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St. Charles County & St. Louis County Connected Via Public Transit

Five days a week people take public transit to/from St. Louis & St. Charles counties! No, MetroLink light rail wasn’t secretly extended over the Missouri River. No, MetroBus doesn’t serve St. Charles County either. “How”, you ask?

Just the way Madison County Transit enters the City of St. Louis, St. Charles Area Transit (aka SCAT), enters St. Louis County. In late February I took the last morning SCAT bus from the North Hanley Transit Center into St. Charles. Over four hours later, I took the first SCAT bus back.

The shuttle type bus used by SCAT.
The shuttle type bus used by SCAT at North Hanley. They can’t/don’t get close to the sidewalk for easy boarding via wheelchair. No curb ramp exists on the end so I had to backtrack to find the nearest ramp. .
I'm now at the nearest ramp to reach the white bus. Metro needs to add a curb ramp and/or SCAT needs to pull closer to the sidewalk.
I’m now at the nearest ramp to reach the white bus. Metro needs to add a curb ramp and/or SCAT needs to pull closer to the sidewalk.
The I-70 Commuter bus makes six stops in St. Charles plus one at North Hanley
The I-70 Commuter bus makes six stops in St. Charles plus one at North Hanley
I got off on the last stop -- the Streets of St. Charles, the driver is putting the wheelchair lift away. I'll post about that development on Thursday. Click image to see my initial post on it from February.
I got off on the last stop — the Streets of St. Charles, the driver is putting the wheelchair lift away. I’ll post about that development on Thursday. Click image to see my initial post on it from February.

We departed North Hanley on time — here’s the official schedule for the last SCAT bus leaving St. Louis County:

  • 8:55am North Hanley
  • 9:19am St. Joseph Health Center/Main St St. Charles
  • 9:24am Ameristar Casino
  • 9:31am Cave Springs Commuter Lot
  • 9:38am Zumbehl Commuter Lot
  • 9:46am Fairgrounds Commuter Lot
  • 9:50am Streets of St. Charles — where I got off
  • 10:16am last morning drop off at North Hanley

The route, logically, is designed to serve St. Charles residents needing to get into St. Louis County for the day. Just 30 minutes to go from the Fairgrounds Commuter Lot to North Hanley four times each weekday morning, starting at 5:44am!  Still, my bus from North Hanley into St. Charles had about 10 other passengers — people I presume were going to work.

In the afternoon the SCAT I-70 bus runs four times, starting at North Hanley at 1:38pm, the last on 5:59pm.

  • 1:38pm North Hanley
  • 1:45pm Fairgrounds Commuter Lot
  • 1:52pm Zumbehl Commuter Lot
  • 2pm Cave Springs Commuter Lot
  • 2:11pm St. Joseph Health Center/Main St St. Charles
  • 2:16pm Ameristar Casino
  • 2:20pm Streets of St. Charles — where I got on
  • 2:42pm arrival at North Hanley — next departure is 2:48pm

I’m so glad to see the City of St. Charles operating transit buses, connecting to the rest of the region — via St. Louis County. However, the webpage and route maps need improvement. Online maps for the four St. Charles routes must be viewed separately. No system map exists, at least not online.  Still, it’s a start.

— Steve Patterson

 

SUV Blocked Pedestrian Path At The Boulevard

Last Saturday morning we drove out to The Boulevard to get a gift at Crate & Barrel.  When we arrived and left a large SUV was parked blocking the crosswalk.

The owner was sitting in his SUV blocking the crosswalk when we arrived and when we left
The owner was sitting in his SUV blocking the crosswalk when we arrived and when we left

A person was inside, but I didn’t confront him other than giving him a dirty look as I slowly walked around with my cane.

This person was either:

  1. Waiting to pick up someone who was shopping, or
  2. Security

I emailed the property manager at Pace Properties, asking if this person was security. I’ve not heard back.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Monarch Levee Protected The Chesterfield Valley — This Flood

Flood waters are receding, but what an event — just 22+ years after the 1993 flood. After that flood, we built levees higher. Was that wise?  From late last month:

The rising Mississippi River and its tributaries are threatening to overtop 19 federal levees in the St. Louis area. (Fox 2)

One levee that wasn’t in danger was one that famously failed in 1993 — the Monarch levee. The “gumbo flats” area, now called the Chesterfield Valley, was flooded.

THF's Chesterfield Commons, with over 2 million square feet, is among many developments built in the floodplain since the 1993 flood
THF’s Chesterfield Commons, with over 2 million square feet, is among many developments built in the floodplain since the 1993 flood

Two outlet malls, a couple of car dealerships, and much more now exist only because of the 500 year levee. How bad is flooding elsewhere because the water can’t spread out here? As we continue developing more land we decrease absorption and increase runoff. Add to that more & higher levees and the situation doesn’t look good.

I have plenty of doubt the levee will prevent a flood in my lifetime, I think I’ll live to see all this development under water.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Readers Support St. Louis County’s New Minimum Police Standards

December 23, 2015 Crime, St. Louis County Comments Off on Readers Support St. Louis County’s New Minimum Police Standards

I’ll start this post with opinion from the Post-Dispatch’s Tony Messenger: Cities look foolish fighting against higher police standards:

It’s amazing, when you think about it, that 12 cities in St. Louis County are seeking to stop the ordinance. If they win, lower standards win out, too. If you live in Webster Groves or Clayton or Florissant or Hazelwood, or Kirkwood or Edmundson, your city is spending your tax money defending their right to have sub-standard police departments.

Why would they do this?

It goes back to the passage of Senate Bill 5 (also being challenged in court by multiple municipalities), which reduced the amount of traffic revenue cities could depend upon to fund their coffers. If you haven’t been hibernating since Aug. 9, 2014, you recognize this has been the strongest, and most unified across the political spectrum, response to the protests and unrest in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown.

Messenger is right, these municipalities don’t want change from the status quo. They know change could lead to them no longer existing. St. Louis County isn’t big enough in land area or population for 90 municipalities and 57 police departments.

More than 70% of those who voted in the unscientific Sunday Poll support the new standards:

Q: St. Louis County has issued new minimum police standards, but some of the 57 police departments object. Do you support or oppose county-wide minimum standards?

  • Strongly support 12 [44.44%]
  • Support 5 [18.52%]
  • Somewhat support 2 [7.41%]
  • Neither support or oppose 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat oppose 1 [3.7%]
  • Oppose 1 [3.7%]
  • Strongly oppose 2 [7.41%]
  • Unsure/no answer 4 [14.81%]

Change isn’t going to come easily, quickly, or quietly.

— Steve Patterson

 

Lemay Ferry (MO-267) Is A Pedestrian Nightmare

Yesterday I posted about the horrible pedestrian environment along the #12 MetroBus route in St. Clair County. I took that bus on Wednesday the 16th. That night, Fox2 ran a related story (Disabled man hit 3 times on Lemay Ferry, due to lack of sidewalks):

Tony Berding says he’s been hit 3 times by vehicles on Lemay Ferry.  Berding is disabled, and lives in a senior apartment complex in the 3600 block Lemay Ferry Road in South St. Louis County.  He uses a motorized wheelchair to travel to a nearby Quick Trip and Kmart.

Berding was struck last Thursday while traveling on a narrow shoulder along northbound Lemay Ferry.

That evening a reader messaged me about the story, but I didn’t have time to watch. The next morning I got a message from Berding’s sister, so I watched — horrified watching her brother use the narrow shoulder to get to the store. We messaged via Facebook, then text, and finally on the phone. This is about real people at risk because of how we have chosen to build our physical environment.

Lemay Ferry in South St. Louis County is far more urban than the area I traveled through in St. Clair County, I’ve taken the #73 MetroBus numerous times, most recently the morning of August 25, 2015:

A passenger got on at the SB stop across from Dierbergs
A passenger got on at the SB stop across from Dierbergs
I took a pic of a vintage convertible in front of the QT mentioned in the Fox2 story
I took a pic of a vintage convertible in front of the QT mentioned in the Fox2 story
I got off past Lindbergh, I met my husband for lunch at IHOP
I got off past Lindbergh, I met my husband for lunch at IHOP

What I hadn’t done is roll along the part of Lemay Ferry mention in the Fox2 story. After looking at it on Google Street View I saw just how physically impossible the West side of Lemay Ferry was, the East side isn’t great — but it’s passable. I decided I’d have to drive to photograph. Before doing so I did some research.

Fox2 said St. Louis County indicated they couldn’t afford to buy land for the right-of-way to build a sidewalk on the East side. Two problems here: Lemay Ferry is also known as MO-267 — it’s maintained by MoDOT, not the county.  Secondly, the right-of-way is 80 feet wide — more than enough width for four travel lanes, a center turn lane, and sidewalks on each side! More on this later, let’s take a look at the problem.

Not far into the County there are good sidewalks, but no pads for accessing the bus or routes to buildings set back behind parking.
Not far into the County there are good sidewalks, but no pads for accessing the bus or routes to buildings set back behind parking.
There are spots on both sides where there is no pretense of a sidewalk, such as this cemetery stop
There are spots on both sides where there is no pretense of a sidewalk, such as this cemetery stop
Even spots where sidewalks exist they don't always connect to buds stops/ The curb here makes this inaccessible.
Even spots where sidewalks exist they don’t always connect to buds stops/ The curb here makes this inaccessible.
Here's a spot where a wheelchair user has no choice but to use the shoulder. What about an able-bodied parent walking with a small child or pushing a stroller?
Here’s a spot where a wheelchair user has no choice but to use the shoulder. What about an able-bodied parent walking with a small child or pushing a stroller?
Just before Reevis Barracks the sidewalk & bus stop are excellent
Just before Reevis Barracks the sidewalk & bus stop are excellent
I was delighted to see a good connection to the adjacent bank!
I was delighted to see a good connection to the adjacent bank!
But pulling back out to Lemay Ferry I noticed the curb to the North
But pulling back out to Lemay Ferry I noticed the curb to the North
Many spots where you see a sidewalk on the West side they're located on private property, don't connect to adjacent property -- the drive where the car is exiting has a curb.
Many spots where you see a sidewalk on the West side they’re located on private property, don’t connect to adjacent property — the drive where the car is exiting has a curb.
Looking South we have the same situation. A private sidewalk not usable by those who need it. Decoration adding to water runoff issues.
Looking South we have the same situation. A private sidewalk not usable by those who need it. Decoration adding to water runoff issues.
We stopped to fill up the tank at the QT mentioned in the Fox2 story. For many convenience stores are their primary grocery store.
We stopped to fill up the tank at the QT mentioned in the Fox2 story. For many convenience stores are their primary grocery store.
Looking back North you can see what appears to be a sidewalk -- but it isn't accessible. It is, however, located in the PROW.
Looking back North you can see what appears to be a sidewalk — but it isn’t accessible. It is, however, located in the PROW.
How does a pedestrian get to the QT from the sidewalk? Up these steps from the side street!
How does a pedestrian get to the QT from the sidewalk? Up these steps from the side street!
From the next property to the South we see how the shoulder is the only option for anyone in a wheelchair.
From the next property to the South we see how the shoulder is the only option for anyone in a wheelchair.
A little further South we see a bus stop sign on a curbed island -- located in the PROW.
A little further South we see a bus stop sign on a curbed island — located in the PROW.
Looking South toward the apartments where Tony Berding has lived since 2001
Looking South toward the apartments where Tony Berding has lived since 2001
From the entrance drive looking back North. The QT is less than a 10th of a mile. Click image for map
From the entrance drive looking back North. The QT is less than a 10th of a mile. Click image for map
The Kmart is to the South
The Kmart is to the South
Pretty much the same thing heading South to Kmart. Curb after curb...
Pretty much the same thing heading South to Kmart. Curb after curb…
At the Kmart parking lot you see the only way in is the auto driveway
At the Kmart parking lot you see the only way in is the auto driveway

So why not just move? When you’re disabled and low-income housing options are very limited.  It has been 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act became law — St. Louis County & the Missouri Dept of Transportation need to prioritize this.

Below are two examples of dividing the existing 80′ right-of-way so still have four drives lanes & a center turn lane.

Two scenarios for the 80' right-of-way. The top version has the overly wide lanes currently in use and the lower has better 10' wide lanes. The ROW is wide enough! Click image to view larger version.
Two scenarios for the 80′ right-of-way. The top version has the overly wide lanes currently in use and the lower has better 10′ wide lanes. The ROW is wide enough! Click image to view larger version.

My guess is decades ago Lemay Ferry was a 2-lane road that got widened after people & businesses began moving to south county from south city. It went from a rural 2-lane to a 4-lane with center turn without any consideration for pedestrians. The 80′ right-of-way might have been in anticipation on more lanes of traffic — the land was subdivided before I-55 was even a dream.But MO-267, aka Lemay Ferry, is used by pedestrians. People use transit. Not all residents own cars.

It hasn’t kept up, but it needs to change.    Before someone gets killed!

— Steve Patterson

 

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