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Pedestrian Access Still an Afterthought at Loughborough Commons

By November 2008 the first of four outparcels at Loughborough Commons was finished — a Burger King.

ABOVE; Burger King at Loughborough Commons in November 2008

No sidewalk was built to provide access to the two parcels to the east. Granted, at the time, the parcel to the west wasn’t built upon so the connection to the sidewalk system I fought for in 2005-06. Still it is clear the engineers that planned Loughborough Commons had no provisions for pedestrian access.

The lot to the west now was a Fifth Third Bank, it was under construction a year ago. During construction I raised the issue of pedestrian access. When it opened it did have an access route past the drive thru lanes to the front door facing Loughborhough.

ABOVE: Pedestrian access route to Fifth Third Bank.

When the bank opened pedestrians had a way to do their banking but not a way to eat at Burger King, not necessarily a bad thing I suppose. Once construction began on the parcel to the east they suddenly realized they needed to correct the earlier lack of sidewalk at Burger King.

ABOVE: Newly added sidewalk in front of Burger King should have been built in 2008 but wasn't

Yesterday I took the #70 Grand MetroBus to Loughborough Commons to buy something at Lowe’s. While there I checked out the changes since my last visit. This was my first time there in my wheelchair. View Loughborough Commons in Google Maps here.

ABOVE: Looking west from the far east parcel where a building is under construction now

Crosswalk stripes are still needed at the auto drives to Fifth Third Bank and Burger King. After I took the above picture I looked to my left and the last remaining out parcel. At some point they expect to connect it to this sidewalk, right?

ABOVE: Looking south from the third parcel

They’ve already poured the curb with no provision for an accessible route to the last unbuilt parcel to the south. Talk about poor planning! When that lots sells this work will need to be changed, potentially interrupting this business.

Loughborough Commons is far better than it would have been had I not pushed the issue as it was being built. Still, problems exist that I will elaborate on in future posts. This shows what an afterthought pedestrian access really is. The civil engineers should be embarrassed.

– Steve Patterson


Sunday: Dutchtown Harvest Festival

Sunday is the Dutchtown Harvest Festival:

Bring your appetite for food, knowledge and fun!

October 23, 2011, 11am to 5pm

Marquette Park* in Dutchtown

Mayor Slay’s Vanguard Cabinet and the Downtown Dutchtown Business Association present the first ever St. Louis Food Day celebration!

Think Earth Day but all about producing, preparing and eating FOOD! This new national holiday is dedicated to addressing problems with food production, distribution, access and education and is being championed by folks like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters. Our hope is to invigorate the blossoming food culture of Dutchtown within the context of St. Louis and the Midwest.


Features include a kids zone, locally produced food, cooking contest, cooking demos, nutrition education, live music and food vendors. 

The location is the beautiful Marquette Park in south St. Louis (Google Maps). Some scenes in the 2005 film The Game of Their Lives were filmed in Marquette Park.

– Steve Patterson


BWorks Moves Worthy Programs to New Soulard Location

Since 1988, BWorks has worked with youth in St. Louis.

ABOVE: BWorks' new home in a historic Soulard building

The organization recently moved from a cramped storefront in the Shaw neighborhood to a much larger space in Soulard:

St. Louis BWorks was built on the idea that everyone deserves the chance to be more and to gain the skills they need to pursue their dreams. We believe that “at-risk” children — or any young people for that matter — can thrive when they have the opportunity to challenge their abilities in a safe, supportive environment. (full mission & history)

Originally the only program was St. Louis Bicycle Works where kids could learn to repair and maintain a bike. Later St. Louis Byte Works was added where kids learned computer skills and they could earn a reconditioned computer.

St. Louis Book Works was founded in 2011 to promote verbal, visual and cultural literacy through creative expression. Young people in the program work with volunteer editors to write and and illustrate their own books.

As the programs offered grew, so did their space requirements. BWorks outgrew their old space long ago.

ABOVE: Reconditioned bicycles await new owners after completing the St. Louis Bicycle Works program
ABOVE: St. Louis Book Works classroom space
ABOVE: Computer lab at St. Louis Byte Works
ABOVE: Shop area where donated computers are refurbished
ABOVE: Shop area where bikes are reconditioned

Each year St. Louis Bicycle Works sponsors Cranksgiving in St. Louis:

“Want to be a part of the biggest food collection ride in the country? Join us at Schlafly Bottleworks on 11/6 for a bike ride at 10 A.M. (5, 10 or 25 mile courses) and get some food for Food Outreach.

 2010 had over 650 riders collecting over 6000 food items for Food Outreach making it the largest Cranksgiving in the country. Lets keep this record in St.louis! Join us this year at a even better event.”

BWorks is looking for volunteers and contributions. Click here to learn how to get involved. The reuse of the building is extraordinary.

– Steve Patterson


What’s Next for 4217 Beck Ave?

Back in June 2006 I was on my Honda Metropolitan heading back home in south St. Louis when I decided to head down Beck Ave. I’d seen the buildings at 4217 Beck Ave before but had never stopped to photograph them.


I found these two structures very appealing, even in their vacant condition. I imagined office or residential spaces within.


The materials and proportions were quite nice.

ABOVE: 4217 Beck on June 20, 2006

The juxtaposition of the two buildings on the slope created a potentially interesting courtyard space. But it wasn’t meant to be.

ABOVE: 4217 Beck on July 26, 2006

A little over a month later I went by again and I noticed both had been destroyed in what must have been a huge fire.

The now vacant, 2.7 acre site is zoned industrial but is mostly surrounded by residential.  The owner, Obradovic Trucking, Inc., owns two adjacent parcels for a total of 4.7 acres.

Would a new industrial user be welcomed by area property owners? Perhaps, especially if it had jobs. Is the site contaminated?

After the building went up in an inferno on July 13, 2006, the city immediately condemned it for demolition. But nothing happened for nine months, until the owner obtained a demolition permit on April 27. (Suburban Journal May 2007)

Based on this article the property has changed ownership since 2007. It’s also changed wards — it was in the 10th but is now in the 15th.

– Steve Patterson


Where is Dogtown?

I know where Dogtown is in St. Louis, but that wasn’t always the case.

Looking at the city’s list of neighborhoods you won’t find a listing for “Dogtown”

Dogtown is generally the three areas known officially as Clayton Tamm, Ellendale and Franz Park.  Does anyone outside these three areas use these names? Doubtful.

– Steve Patterson