Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
A busy crosswalk has been closed in St. Louis. Photo: NextSTL
A busy crosswalk has been erased in St. Louis, and the city is doing everything it can to prevent people from walking across the street here. Photo: NextSTL
false

Here's a great example of the wrong way to handle a tricky pedestrian crossing in your town.

At the request of a local hospital, the city of St. Louis recently removed a frequently-used crosswalk for at least the next two years, apparently in conjunction with nearby construction. The city didn't just scrub away the markings -- to completely ensure that pedestrians get the message, it installed a barrier and even posted a police officer at the location.

Alex Ihnen at NextSTL says the whole thing is a symptom of a myopic mindset that sees people on foot as a problem:

We’re petitioning for the crosswalk to be returned immediately, a pedestrian study to be conducted, and added pedestrian infrastructure to be added to this intersection. Input from those using the intersection should be considered and their voices included in future planning, as well as interim solutions. For some reason, “temporarily” inconveniencing pedestrians for two years while ensuring a clear path for cars appears to be the perfectly acceptable default.

Even before the change, the intersection did its best to repel pedestrians. Some refer to the harried crossing as the “Barnes Dance.” The pedestrian signal crossing Euclid is on a 2 minute and 45 second cycle. The Forest Park pedestrian signal is on a 3 minute cycle. This means that with the west side crossing removed, a person wishing to travel from the northwest to southwest corner will spend 8 minutes and 30 seconds to cross. Eight minutes and thirty seconds to navigate a city street intersection at a busy pedestrian crossing.

Forest Park Avenue carries nine traffic lanes on the east and west sides of the intersection. The problem here is in no way that cars lack space, or that pedestrians occlude traffic, but that clear, basic, functional infrastructure for anyone not in a car is ignored. “Improvements” like this demonstrate that neither the city, nor the entities at the medical campus really care about pedestrians and the urban environment.

About 125 people have signed the petition so far.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Sam Newberg at Streets.mn talks about how he experiences "induced demand." Wash Cycle notes that DC drivers continue to park in bike lanes, despite receiving more than 6,000 tickets. And Bike Portland interviews an intermodal freight expert about where bike projects should fit into the "Connect Oregon" funding program.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

Proposed Archer, Kedzie upgrades would be a big step forward to improve traffic safety on the Southwest Side

The planned improvements include a 4-to-3 road diet and slip lane removals on Archer, protected bike lanes, pedestrian upgrades, and bus boarding islands.

July 22, 2024

We are all in the underperforming Chicagoland transit network. But some of us are looking at the Star:Line.

According to Star:Line Chicago, "The 2034sight Plan is an ambitious — and achievable — ten-year framework to lay the groundwork to modernize Chicagoland’s existing local passenger rail system."

July 19, 2024

A semi driver fatally struck a person walking on Lower Wacker Drive. Did a locked gate contribute to the crash?

The victim may have been walking in the street because a gate limiting pedestrian access on the south side of Wacker was locked at the time.

July 19, 2024
See all posts