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Crosswalks & Curb Ramps Needed at 4th & Locust

ABOVE: view looking west across 4th on the north side of Locust

Pedestrians trying to cross 4th Street at Locust face an interesting combination of ramps and signals.  Neither side has a marked crosswalk.  On the north side of Locust there is an older ramp on the east side of 4th but when the St. Louis Federal Reserve didn’t bother to include a ramp on the west side.

ABOVE: view looking west across 4th on the south side of Locust

The south side of Locust has the opposite problem, a ramp on the west side but not one on the east.  This side, however, does include a pedestrian signal.  However, a crosswalk is badly  needed here because motorists on the one-way street don’t know where to stop when they get a red light.  This is a dangerous intersection for the able-bodied pedestrian and impossible for the disabled pedestrian.

St. Louis vacated Locust between 4th & Broadway (5th) but nobody ensured that pedestrians could get to/from this one-block pedestrianized street.

– Steve Patterson


Reaching My Polling Place

My polling place is just under a mile west of my loft, just west of Jefferson at the Heritage House senior housing building located at 2800 Olive.  In the past few elections I have driven my car but I decided to use transit for yesterday’s election.  The bus ride was direct and short.

ABOVE: Looking west across Leffingwell Ave on the north side of Olive St

Exiting the bus at Leffingwell Ave & Olive St. I noticed the first problem, I couldn’t cross Leffingwell due to no curb ramp on the other side of the street. I needed to cross Olive St. anyway so I did that first.

ABOVE: Looking west across Leffingwell Ave on the south side of Olive St, the eastbound bus shelter is visible on the sidewalk

Unfortunately, the same problem existed when trying to cross Leffingwell on this side of Olive.  Since I needed  to cross the street to vote I had to look for alternate places to cross.

img_1126Halfway down the block I found a place to cross, on the east side of Leffingwell was a drive from an alley and the other side was a driveway for my destination.  My first preference to cross a street is a signalized intersection.  Second is a 4-way stop and the least desirable is mid-block. I was well aware that

I have reported this lack of curb ramps to St. Louis’ Citizens Service Bureau via Twitter (@csbSTL).

– Steve Patterson


Update on Taxi Stand on Sidewalk

ABOVE: Rams fans are forced around taxis on Sunday Oct 31, 2010
ABOVE: Rams fans are forced around taxis on Sunday Oct 31, 2010, taking the narrow path next to the curb or the circle driveway

I’ve been blogging about the placement of a taxi stand on the sidewalk in front of the convention center for years, with few results. In January 2007 I posted this video of a taxi exiting the stand via the pedestrian crosswalk:


That prompted the Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC) to add bollards at the two crosswalk locations across Washington Ave.  This prevented the taxis from exiting onto the crosswalk but it didn’t address the primary problem: the former sidewalk was now occupied by taxis.  Where should the pedestrians walk?

Pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk in front of America’s Center has increased since the old St. Louis Centre pedestrian bridge came down but it has still been hard to capture the problem in still images or video.  But Sunday after the Rams game the sidewalks were packed and it became easy to photograph & video the problem with parking taxis smack dab in the middle of the pedestrian sidewalk.

The following video is seven minutes of people walking around the taxis, not riveting but telling of the problem.


Happily I think a solution is near, I will meet with the CVC next week to see a drawing of their concept on how to return the sidewalk space to pedestrians. I’m finally optimistic about the situation.

– Steve Patterson


The Schlafly Bottleworks Lacks Pedestrian Route To Front Door

ABOVE: One of two automobile entrances at Bottleworks with the entrance in the background

Twice now I have visited Schlafly’s Bottleworks in Maplewood (map) using public transit. Being disabled, I arrived at the site in my power wheelchair after departing the bus. The issue of access is the same for the able-bodied using transit or by walking from the surrounding area.

While it is great Schlafly reused an old grocery store building it is unfortunate their architect/engineer didn’t include a walkway to connect to the public sidewalk on Southwest.  During the $5 million construction work, in 2003, a patio was added out front and the parking lot was reconfigured. It is at this time that a walkway should have been added to connect the public sidewalk to the front door.

ABOVE: pedestrians can see, but not reach, the front door from the sidewalk

As you can see from the above photo the distance to reach the walk next to the patio just isn’t that great. From an aerial view it looks like this:

ABOVE: the blue line represents the short path to connect to the public sidewalk

The amount of effort that would have been required, at the time the work was done, would have been minimal.  Even today the effort isn’t much, including the loss of one auto parking space.

Hopefully Schlafly’s will see fit to correct their pedestrian access deficiency. Based on my conversation with the manager last night I think they will.

– Steve Patterson


Accessible Not The Same As Walkable

Walkability & accessibility are two subjects that are important to me. Ideally places would be both walkable & accessible, but that is rare.  The minimum, for me, is accessible.  But being accessible, ADA-compliant, isn’t remotely close to being walkable.

ABOVE: Downtown Belleville is an example of walkable with narrow streets and buildings up against the sidewalks.  Main St is also accessible.
ABOVE: Downtown Belleville IL is an example of walkable with narrow streets and buildings up against the sidewalks. Main St is also accessible.

Walkable, in my mind, requires active tree-lined streets with generous sidewalks.  In residential areas the buildings may be set back a bit from the sidewalk, but not too much.  Someone on the sidewalk should be able to converse with someone on a front porch.  Residential sidewalks should connect to a nearby commercial area no more than 1/4 mile away.  The commercial district will have a variety of adjacent buildings all fronting onto the public sidewalk.  Building fronts shall mostly be glass windows & doors, not blank walls.  Public transit is available in walkable areas.

Accessible, in my mind, means a disabled person can navigate the area.  This includes someone in a wheelchair as well as deaf or low vision/blind persons.

ABOVE: ADA-compliant access route to CVS at Gravois & Hampton/Germania
ABOVE: ADA-compliant access route to CVS at Gravois & Hampton/Germania
ABOVE: ADA-compliant access route to Arby's on Lindell

The CVS and Arby’s are both accessible but neither is walkable.  Yes, someone can walk there along the accessible route but neither contributes to a walkable environment.

I reluctantly accept that not everyplace is going to be built walkable but I refuse to accept anyplace not being accessible from the public sidewalk adjacent to the property.

ABOVE: short-lived Starbucks in Soulard is neither walkable nor accessible
ABOVE: short-lived Starbuck's in Soulard is neither walkable nor accessible

The Starbuck’s, above, closed after being open less than a year.   It was drivable, but not walkable or accessible.

– Steve Patterson