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.

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Posted by Herbie Markwort

I like to write about transportation.


  1. The situation is much worse than you describe. For example, to get to the Galleria from Metro, pedestrians must battle speeding cars accessing 170 and the pedestrian WALK sign is rarely observed.To access Metro from the corner of Central & Clayton Rd means a long walk west on Clayton Rd, south on Brentwood and then east on Galleria Pkwy. The station which is only a few hundred feet away but requires a walk of over 0.7 miles since the station is surrounded on three sides by fences.Accessing Trader Joes, Target Dierbergs and other destinations from the same area is a total nightmare as the New 64 is built like the Berlin Wall. Stores that are less than a 1000 feet away requires a trip on poorly designed sidewalks of over 1.8 miles.Metro and MOdot have made a mess out of a good location, the Galleria is poorly managed (management company in bankruptcy), all in a community that believes that cars should rule, not people.

  2. @Anonymous – I'm well aware of all the access issues you bring up, having travelled the area both by car and on bike. As I limited my post to just access to and from the St. Louis Galleria, I did not make mention of the inaccessibility of the Richmond Heights MetroLink station nor of the Brentwood Promenade. Anyways, with the major I-64 construction going on in the area, it will be difficult to make a full assessment of the area until January 2010.And though it may be beating a dead (since 2006) horse, I do plan on posting about the poor accessibility of various Cross-County MetroLink stations in the not to distant future.

  3. In addition, if you check the history of the area, the one and only pedestrian bridge over 170 near Highway 40 was permanently removed as were the exit routes on and to 170 on the south side of Galleria Pkwy. Also notice the poor state of the sidewalks and lack of ADA ramps, inoperable walk signs, etc. The area is co-managed by RH, StL County, MOdot and Metro.To make a full assessment, examine the plans for the New 64. You'll find that the previous pedestrian routes (like the bridge) have been largely destroyed and that MOdot has no plans to improve connectivity.The area has been designed for speed and no longer livability. Over 65 homes have been removed in the last two years to make more room for the New 64 and homes were previously removed to expand the Galleria.

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