreen’s first. It was obvious connecting these two would be fairly simple by extending the Walgreen’s sidewalk until it reaches Fields Foods.
We then drove the short distance to Fields Foods.  Looking back we can see the direct route or connecting to the existing ramp at Walgreen's
We then drove the short distance to Fields Foods. Looking back we can see the direct route or connecting to the existing ramp at Walgreen’s.  Planned in advance, a sidewalk connecting these two would’ve been easy and been an asset to the development.

Some might say this would result in the loss of two spaces. I’d argue if planned right from the start no spaces would have been placed in the way. The drive aisles are wide, asphalt is everywhere. Poor site planning isn’t an excuse for violating the ADA. Given the proximity and lack of obstacles, it can’t be argued as not readily achievable.

— Steve Patterson

 

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