13th Street

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Background

On April 30th, 2014 13th Street between Washington Avenue and St. Charles Avenue:

This happened:

Both ground flower boxes with trees were removed. Asphalt filled where those two boxes were positioned. Many local St. Louis downtown residents began asking about this project, trying to find out more information. Neighborhood Watch and even a new Downtown Neighborhood Association mixer didn't yield any conversation about the new plan to re-open 13th Street over a decade it being closed.

I began calling and emailing everyone I knew at City Hall, 5th Ward Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard and St. Louis Streets Department. After the first weekend of the new 13th Street being opened for traffic, it was closed for a street festival celebration. Porta-Potties, parked cars and deliveries became the new norm for 13th Street. On Monday May 5, several residents in the area met and compared photos, videos and stories. I continued to reach out to anyone I thought might know what the master plan was for 13th Street. Steve Runde at the City Streets Department asked to see all the photos and suggested I contact the Partnership for Downtown. That lead me to Ken Gabel at the Partnership for Downtown, who said he'd call me back after some fact finding. He also wanted to see the photos from the first weekend.

The longer I sat at 13th Street and Washington Avenue, the more I saw how dangerous 13th Street was with car traffic.



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Sidewalk Design Criteria

A sidewalk is designed to meet a variety of characteristics that have a direct impact on usability, such as grade, cross slope, width, surface type, etc. Even mildly difficult features in combination can make a sidewalk hard to access for someone with a disability. Sidewalk design criteria are based on providing access to all pedestrian users to the maximum extent feasible. This policy is in accordance with federal standards set out by the US Department of Justice, based on recommendations of the US Access Board. Sidewalk Design Criteria.


What is a Complete Streets policy?

Complete Streets policies formalize a community’s goal to have streets that are safe for all types of users of all ages and abilities. Policies direct decision-makers to consistently fund, plan for, design, construct, operate and maintain community streets to accommodate all anticipated users, including people walking, bicycling, taking public transportation and driving cars as well as commercial vehicles. Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013.

A Complete Streets policy must begin with an understanding that people who travel by foot or on bicycle are legitimate users of the transportation system and equally deserving of safe facilities to accommodate their travel. No policy is a Complete Streets policy without a clear statement affirming this fact, and it is therefore a requirement to include both modes – walking and bicycling.

A safe walking and bicycling environment is essential to improving public transportation. Explicitly stating intention to provide for public transportation customers and transit vehicles can create new partnerships and a transportation network that encourages healthy, active travel and reduces congestion. Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook.

The ideal result of a Complete Streets policy is that all transportation improvements are viewed as opportunities to create safer, more accessible streets for all users. A strong Complete Streets policy will integrate Complete Streets planning into all projects beyond new construction and reconstruction, and direct application of a Complete Streets approach to rehabilitation, repair, major maintenance, and operations work. Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook.



Between 2000 and 2009, 802 people were killed while walking in Missouri. 121 of those deaths occurred in St. Louis City. This is a share of the more than 47,700 Americans who died on our streets and roads, whether walking to school, approaching a bus stop, or strolling to the grocery store. Children, older Americans, and racial and ethnic minorities were killed in disproportionate numbers. An overwhelming proportion of these deaths share a common thread: they occurred along “arterial” roadways that were dangerous by design, streets engineered for speeding cars with little or no provision for people on foot, in wheelchairs or on bicycles. Dangerous by Design 2011: Missouri published by Transportation for America.


St. Louis' Mayor Slay signs 'Complete Streets' bill, with promise of bikeable, walkable city. It’s Official in the Gateway City.

St. Louis authorities seek solutions for Washington Avenue. Washington Avenue to be closed to traffic on weekend nights.

Improve the public image of the District through comprehensive streetscape improvements and special programs. Long-term streetscape improvements to all streets within the Downtown Core. Defining new parks and plazas that interconnect to the entire Downtown Open Space system through a system of pedestrian streets. Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

“A livable community is a community where if people don’t want an automobile, they don’t have to have one; a community where you can walk to work, your doctor’s appointment, pharmacy or grocery store. Or you could take light-rail, a bus or ride a bike.” — US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

“There are two kinds of metro areas: those that offer walkable alternatives and those that don’t – and those that don’t will be left behind.” --Chris Leinberger Metropolitan Land Strategist & Developer Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

Making Downtown Accessible and Easy to Get Around Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

“Some of the ‘hot’ cities that attract young people are Austin and Portland. In reality, these cities are no better than St. Louis, but they have good public transit, and cyclists and pedestrians are separated from the autos.” — Influencer Interview Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

“Downtown…is not viewed as walkable. It lacks paths, signs, street life and people. People are afraid of walking when they can’t see the life further down the street.” — Influencer Interview Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

A “Complete Street” is one that accommodates all modes Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

“Develop a positive personality for Downtown.” — Survey Respondent Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

Vibrant urban neighborhoods rely upon a variety of transportation modes including bicycle, pedestrian and transit. Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

Making Downtown Accessible and Easy to Get Around. Strive for walkability by implementing accessible pedestrian and bike amenities and activating the street level and Develop and promote a Downtown circulator Downtown Next: 2020 Vision For Downtown St. Louis.

Downtown Now! Streetscape Design Guidelines The following Streetscape Design Guidelines are intended to define a qualitative standard for the pedestrian environment of Downtown St. Louis, within the boundaries of the Downtown Saint Louis Partnership Inc., Community Improvement District (CID).

ENHANCING THE PEDESTRIAN ENVIRONMENT

Qualities of "Pedestrian Friendly" Streets

Good street environments come in many forms. Some are distinguished for their commercial bustle, others by their wide sidewalks, others still by the quality of the architecture that frames them. Regardless of their shape and size, most good streets obtain their "friendliness" from three conditions: a safe and comfortable environment; a sense of human scale, or intimacy; and a distinctive character, or a sense of identity.

  • Street trees should be placed at curbside on all streets, spaced 20 to 40 feet depending on underground vaults and utilities. Species selection and placement should follow the Planting section of this report.

*Accessible curb ramps, ADA approved, should be placed at all intersection crosswalks and driveway curb cuts.

INTIMACY

"Intimacy" means the scale and collection of streetscape elements, that directly support pedestrian life (as opposed to vehicular movement). The pedestrian realm is the sidewalk, and for sidewalks to be intimate they need to function like a "bubble" calibrated for human activity. Where sidewalks abut moving traffic, for example, a safety barrier, such as a row of bollards, is desirable where the street and sidewalk meet. Where there is no building wall and sidewalks abut parking lots or open land, some form of screening (trees, living fences) is desirable. And where street lighting is provided by single fixtures (such as the cobra-heads that dot much of the CID), supplementary sidewalk-scale lighting is desirable. Street furniture (benches, waste receptacles, bicycle racks, etc.) also contributes to making the sidewalks more intimate for pedestrians.

  • A continuous, 4-foot wide paving band should be considered at curbside to further define the sidewalk zone. This band should also serve to expand the planting domain of street trees.
  • Sidewalk crosswalk areas should be enhanced with special paving, incorporating accessible curb ramps and crossing signals.

CREATING A ST. LOUIS PEDESTRIAN ENVIRONMENT

An integral part of a streetscape is its image, what it says about a place and its community. It is therefore an integral part of these guidelines, to encourage the creation of a streetscape aesthetic that reinforces unique aspects of the city􏰈s traditions, culture and hopes for the future. The following is a brief discussion of the precedents and current forces that have inspired the streetscape standards that appear later in this report.


Phase II: Understanding of the Physical Setting and Market Opportunities.


Great Streets Initiative by East-West Gateway Council of Governments. Great Streets develop collaboratively Combining local knowledge with technical skill is essential. People who live, work, and play in a place must work with a design team throughout a planning process. In doing so, the community develops a sense of ownership and an expectation to effect change. All involved must be well prepared to evaluate the work and weigh competing issues. The process is equally important as the final plan.

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