Home » Accessibility »Featured »Planning & Design »South City » Currently Reading:

ADA Ramp Behind Stop Line

October 24, 2013 Accessibility, Featured, Planning & Design, South City 18 Comments

Over the years I’ve been asked how I find things to write about, the answer is always easy: I go places like the grocery store, to dinner, or, yesterday, to buy a gallon of paint.

Able-bodied pedestrians follow the green line but those of us in wheelchairs must follow the red
Able-bodied pedestrians follow the green line but those of us in wheelchairs must follow the red

When cars are stopped at the stop line they still block the curb ramp. This is similar to a situation on Magnolia at Grand, I posted about it in 2007 (St. Louis Crosswalk Ignores ADA Ramps). That got fixed quickly by moving the stop line back, but this seems a bit more complex. The sewer inlet and light post (just out of frame) make a ramp a tight fit. Curb bulbs like a few blocks north on Grand would provide the space needed.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "18 comments" on this Article:

  1. Fozzie says:

    This is pretty small potatoes. Once again, the big picture is missed given city budgets and the number of intersections that ought to be redesigned. In the meantime, traveling four feet in the shoulder lane doesn’t seem too burdensome.

    • Yes, you’ve missed the big picture. Work was performed at one point using tax dollars. An small but unworkable situation was created with those tax dollars because the nobody, among many involved, caught the fact if a car stopped where it should, it would block the ramp. Mistakes like this should get caught on paper, not installed in concrete & paint.

      • JZ71 says:

        Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. We live in an old city and the sewer inlet (the biggest hurdle) predates the ADA by decades. The “easy” answer, moving the stop line to behind the current ramp doesn’t really solve the problem since most drivers stop where they can see the cross traffic, not at an arbitrary line, especially one that is “too far back” from the intersection. The big unknown is timing on when the light post was installed. There are many examples of these being installed in the middle of the sidewalk, with little regard to pedestrians. If it was done fairly recently, it IS an issue. If it was done in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, then, again, it boils down to dollars. Do we spend 10 times as much, or more, to move sewers and signals, in addition to installing a ramp? Or, do we focus on getting as many ramps installed, no matter how imperfectly, at 10 times as many non-compliant intersections? Remember, any trip is ended at the missing link!

  2. Tom says:

    It’s probable that the ramp location was intentional…an effort to make the best of a bad situation. So “tax dollars” were prudently spent and not wasted, IMO. It looks as if there may be a sewer inlet on the street side of the sewer cover. If that’s the case, city engineers simply located the ramp a few feet to the left to avoid tearing up the street, rerouting the storm sewer and spending 10 times what the effort was worth. So the major issue is that the disabled person has to wait a few seconds for the traffic to clear before proceeding to the opposite side of the street. We all wait for traffic to clear. I’d be more concerned about all the intersections in town without curb cuts.

    • moe says:

      What’s also not being taking into account is the actual number of people vs cars that use this intersection. This is NOT Magnolia and Grand …a somewhat busy intersection. This is McDonald. A one -way, little used side street. That means that there are infrequent cars waiting to get onto Grand and with few cars, pedestrians have a clear, useable, if somewhat jagged pathway. But hey, let’s spend thousands upon thousands so a scooter doesn’t have to roll an extra 6 feet to the left (pedestrians are still going to walk straight over the curb).

      • Do you have counts on pedestrians crossing the two crosswalks? I think it’s fair to say more cross McDonald than Magnolia each day, because of the library and more retail.

        I’d like to see the new Grand streetscape extended to Gravois in the next few years, taking care of this problem in the process.

        • moe says:

          I see it every day. At Mag/Grand there is the park, 2 senior complexes, school for the blind, and retail and an intersection of 2 – 2 way streets. At McDonald/Grand there is the library and residential, no retail ( it starts at Utah….500 feet and a bus stop down), and the Church across the street with a fenced playground/parking and 1 one-way street emptying into Grand with no opposing street on the other side of Grand. So yes, there is much, much less pedestrian viability at McDonald than there is a Magnolia.
          And yes, the plan for the Streetscape redo’s last segment is from Utah, pass McDonald, all the way south to Chippewa.

    • Look across the street, sewer inlet and ramp. The engineers were just lazy when this was done years ago.

      • moe says:

        The ramp you speak of across the street was redone when the Library was remodeled about 6 years ago, that would be why the two mis-match.

      • Tom says:

        Lazy? How can sewer-inlet placement be called “lazy”? Sewer inlets are simply placed at the lowest elevation of the natural grade. In street design, there are several factors that have to be considered when elevation adjustments are considered, including any effect on adjacent curb and/or sidewalk elevations, any impact on adjacent driveway approaches, intersecting street elevations/gutter flow lines, etc. Laziness has nothing to do with a decision to place an inlet in any given area. You appear to have a Viagra-reaction to engineers, architects and even certain construction personnel. Who is to say that both intersecting streets were constructed at the same time? If not, then elevation adjustments likely had to be made just to maintain water run-off and pedestrian accessibility. Sure…..entire streets can be removed, highrises can be disassembled and reassembled, houses can be raised, utilities can be re-routed, trees can be removed and replaced with saplings, etc, etc, etc,…..but at what cost? Sometimes it’s more prudent just to value-engineer the problem area.

    • samizdat says:

      “…10 times what the effort was worth. So the major issue is that the disabled person…” Hmmm, I wonder what the worth of a person with disabilities may be. Apparently not worth as much as other humans, much less an automobile.

      • Tom says:

        Yes, Samizdat, 10X! And if you didn’t have a constant hard on every time you comment on one of my posts–with all that blood flowing away from you brain– you’d recognize that in the business world–the real world–trade-offs are made. RE: the other part of your comment: I defer to you to place a value the life of a disabled person. Enlighten me, Samizdat! Dazzle me with some more of your shared ignorance.

        • moe says:

          Don’t about the hard-on, but I do know this is why “Reasonable Accommodations” was put into the wording of the law.

      • JZ71 says:

        It’s not about the worth of any individual, it’s about allocating scarce resources. We can either do 100 intersections “perfectly”, leaving 900 completely undone OR we can do 1,000 intersections imperfectly, creating a much, much larger network of accessible connections. If you want to double our sales taxes, yes, we could, in theory, achieve perfection in our lifetime . . . . or we could drive even more business to the suburbs, leaving us with the same unfunded, aging infrastructure issues that we’re facing now!

        • moe says:

          JZ…can you please make sure that those 100 intersections are the ones that I use? Just kidding of course, and you’re right. But to the City’s credit….we are going to have many, many good intersections in 25 / 30 years. We still won’t have all of them done, but we’ll be ahead of the game whereas St. Charles and the areas west of 270 intersections will have reached the end of their life span and need replacement.

  3. Eric says:

    Speaking of ADA, I just realized: Shouldn’t all bike lanes and bike sharing programs be illegal, because many disable people cannot ride bikes?

    That doesn’t sound very urbanist, but it’s the law.

  4. Todd Spangler says:

    The wheelchair access along Lucas Avenue to the east of my building out to 11th Street is very, very poor, and unfortunately, Lucas Avenue itself is also in wretchedly poor condition between 11th and Tucker. I lived in and around downtown Milwaukee for a number of years, and there is no comparison in regard to ADA issues between the two cities. The reality, however, is that St. Louis was devastated to a much higher degree by white flight and urban blight over the last 60 years than Milwaukee was, and I think that the more generally dilapidated state of the urban infrastructure in St. Louis is understandable in that context. I do see things in St. Louis slowly improving, at least in the areas that I frequent, but this is a now a city of less than 315,000 people with a substantial area of economically devastated urban landscape to deal with. It’s managed to survive turning into another Detroit, at least, even though the amount of population loss in St. Louis from its peak is nearly enormous.


Comment on this Article: