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Proposed 17th Street Closure Would Reduce Safety & Security For Existing Residents Around Monogram Project

Over the last 8+ years I’ve written about the view from my balcony many times, including last Friday. Today’s post is about three locations I’ve covered separately: former CPI building, 17th St, and the former CPI parking lot:

Turns out the Kansas City developer isn’t keen on making 17th Street two-way as I suggested last year — he wants the city to abandon it for his private project. Board Bill 64 cites “Monogram Building LLC will use vacated area to improve safety and security.”  What about the safety of everyone else who lives adjacent? Not having access to 17th Street will reduce our safety & security!

Looking South on 17th St from Washington Ave, this bit is one-way in the direction we are looking
Looking South on 17th St from Washington Ave, this bit is one-way in the direction we are looking
This view looks at the intersection of St. Charles (1-way WB) and 17th toward Locust (2-way)
This view looks at the intersection of St. Charles (1-way WB) and 17th toward Locust (2-way)

I get it — they want residents in the Monogram to be able to park in the new building and walk to their building safely, but their safety shouldn’t come at our expense. We all use 17th Street to access Washington Ave via foot & vehicle. We have a vacant commercial space that’s visible from Washington Ave. Also cut off from access to Washington Ave would be the former Dragon Trading building, Blu, Leather Trades. etc.

This block of public property measures 50′ x 150′, or 7,500 square feet. Ideally 17th Street would remain public. But if the city will cave and butcher our street grid again. we get something in return. In exchange, the developer should give 16.5′ of the East end of the lot so the 16th St right-of-way would be 50′, instead of 33.5′. This is 2,475 square feet. This would permit two-way traffic (18′), parking (14′) and generous sidewalks (18′) on both sides.  They’d pay to reconstruct the West side of the widened 16th Street.

The significantly narrower 16th St is one-way northbound -- the opposite of 17th
The significantly narrower 16th St is one-way northbound — the opposite of 17th

Additionally, St. Charles St (which is a glorified alley) should be widened from 38 feet to 50 feet so there’s room for 2-way traffic. trash & recycling dumpsters, moving vans, etc.  A would require another 2,184 sq ft (12′ x 182′).

So we give up 7,500 sq ft in public property, but gain back 4,659 sq ft — a net loss of 2,841 sq ft.  I’d prefer a zero loss of public right-of-way, but if they rebuilt the West side of 16th I could see it as a fair reallocation that could benefit everyone.

I ask that everyone reading this post to contact their Alderman before Friday and ask them to vote against the bill as written or amend it as I suggest above.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

18th & Market St: Pedestrians Must Wait While Vehicles Turn Opposite Direction

Recently my husband and I were walking/rolling back toward our loft from the Union Station MetroLink Station. For some reason we were on the East side of 18th — usually I’m on the West side. However, both sides are equally poorly designed and maintained.

Anyway, we’re Northbound on the East side of 18th as we approach Market St and I notice something I’d never seen before: Northbound vehicles get a green light but pedestrians don’t get a walk signal while the left arrow is on. Since NB vehicles are turning left I get why pedestrians on the West side of 18th St aren’t given a walk signal. You’d never want to give pedestrians the ok to walk while drivers get a left arrow — like at Tucker & Olive and Tucker & Locust.

Why should pedestrians get a walk signal? Pedestrians have the right-of-way except in cases where vehicles are given a specific signal such as a left arrow. In this cases pedestrians must wait, but in the example the only turning cars would be NB ones turning right onto EB Market — they’d yield to pedestrians crossing the street — like most intersections. My guess is this is another instance where the city just didn’t think about pedestrian users.

Let’s take a look…

Vehicles have a red and pedestrians don't walk, click image to view location in Google Maps
Vehicles have a red and pedestrians don’t walk, click image to view location in Google Maps
Northbound vehicles get a green light, those turning left onto Westbound Market get a left arrow. But pedestrians on the West side still get a don't walk
Northbound vehicles get a green light, those turning left onto Westbound Market get a left arrow. But pedestrians on the West side still get a don’t walk
The don't walk remains as the left arrow goes yellow, then when Southbound traffic gets a green the walk signal to cross market comes on
The don’t walk remains as the left arrow goes yellow, then when Southbound traffic gets a green the walk signal to cross market comes on
Very quickly the pedestrian signal begins to countdown to zero
Very quickly the pedestrian signal begins to countdown to zero

Because still images can’t tell the full story I’ve put together a brief video:

Yes, another crossing at this same intersection is done correctly. If this were done right, pedestrians could cross Market St before Southbound vehicles get a green light and potentially make left turns onto Eastbound Market St — they don’ t get a left arrow so they must yield to Northbound vehicles and pedestrians crossing Market.

I see no reason why pedestrians don’t get a walk sign as soon as the Northbound traffic signal turns green.

— Steve Patterson

 

Shoddy Curb Ramp/Crosswalk At 16th Street & Market St

Lately I’ve been focusing on my pedestrian experience in the city, some recent posts include:

Today post is another example of poor quality work.  This isn’t about being a cash-strapped city — this is incompetence at all levels.

Looking West across 16th St at Market, note the location of the crosswalk relative to the detectable warning mat, click image for map to intersection
Looking West across 16th St at Market, note the location of the crosswalk relative to the detectable warning mat, click image for map to intersection
From the crosswalk looking toward the "ramp"
From the crosswalk looking toward the “ramp”
Here's a closer view of the ramp.
Here’s a closer view of the ramp.

Looking at Google Street View I know this was done by the city sometime between September 2009 and August 2015.  It was during this time the city took possession of the building from the federal government. I remember the old ramp, there are still some like it. It was done during a period when detectable warnings weren’t required, plus the location had no relationship with their crosswalk. But it was flush with the street.

The maximum vertical hight change allowable per ADA guidelines is 1/4″  — but this curb ramp is substantially higher than that. Sadly, it is very common to have greater than 1/4″ at ramps. Many are so bad I email the Streets Dept’s asphalt guy directly so they can do a non-compliant patch. Many things can be non-compliant, but still useful. This, and others, are hard to use and they damage the drive wheel on my chair. This would be very challenging for someone using a manual chair, and a trip hazard for a person walking with a cane or walker. In fact — this is a trip hazard for anyone walking here.

I have no idea if this was built by city employees or by a hired contractor. Either way, we’s never tolerate such shoddy work on our homes or cars — it shouldn’t be allowed in the public right-of-way.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis’ Riverfront Reopening Next Week

We’re all invited to a riverfront picnic next week, Thursday June 2nd.  No blanket needed — a 2,016 foot-long table will be set up, chairs provided.

From the official press release:

Great Rivers Greenway, the City of St. Louis, CityArchRiver Foundation and other partners invite residents from across the region to join them in celebrating the transformation of the St. Louis riverfront on Thursday, June 2. The organizations will be hosting a “Picnic on the Riverfront” event from 5:00 to 8:45 p.m., which will feature St. Louis’ largest-ever community picnic – complete with a 2,016-foot-long table with chairs – to commemorate the opening of the new riverfront beneath the Gateway Arch.

The official ribbon cutting on June 2 will begin at 5 p.m. on the overlook stage along Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard, with remarks from dignitaries and partners. Afterward, attendees can explore the nearby Mississippi Greenway, enjoy local music and educational activities for kids and purchase dinner from food trucks and other vendors. People are also welcome to bring their own picnic meal. An interfaith blessing will kick off dinner at 6:15 p.m., followed by an aerial photo of all the picnickers. The event will end with a brief fireworks display at 8:30 p.m.

“This new front door for our region celebrates the energy, adventure and awe of the mighty Mississippi and our iconic Gateway Arch,” said Susan Trautman, Executive Director of Great Rivers Greenway, the regional parks and trails district and lead agency on the project. “We invite people to bring their friends, family and neighbors from all parts of the region to celebrate.”

The renovation of the 1.5-mile stretch of riverfront includes the recently rebuilt Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard and extension of the Mississippi Greenway from the Biddle Street Trailhead south to Chouteau Avenue, with protected walking and biking paths. The entire riverfront was elevated an average of almost two feet to limit flooding, returning more days of the year back to the community for walking, riding bikes, sightseeing and special events. While the historic elements were preserved, such as the cobblestones lining the levee; new amenities such as benches, bike racks, lights, power outlets and a street-level stage will make the space more inviting for events and programs. The lineup for this summer and fall includes bike rides, walk/run events, the St. Louis Brewers Guild Heritage Festival, a free concert series with The Sheldon, swap meets and more.

Earlier this month, on May 8th, my husband and I decided to check on the progress from the Eads Bridge. First though, a photo from September 2015:

Work continues on the North end of Lenore K. Sullivan -- raising it was delayed by flooding. Click image to see September 2015 post with more images
Work continues on the North end of Lenore K. Sullivan — raising it was delayed by flooding. Click image to see September 2015 post with more images
Looking more complete on May 8, 2016
Looking more complete on May 8, 2016
Looking West from further out
Looking West from further out
Looking down river
Looking down river
Moving closer to downtown
Moving closer to downtown
Further West
Further West
Down on Lenore K Sullivan looking where Washington Ave used to be
Down on Lenore K Sullivan looking where Washington Ave used to be
Lenore K Sullivan Blvd is now higher
Lenore K Sullivan Blvd is now higher
Looking North from Eads Bridge, Laclede's Landing area on the left beyond the elevated tracks
Looking North from Eads Bridge, Laclede’s Landing area on the left beyond the elevated tracks
Further North, ML King Bridge in background
Further North, ML King Bridge in background
Looking back south toward the Eads Bridge
Looking back south toward the Eads Bridge
Now at the center, some steps will be hidden by the new elevation of Lenore K Sullivan Blvd
Now at the center, some steps will be hidden by the new elevation of Lenore K Sullivan Blvd
Still under constructions are four ramps from the top down to bottom
Still under constructions are four ramps from the top down to bottom
These ramp will be great for those of us in wheelchairs, pushing strollers, etc
These ramps will be great for those of us in wheelchairs, pushing strollers, etc
There will also be ramps down to the cobblestones
There will also be ramps down to the cobblestones
It appears a smooth concrete sidewalk will run along the base pf the wall next to the rough cobblestones
It appears a smooth concrete sidewalk will run along the base pf the wall next to the rough cobblestones
Looking South from the bike/job path
Looking South from the bike/job path
One of the smartest ideas is concrete bases for light fixtures, these can go under flood waters without messing up wiring
One of the smartest ideas is concrete bases for light fixtures, these can go under flood waters without messing up wiring

So bring food, buy from food trucks, or just show up on June 2nd. I’m looking forward to exploring from end to end. Access is best from Chouteau or Laclede’s Landing Blvd (under the King Bridge).

For more event information see:

I’ll do a complete review after completion.

— Steve Patterson

 

8th & Market: Vehicle Stop Line Where Pedestrians Should Cross 8th Street, No Marked Crosswalk

Last week, while we were out at 8th & Market. I noticed another design flaw in St. Louis’ pedestrian network.

There's a green light but no pedestrian signal, but that's not the main problem
There’s a green light but no pedestrian signal, but that’s not the main problem
The vehicle stop line is in direct conflict with the unmarked crosswalk
The vehicle stop line is in direct conflict with the unmarked crosswalk

This is between Citygarden and Ballpark Village/Busch Stadium. The stop line and markings are recent. The detectable warnings on the sidewalk/ramp are there to help guide the visually disabled. Vehicles must stop before the stop line — but pedestrians and vehicles can’t occupy the same space at the same time.

This conflict occurs more than you think, because many of downtown’s signalized intersections fail to have marked crosswalks. If a crosswalk were marked it would’ve been obvious the vehicle stop line would be back where the Buick is in the second image.

In the 11+ years I’ve been doing this blog at least two downtown traffic studies have been done. To my knowledge, no pedestrian study has ever been conducted.  Another example of nobody paying attention to what they’re doing.

D’oh!

— Steve Patterson

 

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