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Sunday Poll: How Do You Feel About IKEA St. Louis Opening In 45 Days?

IKEA St. Louis’ big blue & yellow box opens in 45 days.Today’s poll seek to gauge reader thoughts on this new retail option

 

Please vote above and comment below, the poll closes at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Work Portion of Live/Work Units Must Be Wheelchair Accessible

For a couple of years I’ve been watching & writing about changes at 901 Locust St. The former Board of Education building, built in 1893, was converted into loft-style apartments at least a decade ago. The ground-floor retail space, however, has struggled.

So the building’s new owner removed the old storefronts and installed new ones — more open. I questioned how these spaces would meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and building codes:

1103.2.13 Live/work units. In live/work units constructed in accordance with Section 419, the portion of the unit utilized for nonresidential use is required to be accessible. The residential portion of the live/work unit is required to be evaluated separately in accordance with Sections 1107.6.2 and 1107.7.

Live/work units are dwelling units in which a significant portion of the space includes a nonresidential use operated by the tenant/owner. Although the entire unit is classified as a Group R-2 occupancy, for accessibility purposes it is viewed more as a mixed-use condition. The residential portion of the unit is regulated differently for accessibility purposes than the nonresidential portion.

The floor area of the dwelling unit that is intended for residential use is regulated under the provisions of Section 1107.6.2 for Group R-2 occupancies. The requirements for an Accessible unit, Type A unit or Type B unit would be applied based upon the specific residential use of the unit and the number of units in the structure. The exceptions for Type A and Type B units set forth in Section 1107.7 would also exempt such units where applicable. For example, a two story dwelling unit above the work unit in a non-elevator building would never be subject to Type B requirements due to the exemption in Section 1107.7.2. The code does not clarify if a two story live/work unit with the business on the entire first floor and the residence on the entire second floor would be considered a multi-story dwelling unit for purposes of the exception in Section 1107.7.2.

In the nonresidential portion of the unit, full accessibility would be required based upon the intended use. For example, if the nonresidential area of the unit is utilized for hair care services, all elements related to the service activity must be accessible. This would include site parking where provided, site and building accessible routes, the public entrance, and applicable patron services. In essence, the work portion of the live/work unit would be regulated in the same manner as a stand-alone commercial occupancy.  (International Code Council)

In May 2014 I showed the new storefronts going in but obvious changes in grade along 9th St
In May 2014 I showed the new storefronts going in but obvious changes in grade along 9th St

Perhaps one big retail space with an accessible entry off Locust? A 24/7 pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens? Nope, the owner has built apartments on the ground floor — billing them as “live/work” units.

901 Locust
901 Locust

The six live/work units range from $1,295/mo for a 760 sq ft one bedroom to $1,995/mo for a 2,480 sq ft 2-story 2-bed unit. All include another entrance connecting to the building, but it’s not clear how disabled customers would reach these doors, if at all.

The live/work units facing 9th, and the one on the Locust corner, are not directly accessible from the sidewalk.
The live/work units facing 9th, and the one on the Locust corner, are not directly accessible from the sidewalk.
One space doesn't appear to be live/work, but it might be. Haven't checked this ramp yet but it doesn't appear to be ADA-conpliant .
One space doesn’t appear to be live/work, but it might be. Haven’t checked this ramp yet but it doesn’t appear to be ADA-conpliant .
Two live/work units do have accessible public entrances -- both off Locust
Two live/work units do have accessible public entrances — both off Locust
Unfortunately, I expect we'll see a lot of closed blinds
Unfortunately, I expect we’ll see a lot of closed blinds

If you rent one of the spaces without direct sidewalk access please note your business will be responsible for ADA compliance.

 

Festival Celebrates 10th Season At Tower Grove Farmers’ Market

June 19, 2015 Farmers' Markets, Featured, South City Comments Off on Festival Celebrates 10th Season At Tower Grove Farmers’ Market

On Saturday May 13, 2006 a new farmers’ market opened for business. I was there that morning and posted the following:

My first photo of Tower Farmers' Grove Market; 9:30am on the very first day.
My first photo of Tower Farmers’ Grove Market; 9:30am on the very first day.

The speeches haven’t even begun opening the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market but if the first few hours are any indication, it will be hugely successful.

Occupying a small paved area west of the Pool Pavilion (which itself is on the West side fo the traffic circle), the market was full and vendors and paying customers.

Organic produce, live plants, eggs and meats. Other local items such as handmade soaps, bread, and pasta rounded out the selection.

The only problem was really a good one, lots of people and bicycles. It was crowded but that added to the feeling of success. Had the same number of people and vendors been spread over a wider area it wouldn’t have been as good.

Bike parking was an issue so some secured their bikes to the fence of the nearby tennis courts or light poles. Hopefully before the end of the market in October some bike racks can get installed nearby. Joining the Friends of Tower Grove Park might help that cause.

I noticed many residents walking to the farmer’s market both from Tower Grove South and Shaw neighborhoods. That is really great as I’d hate to see so many cars in the park that someone starts thinking a parking lot is needed.

Big kudos to all the organizers, sponsors and elected officials (including Ald. Jennifer Florida), for making this happen.

Here are some more images I took that morning:towergrovefarmersmarket20062 towergrovefarmersmarket20063 towergrovefarmersmarket20064towergrovefarmersmarket20065Tomorrow it’s hosting a festival (8am-5pm) to celebrate the current season — the 10th:

We are thrilled to be celebrating our 10th Season at the mark of midsummer. We want everyone to come celebrate with us – if you only make it to one market each season, this is the one! You’ve made the market what it is today – a bustling weekly destination for dozens of local farmers and food producers and thousands of St Louisans – and we hope you will come celebrate the wonderful market you have built. We are staying open until 5pm to give everyone extra time to make it out! (Tower Grove Farmers’ Market)

I asked and conformed the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market is participating with other local farmers’ markets in a great program to get quality fruits & vegetables in the hands of low-income customers:

A new program at several local farmers markets will give low-income customers double the value for money spent on fruits and vegetables.

Under the St. Louis Farmers Market Association’s new “SNAP 2 It!” Program, recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, can get each dollar spent on these fresh foods matched. The program is modeled on others around the country that have been successful. (St. Louis Public Radio)

They’ll match up to $20! Congrats to Jenny, Patrick, and everyone else on the start of the 10th season!

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Rethinking Chariton Square

In May of last year I posted about a drive-in theater that replaced a quarry, itself soon replaced by I-55 (see May 26, 1954: South Broadway Drive-In Theater Opened).

The blue lines mark the approximate outline of the 1964 theater site.
The blue lines mark the approximate outline of the 1964 theater site. Click image for map to area.

In that post I indicated I would do a followup on ideas for the tired auto-centric Chariton Square strip shopping center:

In the coming weeks I’ll take a look at the commercial development along this stretch of Broadway and share my concept for an urban redevelopment.

But I got married a week later and never got to it. Recently a friend inquired about my ideas so here they are…finally. Before I get into my solution I want to show you some of the problems I hope to solve.

THE PROBLEM

As you head sSouth on Broadway it is bounded by handsome 2-3 story brick urban buildings, but this changes after passing Gasconade St one block further South 
As you head sSouth on Broadway it is bounded by handsome 2-3 story brick urban buildings, but this changes after passing Gasconade St one block further South. The large 3-story building is owned by Ameren.
South of Gasconade the pattern changes from from the established urban pattern
South of Gasconade the pattern changes from from the established urban pattern
Chariton Square was built on the 1960s when walkability & accessibility weren't considered
Chariton Square was built on the 1960s when walkability & accessibility weren’t considered
Even once inside the site getting from building to building is difficult.
Even once inside the site getting from building to building is difficult.
More disconnect from one building to the next
More disconnect from one building to the next
Lots of hardscape creates water runoff and separates pedestrians from storefronts
Lots of hardscape creates water runoff and separates pedestrians from storefronts
The old street grid was cut off.
The old street grid was cut off.

ONE SOLUTION

Let me preface this by saying this is a rough digital napkin sketch about what I think could physically be built to replace the existing strip shopping center. The intent is to trigger people’s imagination to see this as potentially being redeveloped in a different manner than it has been for the last half century. The only other vision I’ve seen put forward was as a park-n-ride lot for a light rail line, see Northside-Southside Light Rail Wouldn’t Be Good For St. Louis Neighborhoods.

KEY:  Lt Green: existing park space Gray: new buildings  Purple: existing green space to consider developing  BLUE LINE: New public  street, extensions of existing street grid  DK GREN LINE: New common plaza
KEY:
Lt Green: existing park space
Gray: new buildings
Purple: existing green space to consider developing
BLUE LINE: New public street, extensions of existing street grid
DK GREN LINE: New common plaza
Click image to view in Google Maps

NOTES:

  1. The best streets have a similar building type across the street, which is hard to accomplish in this narrow site. The extensions of Chariton & Meramec would help create quality urban faces on opposite sides of s street.
  2. Building on the open areas (purple) would help with changing the feel of Broadway.
  3. Broadway and all newly extended streets would have parking on both sides — angled on Broadway and Piedmont Ave parallel to I-55.
  4. Narrow drive lanes and curb bulbs would allow vehicular traffic to move but also be pedestrian-friendly. Protected bike lanes are possible on Broadway.
  5. The proposed buildings wouldn’t be monolithic masses, these might be several buildings within that newly created block.   They might be separated by  pedestrian-only street parallel to Broadway & I-55, depending upon the depth of the property. They might have structured parking in the middle surrounded by habitable building on all sides.
  6. The natural slope down to the highway would help facilitate a level of parking under some/most of the new buildings.
  7. A streetcar/BRT line could loop around this project. A light rail stop could be in the center of Broadway.
  8. The site has excellent highway visibility. Some taller buildings might have good views of the Mississippi River.
Minnie Wood Park at Meramec & Broadway is a great asset to the future development potential of the area
Minnie Wood Park at Meramec & Broadway is a great asset to the future development potential of the area
This 1920 property on Broadway & Chariton could be a part of the bigger project
This 1920 property on Broadway & Chariton could be a part of the bigger project
Two gas stations where Broadway & Osceola meet might become one urban station with building in front, pumps behind.
Two gas stations where Broadway & Osceola meet might become one urban station with building in front, pumps behind.

Again, this is a rough sketch of an idea that’s been bouncing around in my head. I wouldn’t expect anything to get built exactly as I’ve indicated. I would like to see residers of the 9th & 20th Wards to work on planning for the future of this area — coming up with a form-based overlay to guide what they’d like to see this become over the next 20-50 years.

— Steve Patterson

 

‘Bridge Bash’ To Start Removal Of St. Louis Centre Bridge Was 5 Years Ago Today

Five years ago today work began on reversing a mistake that had been in place for 25 years. The “Bridge Bash” event started with comments from numerous white men, followed by Mayor Slay operation the wrecking ball, pyrotechnics made breaking glass a little more exciting.  Here’s the video I uploaded from the scene — the action starts at 8:45.

St. Louis Centre was part of the ‘bring the suburbs to the city’ movement. The inwardly focused mall was a killer to the sidewalks downtown — especially under the Washington & Locust wide bridges connecting to Dillard’s & Famous-Barr, respectively.

Looking west from 6th Street on May 22, 2010
Looking west from 6th Street May 2010
Looking east along Washington Ave from 7th, February 2006
Looking east along Washington Ave from 7th, February 2006
Same view yesterday
Same view after the bridge was removed

Removal of this oppressive bridge and facing the ground level retail of the MX (formerly St. Louis Centre) has done wonders for this part of downtown. If only we hadn’t wasted decades trying to be like the burbs.

— Steve Patterson

 

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