MoDOT recently completed a set of projects on Lindbergh Blvd and New Halls Ferry to upgrade the pedestrian facilities. These projects included
improving and adding sidewalks and curb ramps, pedestrian crossings, and upgraded access to bus stops. [These projects] also allow for better access for persons with disabilities.
The work MoDOT has performed is mostly commendable. Following a widely reported fiasco on an earlier sidewalk project along Lindbergh Blvd that took 3 attempts and 4 years to get mostly right, the curb ramps and sidewalks MoDOT installed are of very good quality. What is baffling, however, is that MoDOT seems to have purposely omitted one crosswalk at every single signalized intersection within the limits of its various projects. Proof of the purposeful omission lies in the concrete corner islands as seen in the photo at the top.
Some people argue that since “nobody” actually walks on or across Lindbergh Blvd, there’s no need for pedestrian accommodations. People who make such arguments have likely only ever experienced a road’s conditions from a windshield perspective.
For example, I spent 3 minutes at the intersection of Lindbergh Blvd & Charbonier Rd to get a photo for this post. In that time, I saw two pedestrians attempt to cross Lindbergh on the south side of the intersection where the crosswalk had been omitted. As seen in the photo above on the left, one woman darted across despite the missing crosswalk; the other woman was pushing a baby stroller and almost did the same until she noticed the lack of a curb cut in the corner island on the far side of the intersection. The young mom then proceeded to cross the other three sides of the intersection to more safely get across Lindbergh Blvd and to her destination.
At regular three and four-way signalized intersections, crosswalk installation should be a rather simple affair: one crosswalk per side unless there are mitigating circumstances. As I recounted above, every crosswalk serves a purpose even when unmarked. To omit a crosswalk at one intersection could be understood as a simple mistake or engineering necessity. To omit a crosswalk at every intersection… perhaps it is spite from MoDOT’s battle with Paraquad? Whatever the reason, its logic does not make sense.
Finally, I shall refrain from discussing the “sidewalks” in Huntleigh where MoDOT cried uncle and replaced the majority of the bad curb ramps it had installed with full height curbs: a regression to their original state from 2006.