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Accessing The New IKEA St. Louis by Foot, Bike, Wheelchair, or Car

Last week I looked at Duncan Ave and how it ends at IKEA, from a visit on the 11th. Today we’ll look at the access points to IKEA from Duncan Ave., Forest Park Ave., and Vandeventer Ave., from a visit on the 23rd.

Ended last week's post on Duncan Ave. looking back West from the IKEA property line
Ended last week’s post on Duncan Ave. looking back West from the IKEA property line

I’d arrived at this point by coming East on Duncan. Today let’s travel the way many pedestrians will, from Sarah & Forest Park.  I got off the #10 MetroBus on Lindell at Sarah, then headed South., about a third of a mile

Looking South across Forest Park. The new crossing pedestrian refuge is just getting finished. IKEA is to the left, just out of view
Looking South across Forest Park. The new crossing pedestrian refuge is just getting finished. IKEA is to the left, just out of view
Looking back North after crossing, Hopefully the crosswalk striping will be done soon. Note that it's a straight shot from side to center to opposite side.
Looking back North after crossing, Hopefully the crosswalk striping will be done soon. Note that it’s a straight shot from side to center to opposite side.
The crosswalk at the East end of Duncan Ave wasn't painted when I visited on the 11th, but it had a basic upon return. This is within the public-right-of-way. 
The crosswalk & stop line at the East end of Duncan Ave weren’t painted when I visited on the 11th, but it had a basic upon return. This is within the public-right-of-way.
Now we start into the West entry to IKEA's site. Once the new MetroLink light rail station opens this may see a lot of foot traffic. IKEA uses the more visible 'continental' crosswalk on site. This auto drive leads out to Forest Park Ave.
Now we start into the West entry to IKEA’s site. Once the new MetroLink light rail station opens this may see a lot of foot traffic. IKEA uses the more visible ‘continental’ crosswalk on site. This auto drive leads out to Forest Park Ave.
Looking East toward the store, a construction truck is blocking the view & crosswalk, but they were trying to finish up.
Looking East toward the store, a construction truck is blocking the view & crosswalk, but they were trying to finish up.
On the 11th I was horrified to see four of these awful bike racks placed too close together. Upon inquiry I was told they were temporary, the permanent racks to be installed soon.
On the 11th I was horrified to see four of these awful bike racks placed too close together. Upon inquiry I was told they were temporary, the permanent racks to be installed soon.
Less than 2 weeks later excellent inverted-U racks had arrived & were installed. The employees using the racks need to be shown how to use them so their bikes are supported.
Less than 2 weeks later excellent inverted-U racks had arrived & were installed. The employees using the racks need to be shown how to use them so their bikes are supported.

Next let’s assume that after crossing Forest Park Ave I’d headed East to enter IKEA.  These photos are all from my visit on the 11th.

At the edge of the property is the only auto entrance on Forest Park
At the edge of the property is the only auto entrance on Forest Park
We continue East, after crossing this major in/out vehicular drive
We continue East, after crossing this major in/out vehicular drive
After crossing the drive we can clearly see IKEA beyond the storm water runoff collector
After crossing the drive we can clearly see IKEA beyond the storm water runoff collector
The first of two pedestrian routes from the Forest Park public sidewalk to the IKEA. Let's continue East toward Vandeventer Ave and enter on the other accessible route
The first of two pedestrian routes from the Forest Park public sidewalk to the IKEA. Let’s continue East toward Vandeventer Ave and enter on the other accessible route
Looking back we see the walkway crosses over the drainage area.
Looking back we see the walkway crosses over the drainage area.
At the other pedestrian entry we can look bak West toward Sarah. The parking lane along Forest Park remains, it would be nice if the city striped it with a solid white line to separate it from the outside drive lane.
At the other pedestrian entry we can look bak West toward Sarah. The parking lane along Forest Park remains, it would be nice if the city striped it with a solid white line to separate it from the outside drive lane.
Looking South at the IKEA entry
Looking South at the IKEA entry
From the walkway looking back North toward Forest Park Ave
From the walkway looking back North toward Forest Park Ave
Almost to the entrance
Almost to the entrance, disabled parking is on both sides of this walkway and under the building
In front of the entry looking North. Pedestrians have two ADA-compliant options for getting through the front parking lot. Every big box store needs to do this!
In front of the entry looking North. Pedestrians have two ADA-compliant options for getting through the front parking lot. Every big box store needs to do this!
From the 3rd floor restaurant looking North we can see the path we just used to get inside from the public sidewalk.
From the 3rd floor restaurant looking North we can see the path we just used to get inside from the public sidewalk.

Now let’s go out to the intersection of Forest Park Ave & Vandeventer Ave, the city has been busy trying to make it better for pedestrians.

Like we saw at Sarah, crosswalks aren't yet marked.
Like we saw at Sarah, crosswalks aren’t yet marked, so vehicles stop where they block the crossing point.
Looking North after crossing Vandeventer. Unlike at Sarah, the route here isn't a straight shot
Looking North after crossing Vandeventer. Unlike at Sarah, the route here isn’t a straight shot. 
From the pedestrian refuge in the median I see the curb ramp on the other side aren't finished. At this point I notice the pedestrian signals speaking for the visually impaired say "Forest Park Parkway" instead of "forest Park Avenue" The visual signs on the street lights are correct though
From the pedestrian refuge in the median I see the curb ramp on the other side aren’t finished. At this point I notice the pedestrian signals speaking for the visually impaired say “Forest Park Parkway” instead of “forest Park Avenue” The visual signs on the street lights are correct though
Got a break so I can cross
Got a break so I can cross..hopefully
Looking back South we see this side has a zig zag pattern too. This will become more apparent once the crosswalk stripes are done.
Looking back South we see this side has a zig zag pattern too. This will become more apparent once the crosswalk stripes are done.

And last let’s look at access points from Vandeventer Ave. With Saint Louis University nearby and a retail development coming across the street pedestrian volume in this area will rise sharply. These photos were taken on the 11th, 23rd, and 26th.

A new signalized intersection on Vandeventer Ave for IKEA Way, which is located about where the non-signalized Duncan Ave was. A new crosswalk was added to the South side of the intersection. Eventually the site to the East will be a retail development.
A new signalized intersection on Vandeventer Ave for IKEA Way, which is located about where the non-signalized Duncan Ave was. A new crosswalk was added to the South side of the intersection. Eventually the site to the East will be a retail development.  Sept 23rd
Looking North we can see the primary vehicular entry from Vandeventer, IKEA Way. Sept 11th
Looking North we can see the primary vehicular entry from Vandeventer, IKEA Way. Sept 11th
Turning again we see a pedestrian entrance up the hill. This is an ADA ramp, due to the grade it has periodic flat rest points, the side handrails weren't yet installed on the 11th
Turning again we see a pedestrian entrance up the hill. This is an ADA ramp, due to the grade it has periodic flat rest points, the side handrails weren’t yet installed on the 11th
At the top we see a clear path the entry, only having to cross traffic at one point. Ahead is the exit from the parking level below the building.
At the top we see a clear path the entry, only having to cross traffic at one point. Ahead is the exit from the parking level below the building.
This East view from the 3rd floor restaurant gives you an overview. Sept 23rd
This East view from the 3rd floor restaurant gives you an overview. Sept 23rd. The parking at the bottom is the “family parking” area

There’s a second entrance off Vandeventer for vehicles, and some pedestrians.

For those coming from the South, such as The Grove, this is the view along Vandeventer before reaching the pedestrian entry & IKEA Way
For those coming from the South, such as The Grove, this is the view along Vandeventer before reaching the pedestrian entry & IKEA Way
But navigating this would be a challenge
But navigating this would be a challenge
But they've got a sidewalk for pedestrians and a drive for motorists.
But they’ve got a sidewalk for pedestrians and a drive for motorists.
From the top we turn to the North and we can see the pedestrian route is clearly marked. Onward...
From the top we turn to the North and we can see the pedestrian route is clearly marked. Onward…
But we soon run into a major problem. If you can't see it that's part of the problem.
But we soon run into a major problem. If you can’t see it that’s part of the problem.
Here's a side view so help you see the uncovered drainage channel breaking up what appears to be a pedestrian route.
Here’s a side view so help you see the uncovered drainage channel breaking up what appears to be a pedestrian route.
The opposite view. which I encountered on the 11th when I almost didn't see it ahead
The opposite view. which I encountered on the 11th when I almost didn’t see it ahead
Another side view, this taken on the 11th
Another side view, this taken on the 11th
And looking out toward Vandeventer
And looking out toward Vandeventer

Obviously someone screwed up! This is a pity, they were doing so well too. Yes, they have other entries which are ADA-compliant, but this is just stupid — compliance would’ve been so easy had they provided a way to set in a steel plate/grate to cross over the drainage.  Someone is going to get hurt here.  Despite this mistake, IKEA did more than what is required by the ADA and St. Louis. Pedestrian access turned out better than I’d expected.

Other retailers & developers — please take note they have provided pedestrian access from all three public streets adjacent to their property!

As previously mentioned, the 2-story IKES is elevated over a level of parking
As previously mentioned, the 2-story IKES is elevated over a level of parking

Tomorrow I’ll take you inside the IKEA store, with photos I took last week following the media lunch & during Saturday afternoon’s family & friend’s day.

— Steve Patterson

 

Long Vacant St. Louis Union Station Reopened 30 Years Ago

Tomorrow marks 30 years since Union station reopened as a “festival marketplace.”

A festival marketplace is a realization by James W. Rouse and the Rouse Company in the United States of an idea conceived by Benjamin C. Thompson of Benjamin Thompson and Associates for European style markets taking hold in the United States in an effort to revitalize downtown areas in major US cities in the late 20th century. Festival marketplaces were a leading downtown revitalization strategy in American cities during the 1970s and 1980s. The guiding principles are a mix of local tenants instead of chain stores, design of shop stalls and common areas to energize the space, and uncomplicated architectural ornament in order to highlight the goods. (Wikipedia)

This occurred just as I was starting my freshman year of college — studying architecture. The reimagining of Union Station, and other historic buildings, was influential during my college years. Just 5 years before reopening, Union Station looked so bad its Grand Hall was used as the location of a big fight scene in Escape From New York!

As noted yesterday, I moved to St. Louis just 5 years after Union Station reopened. At that time the retail portion of Union Station was still doing well. It’s impossible to say how well it would’ve done if it hadn’t received competition from downtown’s St. Louis Centre mall and the Westroads Shopping Center not been rebuilt into the Saint Louis Galleria. Lacking big anchors the retail probably would’ve declined regardless of competition.

When it reopened in 1985 the midway contained glass retail booths. These have been removed, the midway is now event space. October 2011 photo
When it reopened in 1985 the midway contained glass retail booths. These have been removed, the midway is now event space. October 2011 photo

Some history:

On September 1, 1894 St. Louis Union Station opened as the largest, most beautiful terminal in the United States. This enormous project was built at the cost of $6.5 million. The gem of this new Station was the Grand Hall with its gold leaf, Romanesque arches, 65-foot barrel vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows. The most magnificent of these stained glass windows is the “Allegorical Window” which is majestically framed by the famous “Whispering Arch.”

Just beyond the Head house was the Midway, which was the midway point where friends bid farewell or welcomed home visitors from across the nation and around the world. In its heyday in the mid 1940’s, the Midway was the spot where over 100,000 passengers a day traversed on their way to or from a train. The platform area was covered by an enormous single-span train shed designed by George H. Pegram. This was not only one of the largest train sheds ever built, but it also covered the greatest number of tracks. After World War II, the general public began choosing other forms of transportation. In 1976, this magnificent station was designated a National Historic Landmark. Finally, on October 31, 1978, the last train pulled out of St. Louis Union Station. (Union Station)

What this doesn’t say is the newly formed Amtrak (1971) ceased using the head house a few years before the last train left in 1978. Many wished train service was still at Union Station, but the back in train shed just doesn’t work well for low volume train stations.

The Grand Hall in Union Station. Photo by William Zbaren from the book American City: St. Louis Architecture
The Grand Hall in Union Station. Photo by William Zbaren from the book American City: St. Louis Architecture — used with permission

Yes, the very same space where the Escape From New York fight scene was filmed. I’m very glad outside developers & bankers saw what locals couldn’t.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Second Lucky’s Market Now Open In St. Louis Region

In November I posted about the first Lucky’s Market in our region — occupying a space in Ellisville built by Straub’s just a few years before. If you haven’t heard of Luckty’s Market before:

The Lucky’s Market chain was started by a husband-and-wife team 12 years ago in Colorado. As two chefs, the couple wanted a grocery store for food lovers like themselves, so they opened their first store in 2003 to sell specialty foods at affordable prices.

“We really work to meet people on their personal food journey by simply making natural foods more accessible, and doing so in a comfortable and welcoming store environment,” said Krista Torvik, a representative of Lucky’s Market.

Lucky’s sells “never ever” meats, which have never been treated with antibiotics or artificial growth hormones. In addition, customers will be able to find local produce, fresh seafood and baked goods (like maple bacon doughnuts!), alongside bacon that’s been cured and smoked in-house and homemade sausage.

The market also offers ready-to-eat meats, salads and sides that are made in-store daily, plus fresh juices and smoothies at its juice bar.

For shoppers’ convenience, Lucky’s Market still sells consumer favorites like Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup, and the store has a bulk items section. (Ft. Lauderdale Daily)

The new location is at 9530 Manchester Rd, in Rock Hill, much later than originally planned:

The company originally planned to open the Rock Hill store in the first quarter of 2014, but was delayed while the developer, Webster Groves-based Novus Development Co., worked out a funding agreement including a community improvement district with the city.

In the year of delay, the store added over 12,000 square feet to the building plans, Chief Growth Officer Mike Phillips said. Though the company would not disclose construction costs, Vice President of Marketing Ben Friedland said it kept costs as low as possible by using refurbished and used equipment and materials in order to give customers the low prices the grocer advertises. (St. Louis Business Journal)

This is their 13th location nationwide.

The Rock Hill Lucky's Market during the building expansion.
The Rock Hill Lucky’s Market during the building expansion in November 2014.

For 5 years in the early 1990s I worked for a general contractor out of his house located exactly where this store is now! The Schnucks at Manchester & Brentwood is a mile to the East, a Dierbergs Market is a mile to the West — it opened when I worked in the area.

Monday we attended the soft opening as guests of a personal friend who works there. The store opened on Wednesday.
Monday we attended the soft opening as guests of a personal friend who works there. The store opened on Wednesday.
Inside the new Lucky's Market
Inside the new Lucky’s Market

With this Rock Hill location Lucky’s Markets operates 13 stores in 10 states. Five more locations are “coming soon” including one in an 11th state.

By comparison, Trader Joe’s has 457 locations in 39 states and Washington D.C., Whole Foods has 408 locations in 42 U.S. states.  In February 2013 Whole Foods announced a 3rd St. Louis area location, in the Central West End. It was supposed to open by this Fall — but will now open in 2016.

On the other end of the scale, we have local stores like Local Harvest & Fields Foods in the City of St. Louis. It would be interesting to compare the selection & prices at these local stores to places like Lucky’s Market & Whole Foods.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Majority of Readers Excited About IKEA St. Louis Opening Soon

In the recent Sunday Poll a solid majority (68.63%) indicated — no surprise — positive feelings about IKEA opening soon. Those who were neutral outweighed the negative, 19.61% vs 11.76%.

I don't like that it's set back from Forest Park Blvd, but glad they'll have two wide walkways from the public sidewalk through the parking lot to reach the entry.
I don’t like that it’s set back from Forest Park Blvd, but glad they’ll have two wide walkways from the public sidewalk through the parking lot to reach the entry.

I’ve shopped at 7 different IKEA stores over the last 25 years, always while traveling. This will be a new experience being able to go anytime I want. As rumors of the store were circling a few years ago I said, as a big box, it belonged in suburbia. I still feel that way. It lowers the bar for the redevelopment of the area. I can only hope that so many others want to locate in close proximity that everything about the IKEA is more urban than the IKEA itself.

Here are the results:

Q: How do you feel about IKEA St. Louis opening in 45 days:

  1. Excited 18 [35.29%]
  2. TIE 10 19.61%
    1. Somewhat excited
    2. Meh (Neutral)
  3. Very excited 7 [13.73%]
  4. TIE 3 [5.88%]
    1. Disinterested
    2. Very disinterested
  5. TIE 0 [0%]
    1. Somewhat disinterested
    2. Unsure/No Answer

Follow the various pre-Grand Opening events here.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

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

 

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