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Midtown crosswalk lacks ramps, blocked by parked car

April 16, 2010 Accessibility 5 Comments

Everywhere I turn I encounter crosswalk issues. On Monday I brought you the finally corrected crosswalk on Delmar.  From the 2nd floor terrace of the Pultizer Foundation I noticed a bad crosswalk on Washington Ave in Midtown:

Neither side has curb cuts and a car is parked blocking the crosswalk!

From the street level we can see the car parked so it fully blocks the crosswalk.  The sign indicates parking is permitted in both directions.

What needs to happen is to bulb out the curb both the width of the parking lane and crosswalk. A channel can be left to allow rainwater in the gutter to drain. The bulb out would do a few things: 1) the ramp could be within the bulb rather than cut back into the existing sidewalk, 2) the bulb would prevent motorists from accidentally blocking the crosswalk and 3) the bulbs would shorten the distance to cross the street.  The current situation cannot continue.

– Steve Patterson


Delmar crosswalk now has the ADA ramps it should have had in the first place

April 12, 2010 Accessibility 2 Comments

Last July I posted about a crosswalk on Delmar that lacked ADA ramps (Delmar Crosswalk Missing ADA Ramps)

ABOVE: Delmar crosswalk lacking ADA ramps, July 2009

This past Monday I was pleasantly surprised to see ramps were finally installed.

ABOVE: Same crosswalk with new ADA ramps, April 2010

– Steve Patterson


Volvo more important than pedestrian crosswalk

ABOVE: Volvo blocking ramp & crosswalk across St. Charles St at 10th St
ABOVE: Volvo blocking ramp & crosswalk across St. Charles St at 10th St

I was pleased last year when the city finally painted the crosswalk lines and installed a “no parking here to corner” sign on St. Charles St at 10th St. Today the driver of a blue Volvo decided their car was more important than than pedestrians who need the crosswalk and ramp.

Yes, I called the police to report the illegally parked Volvo but who knows if they made it to ticket the car. I left my card under the wiper and I hope the owner reads this.  If so, here is a message just for him/her:

I use a wheelchair and I had to go a block out of my way — twice — because you decided to park so that the ramp I need was blocked.  Thank you so very much for visiting downtown today, please come back often.  I called the police and gave them your plate number so they could help welcome you.

I’m guessing where they live they don’t have pedestrians.

– Steve Patterson


Three out of four doesn’t cut it

At the intersection of 11th & St. Charles the existing curb ramps were recently redone on three of the four corners.  The forth corner lacked a curb ramp.

But the three that already had ramps now have new ramps and the forth corner still lacks a ramp.  My logic would tell me to get the all directions where someone in a wheelchair (or pushing a stroller) could easily pass before replacing existing ramps.  Who makes these decisions?

– Steve Patterson


Walkability/accessibility in auto-centric suburbia

I was in Chicago last weekend.  Saturday night we stayed at the new ALoft in Bolingbrook (map), near Ikea.

The location is highly auto-centric) but walkability/accessibility was given some minimal attention.  From our room I could see the sidewalk along the public road as well as the private sidewalk to the hotel. The above is the minimal I’d accept, not the goal.  All the buildings in the area are so far apart that no amount of perfectly green grass or upscale landscaping will make it a good walking environment.  These sidewalks are decoration, a feel-good measures to imply walkability.  Don’t get me wrong, it is better to have them than not, but hopefully we will cease building such environments completely.

To create walkable areas we must:

  • Reduce the amount of auto parking in private lots.
  • Reduce the distance between buildings.
  • Reduce the distance from the public sidewalk and the building entrance.
  • Allow on-street parking.

With every business having a huge parking lot the distances become to great to walk.  But if parking were scaled back they can be closer to each other and walking becomes a viable option.  The total parking in this area far exceeds the total number of cars at any given time.  By significantly limiting private off-street parking but permitting on-street parking you introduce affordable shared parking.  Shared parking is often thought of as a parking lot or garage structure but taking all the cars and spreading them out in a linear fashion along roads reduces the impacts from massive parking lots that  spread our destinations apart to the point we must drive to reach them.

– Steve Patterson