Having just left the Galleria, a man walks in the mall’s streets as he heads towards the nearby MetroLink station.

The Saint Louis Galleria: the St. Louis area’s premier mall. Conveniently located next to I-64 and I-170 near the heart of St. Louis County. A MetroLink station is located not 500 meters away to the east. If you’re arriving via MetroLink, however, don’t expect any sidewalks to guide you to a mall entrance… there are none.

Minimally Accessible

Like any typical mall, the Saint Louis Galleria was built with the automobile in mind. The mall is set back from the major surrounding streets with ample surface parking in front and plenty of garage parking in back. Pedestrian accomdations are geared toward getting patrons of the mall to and from the surrounding parking lots.

Unlike many other area malls, the Galleria’s location in Richmond Heights gives it very easy access by transit and on foot: MetroLink is a short walk to the east and many residents, office workers, and competing shops are located within 400 meters of the mall.

Despite its proximity to patrons wishing to arrive by transit or on foot, the mall has only a single a single accessible route to the mall from the entire 1000 meter Brentwood Blvd and Clayton Rd perimeter. The lone accessible route leads from Clayton Rd to the space formerly occupied by Mark Shale, part of the original mall from 1986. All other sidewalks leading to the Saint Louis Galleria either end abruptly or dump pedestrians in the middle of the vast parking lot.

As a result of the Saint Louis Galleria’s missing sidewalks, pedestrians going to or from the nearby MetroLink station must walk 300 meters further than necessary to access the lone street-accessible mall entrance.

Galleria Sidewalks

An overview of the sidewalks that lead into the Saint Louis Galleria. North is to the right. Blue – Accessible sidewalk or crosswalk. Yellow – Sidewalk terminates at one end with a dead-end or inaccessible curb cut. Red – Stairs or otherwise inaccessible sidewalk or crosswalk

In A Nick of Time

So how did the Saint Louis Galleria get away with providing only a single accessible route from the surrounding sidewalks? It seems to come down to a matter of timing.

The Saint Louis Galleria’s major southward expansion, which tripled the mall’s size, opened August 1, 1991. The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in July 1990; however, its provisions did not take affect until July 1992.

Of course, there is no such thing as a grandfather clause in the ADA legislation. At the very least, it would be nice if the Saint Louis Galleria built a sidewalk connecting the mall to the Galleria Pkwy entrance so that, if not for its customers, its own employees can safely access the nearby MetroLink station and bus stops along Brentwood Blvd.

All posts in this series: