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Duncan Ave Sidewalk A Challenge Because Of Solae’s 2008 Construction

When Solae built their new headquarters at 4300 Duncan Ave at S. Boyle Ave. (map) in 2008 they created a pedestrian problem.

ABOVE: Solae’s contractor left a wide gap between old and new sidewalk on Duncan

The contractor dug out the old sidewalk at the west edge of their properly to create an auto driveway. The driveway works great for autos but they left a gap in the sidewalk that’s hard to navigate in a wheelchair.  Solae and/or their contractor need to fix the situation. I’ve had to pass through here on numerous visits to Solae.

I’m emailing a link to this post to Solae’s facilities manager, hopefully they’ll see fit to fill in this gap. It won’t be perfect until the adjacent sidewalk is replaced but it can be made significantly better.

— Steve Patterson


That Last Mile To A Light Rail Station

Recently I posted about the lack of transit oriented development (TOD) around the Wellston & Rock Road MetroLink light rail stations (see Let’s Build Around Light Rail).  Both stations have been open for 19 years now.

For both I made my observations from each station and seeing a lack of connection in various directions. Last week I found myself 9/10ths of a mile from the Wellston station so I got to experience the problems area residents face in reaching that particular station. Before I get into the problems I want to explain why I was nearly a mile from that station.

Walkability expert Dan Burden was in St. Louis for a few days last week. Thursday morning a group met at the MET Center near the Wellston station and did a “walking audit” of problems we observed.

ABOVE: Looking west from the MET Center toward the Wellston MetroLink station. Parking is a barrier between the entrance and the station.
ABOVE: Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, click image for more info

The next afternoon a group met at the University City Library on Delmar at Kingsland (map) to discuss safe routes to schools.  I’d arrived by MetroBus (#97).  After the presentation we walking north to the new Pershing school. Well, it was very hot so everyone else drove and I made my way the 8/10th of a mile to the school.

ABOVE: Dan Burden and the group start to form a human traffic circle at Bartmer Ave & Ferguson Ave, the SW corner of Pershing Elementary School. Click image for map.

It was over 100 degrees and when we finished here the sessions were over, we were all on our own. A bus route was close but the sidewalk to reach it was blocked by construction at the school. I decided to “walk” to the Wellston Station in my power chair.  I’m not sure when I left University City and entered Wellston.

ABOVE: Habitat is building new houses on Bartmer Ave. This is looking east at Kingsland Ave, one block east of Pershing School. The police car is from University City.
ABOVE: Looking east on Etzel Ave from 66th Street

The housing stock in Wellston appears older and not as nice even when new as the housing in nearby University City. Though modest, I didn’t feel unsafe in what many would consider a “bad area.”  I encountered no one, probably because of the excessive heat.  The  sidewalks were all complete and passable until I got out of the residential area and into the industrial area near the station. Sixty-sixth street only had fragments of sidewalks, I ended up in the roadway.

The last part of my trip would take me through Robert L. Powell Park.

ABOVE: The last part of the journey would take me through Powell Park

I’d seen the park on map before and got up to it back in April to see the sign facing Metro’s largely empty parking lot.

The park was dedicated to Wellston Mayor Powell in 1993. In 1998 Mayor Powell resigned after being sentenced to a year in jail for using tax dollars to fund his reelection campaign and celebration party. Click image for more info.

The park is appropriately named because it’s a disgrace.

ABOVE: Powell Park is a giant square of grass with zero improvements.
ABOVE: Over the last 19 years residents have worn a clear path across the open field…ur, park
ABOVE: I went as far as I could but the grade dropped off. I had to go west to get to a point where I could get onto Metro’s parking lot.
ABOVE: For 19 years people have been walking up/down this steep & dirty incline to reach transit.
ABOVE: After the shortcut through the park the residents still have to walk through a parking lot. Pedestrians shouldn’t have to walk through a parking lot, they’re among the least appealing places to walk.

Once I reached the station I didn’t catch the train, instead I got on the #94 (Page) MetroBus since that’d drop me off only a block from my loft. It’s clear to me that in the last two decades nobody has done anything to make it easier for Wellston residents to get to transit. What can/should be done?

  1. Replace sidewalks along 66th Street.
  2. Pave path through Powell Park, plant shade trees along path and have a few benches and a water fountain. Will require a ramp to navigate the grade change.
  3. Rename the park something besides a disgraced former mayor.
  4. Develop the parking lot, provide a nice sidewalk to reach the light rail platforms and bus stops.
I’m sure many of you can list numerous reasons why my list can’t/shouldn’t happen. I’m not interested. I’m interested in thoughts on how the type of connection that should have been built 19 years ago  can finally get done.

– Steve Patterson


Olive/Lindell Becoming More Accessible

June 16, 2012 Accessibility, Featured Comments Off on Olive/Lindell Becoming More Accessible

Some streets are more accessible than others, Olive Street was kinda in the middle of the pack based on my experience. But   lately the city has been working hard to replace poorly designed ADA ramps and install ramps where none existed. On a recent trip on the #10 bus I photographed some of the improvements.

ABOVE: A senior citizen crosses Jefferson at Olive, the ADA ramps at this intersection were recently redone
ABOVE: The NW corner of Olive St at Beaumont St. never had an ADA ramp, but it finally will

North Beaumont St. was a point where no ramp existed on the west side of the street. When I used to vote at the Heritage House across Olive I had to find mid-block points to cross from east to west.  Crews have worked very fast too.

I went to the optical place in Lindell Marketplace at Lindell & Sarah recently, when I arrived equipment was ready to bust out the old. By the time I left my eye exam the old was gone, presenting a bit of s challenge  for me. A week later when I returned to get my new glasses I had a contingency plan on hoe to reach my destination but it wasn’t needed, the new ramps were finished.

– Steve Patterson


Pedestrian Signal Activation Button Beyond Reach

Last week I was at Kingshighway Blvd at Devonshire Ave but I wanted to be on the other side of Kingshighway.

ABOVE: Looking west across Kingshighway at Devonshire Ave, click image for map

Most signals in the city don’t require activating the pedestrian signal but after I didn’t get the walk symbol I began looking for a button.

ABOVE: Crosswalk button is placed high and on the one side lacking a sidewalk

Oh there it is. Unfortunately, I can’t reach it because 1) it’s too high and 2) it’s at the one place on the poll I can’t reach because no sidewalk exists. After dinner I crossed Kingshighway at the other crosswalk, pressed the button but still no walk symbol. Complete pedestrian failure.

– Steve Patterson

UPDATE: Monday June 11, 2012 @ 9:15am – Just received an email from a city traffic engineer that this button was moved on Friday June 8th.


Power Wheelchairs Aren’t Vehicles

I use a power wheelchair when I go out for a long “walk” or if I’m using mass transit. In doing so I stick to the sidewalks and crosswalks as best I can, I know this is safer for me. But others seem to think their chairs are vehicles. I’ve posted before about wheelchair users in the street. Recently I saw one in the street that had me and everyone on the bus in shock:

ABOVE: This guy came from Page Ave and went north on Kingshighway between the lanes
ABOVE: Close up we can see an oxygen tank on the chair

Really? Maybe he needs help understanding how to get around safely? He probably used to bicycle against traffic. I just don’t get it, I can’t think of a more dangerous place for him to be.  The sidewalk in that part of Kingshighway is fine for use.

– Steve Patterson