Home » Retail » Recent Articles:

Proposed Rebuild of Kenrick Plaza in Shrewsbury, MO Ignores Walkability & ADA (UPDATED)

I’m not a fan of Walmart, but this post isn’t an attack on the Walmart business model. Instead the purpose of this post is to show how the redevelopment of Kenrick Plaza (map), proposed by G. J. Grewe, as presented, will not meet the minimum requirements of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA).

First let’s take a quick look at the area:

Sign for Kenrick Plaza at Watson Rd and Trianomn Parkway Drive
Sign for Kenrick Plaza at Watson Rd and Trianon Parkway Drive, looking east
West side
Sign at Trianon Parkway Drive, looking west
b
b
The now-closed Kenrick Cinema is located on the west side of Trianon Parkway.
The now-closed Kenrick Cinema is located on the west side of Trianon Parkway.

A report prepared by PGAV details how Kenrick Plaza is in bad physical condition, the layout doesn’t work well (former Burger King blocks views of retail space behind, etc.) and it doesn’t work for people with disabilities.

Here’s the proposed site plan, which includes cutting off public access to Watson Rd for many houses, leaving one entrance off of Laclede Station as the sole way in and out, with an exception for cutting through the private “lower Kenrick Plaza” area.

Site plan
Proposed site plan, click image to view larger version on Scribd.

The same report talks about the new proposal…

COMPLIANCE WITH THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

The Comprehensive Plan for the City of Shrewsbury (the “Comprehensive Plan”) dated March 1970, designates the land use for the Area to be commercial. The Comprehensive Plan, drafted as the Kenrick Seminary lands became open for development, envisioned the land uses immediately adjacent to Watson Road as a commercial corridor that would bring the City’s percentage of commercial land up to 10.4% from a meager 3%. The City was heavily dominated by residential and institutional uses and lacked significant commercial acreage.

The Comprehensive Plan was followed in the original construction of Kenrick Plaza as a commercial district supporting the surrounding residential development that largely lacked retail, entertainment, and restaurant options within close proximity. Also accommodated in the Comprehensive Plan was the construction of one or more television towers. This redevelopment plan maintains the Area as commercial land use consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and accommodates the existing television tower. The map depicting future land use included in the Comprehensive Plan specifically and clearly designates the Area for commercial land use.

Oh good, it complies with the 1970 “Comprehensive Plan”! Apparently nothing in Shrewsbury has changed in the last 43 years. I want to point out a few big red flags about this proposal:

A sidewalk along Watson Rd with "decorative lighting" every 75 feet but you must walk in the auto driveways if you want to shop.
A sidewalk along Watson Rd with “decorative lighting” every 75 feet but you must walk in the auto driveways if you want to shop.
Residents used to driving/walking to Watson Rd will no longer be able to do so, nor can they or their kids/grandkids walk to the store to get bread & milk.
Residents used to driving/walking to Watson Rd will no longer be able to do so, nor can they or their kids/grandkids walk to the store to get bread & milk.
View looking south toward Watson along Trianon Parkway from the last side side street before access to be cut off.
View looking south toward Watson along Trianon Parkway from the last side side street before access to be cut off.

Shrewsbury should be requiring more connections, not fewer.

206 Accessible Routes

206.1 General. Accessible routes shall be provided in accordance with 206 and shall comply with Chapter 4.

206.2 Where Required. Accessible routes shall be provided where required by 206.2.

 206.2.1 Site Arrival Points. At least one accessible route shall be provided within the site from accessible parking spaces and accessible passenger loading zones; public streets and sidewalks; and public transportation stops to the accessible building or facility entrance they serve.

EXCEPTIONS:

1. Where exceptions for alterations to qualified historic buildings or facilities are permitted by 202.5, no more than one accessible route from a site arrival point to an accessible entrance shall be required.

2. An accessible route shall not be required between site arrival points and the building or facility entrance if the only means of access between them is a vehicular way not providing pedestrian access.

 Advisory 206.2.1 Site Arrival Points. Each site arrival point must be connected by an accessible route to the accessible building entrance or entrances served. Where two or more similar site arrival points, such as bus stops, serve the same accessible entrance or entrances, both bus stops must be on accessible routes. In addition, the accessible routes must serve all of the accessible entrances on the site.

Advisory 206.2.1 Site Arrival Points Exception 2. Access from site arrival points may include vehicular ways. Where a vehicular way, or a portion of a vehicular way, is provided for pedestrian trvel, such as within a shopping center or shopping mall parking lot, this exception does not apply.

206.2.2 Within a Site. At least one accessible route shall connect accessible buildings, accessible facilities, accessible elements, and accessible spaces that are on the same site.

EXCEPTION: An accessible route shall not be required between accessible buildings, accessible facilities, accessible elements, and accessible spaces if the only means of access between them is a vehicular way not providing pedestrian access.

Advisory 206.2.2 Within a Site. An accessible route is required to connect to the boundary of each area of sport activity. Examples of areas of sport activity include: soccer fields, basketball courts, baseball fields, running tracks, skating rinks, and the area surrounding a piece of gymnastic equipment. While the size of an area of sport activity may vary from sport to sport, each includes only the space needed to play. Where multiple sports fields or courts are provided, an accessible route is required to each field or area of sport activity. (2010 ADA Standards)

 

In short this says it is ok to require pedestrians to use an auto drive to a facility like a Starbuck’s but that exception isn’t applicable to a shopping center. Elsewhere in the same link as above, the term “shopping center” is defined as:

(A) A building housing five or more sales or rental establishments; or

(B) A series of buildings on a common site, either under common ownership or common control or developed either as one project or as a series of related projects, housing five or more sales or rental establishments. For purposes of this section, places of public accommodation of the types listed in paragraph (5) of the definition of “place of public accommodation” in section § 36.104 are considered sales or rental establishments. The facility housing a “shopping center or shopping mall” only includes floor levels housing at least one sales or rental establishment, or any floor level designed or intended for use by at least one sales or rental establishment.

 

Developer G. J. Grewe and Architect TRi should be ashamed for submitting such a plan, this isn’t 1970 despite the fact Shrewsbury’s comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated.

As I was finishing this post yesterday I received an email from Shrewsbury Mayor Felicity indicating “accessibility is being addressed with sidewalks from the bus stop to the stores.”  The site plan on the Shrewsbury website is a preliminary concept. I requested an updated copy but I have not received it.

UPDATE 5/22/2013 @ 3:30pm:

At 3pm I received from Shrewsbury Director of Administration, Jonathan Greever, a PDF copy of “of the current special use permit site plan. This document is limited in that it does not address the entire site and its intended use is not for construction. The purpose for this document is different than that of a fully engineered plan. As stated previously, the final engineered plans have not been generated.” You can view it on Scribd here.

— Steve Patterson

 

Press Release: More Strikes Hit St. Louis’ Largest Fast Food Chains

The following is from a press release:

MORE STRIKES HIT ST LOUIS’ LARGEST FAST FOOD CHAINS

Inspired by New York City and Chicago Fast Food Walkouts, St. Louis Workers Strike Major National Chains

First-ever St. Louis Fast Food Walkout; STL Can’t Survive on $7.35 Campaign Launches Calling For $15 and the Right to Form a Union without Retaliation; Aims to Get St. Louis’ Economy Moving Again

ST. LOUIS— Workers walked off their jobs at Jimmy John’s and McDonald’s Wednesday in the first-ever fast-food strike to hit St. Louis and more 100 workers are expected to join them today. In their one-day strikes of major national brands like McDonald’s, Jimmy Johns, Domino’s, Hardees and Wendy’s are on strike, the employees are calling for wages that support their families and the right to form a union without retaliation.

The workers’ campaign, STL Can’t Survive On $7.35, seeks to put money back in the pockets of the 36,000 men and women who work hard in the city’s fast food restaurants, but still can’t afford basic necessities like food, clothing, and rent. The Self-Sufficiency Standard for an adult with one child living in St. Louis County is $14.84 per hour working full time. If workers were paid more, they’d spend more, helping to get St. Louis’ economy moving again.

“There are days I wonder, ‘how am I going to get home’ because I can’t afford my bus fare,” said Patrick Leeper, who has worked at Chipotle for more than three years, “Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles. I can’t even think about groceries.”

Fast food workers bring $1 billion a year into the cash registers of St. Louis, yet most of these workers earn Missouri’s minimum wage of $7.35, or just above it, and are forced to rely on public assistance programs to provide for their families and get healthcare for their children. They’re coming together for $15 per hour and the right to form a union so they can support their families, and put money back into the economy.

“I’ve been at Jack in the Box for four years, cleaning and prepping food and all I get paid is $7.55 without any benefits,” said Anita Gregory, a mother of one, who is expecting her second child in the next few weeks. “I’m tired of having to struggle to survive while working so hard.”

It would take a typical St. Louis fast food worker minimum-wage full-time worker more than 1,300 years to earn as much as the CEO of YUM! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, made in 2012.

The two days of strikes here in St. Louis come just weeks after hundreds of fast food and retail workers went on strike in Chicago and hundreds more walked off their jobs in New York City. The strikes by low-wage workers began on Black Friday back in November, with hundreds of Walmart workers walking off their jobs. It spread weeks later to fast food, with workers embarking on the first-ever strike to hit the industry.

Low-wage jobs have accounted for the bulk of new jobs added in the recovery, and fast food positions are among the fastest-growing in St. Louis. Workers here, like those around the country, are increasingly joining together to fight for higher wages that will lift the economy.

“Workers in fast-food jobs are no longer freckle-faced teenagers looking for some summer pocket change,” said the Rev. Martin Rafanan, director of STL $7.35. “Increasingly, fast food jobs are the only options for St. Louisans, but these workers can’t even afford to pay for rent, food and bus fare. If the workers earned more, fast food workers would spend that money at local businesses here in St. Louis and help lift our economy.”

Founded in February of 2013, the St. Louis Organizing Committee is an independent union of fast food workers. The workers’ STL Can’t Survive on $7.35 campaign seeks a $15 an hour wage and the right to form a union without retaliation. The STL Can’t Survive on $7.35 campaign is supported by a coalition of dozens of community, labor and faith-based groups including: ACTION; Adorers of the Blood of Christ; St. Louis AFL-CIO; AFSCME Illinois Council 31; Aquinas Institute; ARAW/Jobs with Justice National; Ascension Episcopal; Bethel Lutheran; Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, St Louis, Central Reform Congregation; Central Reform Congregation; Eastern District Laborer Council 110; Eden Seminary; Epiphany UCC; Episcopal Diocese; Families USA; Gethsemane Lutheran Church; Jobs with Justice Workers’ Right Board; Kirkwood UCC; Missouri Jobs with Justice; MO Health Care For All; MORE; National Nurses United; New Life Evangelistic Center; Parkway United Church of Christ; People’s World; Personal UFCW655; Presbyterian Church USA; PROMO; ProVote; SEIU Health Care; SEIU Local 1; St John’s Catholic Church; St John’s Episcopal; St Joseph’s Catholic Church; St Margaret of Scotland; St Mark Lutheran; St Peter’s United Church of Christ; St. Pius; St Thomas United Church of Christ; Teamsters 688;The Bridge at Newtown; United Church of Christ in Afton; United Food and Commercial Workers 655; United Food and Commercial Workers 88; Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church; Westminster Presbyterian; Westside Baptist; Young Activists United

 

Coming Soon to Kingshighway & Delmar: More Low-Density Sprawl

The site of the former National/Schnucks at Kingshighway & Delmar, long vacant, has now been cleared for new development. I’ve viewed the site as an opportunity to build a dense urban project, ideally connected with a Delmar extension of the future Loop Trolley. But current plans may delay dense development of the 4+ acre site for at least the next 20-30 years.

Former grocery store building has now been razed.
Former grocery store building sat back at the east end of the site
The long-vacant building was recently razed.
The long-vacant building was recently razed.
Discount grocer Aldi has announced a new location here.
Discount grocer ALDI has announced a new location here.

But ALDI doesn’t need over 4 acres! Looking at city records online I see The Roberts Brothers has divided the site into three parcels, with ALDI buying one of the three.

Outline of the parcel Aldi purchased.
Outline of the parcel ALDI purchased with Kingshighway on the left, Delmar on the bottom.

The boundaries of the three parcels is intriguing, my guess is so all three can have automobile  entrances facing Kingshighway, or at least a Kingshighway address.  This new store will be part of three recently announced locations also including Creve Coeur & Des Peres (source).

My assumption is this Kingshighway & Delmar location will replace the ALDI less than a mile to the north at Kingshighway & Page (1315 Aubert).

The Aldi at 1315 Aubert (Page & Kingshighway) was built in 1991.
The Aldi at 1315 Aubert (Page & Kingshighway) was built in 1991.

Below is a look at a few ALDI locations in the area, showing size of parcel, year built, and the building size:

Comparison of a few select Aldi locations
Comparison of a few select ALDI locations

The most recently completed ALDI on the list above is the 7701 Olive location. I visited that ALDI in May 2006, shortly after it opened.

View from the Olive auto entrance
View from the Olive auto entrance
A route is provided from Olive but it is not ADA-compliant.
A route is provided from Olive but it is not ADA-compliant.
An ADA-compliant route is provided off North and South
An ADA-compliant route is provided off North and South

This is how ALDI builds US locations from coast to coast. For example, in late 2010 a blogger noted the design for a dense Washington DC neighborhood (see Terrible Aldi design shows need for new parking zoning). As with so many retailers, they’ll do the cheapest design they can, barely meeting minimum standards. If we want/expect better we must demand better — raising the minimum. Retailers will meet the improved standard as long as they can get sales & profit growth.     ALDI does have a few urban locations, but only in super-dense places like Queens, NY.

And before anyone says ALDI and Trader Joe’s are part of the same company let me clarify their relationship.

The [ALDI] chain is made up of two separate groups, Aldi Nord (North – operating as Aldi Markt), with its headquarters in Essen, and Aldi Süd (South – operating as Aldi Süd), with its headquarters in Mülheim an der Ruhr, which operate independently from each other within specific areas.

[snip]

Both Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd also operate in the United States; Aldi Nord is owner of the Trader Joe’s chain while Aldi Süd operates as Aldi. (Wikipedia)

Thus the ALDI we see in the US is NOT related to our Trader Joe’s stores. Another difference between our ALDI stores and our Trader Joe’s is the latter is willing to go compact in dense, walkable areas. For example, the Trader Joe’s I visited in 2009 located at 1700 E Madison St, Seattle, WA.  The store is located on the ground floor with sidewalk entrance, a level of structured parking over the store and four levels of housing over that.

Garage of the Trader Joe's in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle
Garage of the Trader Joe’s in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle

Madison St. in Seattle still has low-density development, like the gas station across from the Trader Joe’s, but one property at a time it is getting more urban. As it gets more urban it attracts more people, increasing the need to be more urban.

Back in St. Louis, we do the opposite. We continue to build low-density sprawl, then scratch our heads wondering why more people don’t walk, use transit, or why our population declines. I’m not suggesting development patterns are the reason for our population decline in the past, but it is a factor today.

A single story ALDI surrounded by surface parking on this corner is totally inappropriate given the context to the east and south.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

 

Old Big Box Stores Live On, Some Too Long

It has been 15 years since St. Louis-based Venture stores closed.

The chain was founded in 1968 when Target founder John F. Geisse went to work for May Department Stores. Under an antitrust settlement reached with the Department of Justice, May was unable to acquire any more retail chains at the time, and the department store company needed a way to compete against the emerging discount store chains. When May’s Executive Vice President Dave Babcock learned that Geisse had resigned from Target Stores, he spoke with Geisse about starting a new discount retailer, resulting in the founding of Venture.

The first Venture store opened in 1970 in the St. Louis suburb of Overland (after Venture closed, the location became a Kmart, which later closed & was demolished for the current Home Depot). In 1976, Geisse retired and left Venture Stores, which had by that time expanded to 20 units. (Wikipedia)

When I was a kid, following the failure of the Woolco discount chain, Venture expanded into Oklahoma City (source). A Woolco/Venture was very close to my parent’s house, I biked there often to buy 45s & later cassingles.

Last week, as I stepped into a former Venture store at 5401 Collinsville Rd in Fairmont City, IL, I recalled biking to Venture as a kid and even visiting a Venture after moving to St. Louis.

Venture sign
Venture sign remains
This Venture store is now Gateway Classic Cars, click image for website
This Venture store is now Gateway Classic Cars, click image for website
The old Venture name is covered by the current sign
The old Venture name is covered by the current sign
The interior is very original, complete with the paint scheme of the walls.
The interior is very original, complete with the paint scheme of the walls.

When a building gets built we should assume it’ll be around for at least half a century. Often this longevity is a good thing, but not always. I took a picture of the men’s restroom but I decided to spare you that sight.

Older structures do provide good low-rent options for businesses, while not making a positive contribution to the area’s image. This is a good example of why we need to think beyond the original depreciation schedule when building.

— Steve Patterson

 

Dumpsters Block Pine Street Sidewalk At The Park Pacific

I’ve not had much reason to walk along the south side of the Park Pacific building but that changed on Monday when three new eateries opened for business: Smoothie King, Alumni St. Louis, & Flying Cow Frozen Yogurt.

Flying Cow Frozen Yogurt in the NW corner of the Park Pacific at 13th & Olive
Flying Cow Frozen Yogurt in the NW corner of the Park Pacific at 13th & Olive
Alumni St. Louis restaurant facing 13th Street
Alumni St. Louis restaurant facing 13th Street
Smoothie King is located on Pine St in the garage attached to the Park Pacific
Smoothie King is located on Pine St in the first floor of the parking garage attached to the Park Pacific

Very handy having these three so close to my loft! Unfortunately a problem exists reaching all three. You see, the roll out dumpsters for Park Pacific are frequently left out blocking the sidewalk along Pine. Depending upon where they are it’s ether a pain in the butt, or impossible, to pass by in a wheelchair. The able-bodied are forced into the street as well.

Looking west toward 13th
Looking west toward 13th
Looking east toward Tucker
Looking east toward Tucker

The dumpsters have a designated space between the Park Pacific and adjacent parking garage, yet someone is just leaving the out where the block the sidewalk. Hopefully this won’t continue!

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Advertisement



[custom-facebook-feed]

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe