Intersection Intervention: DeBaliviere and Pershing

Intersection Intervention: DeBaliviere and Pershing

With all the new development at DeBaliviere and Pershing bridging the Skinker DeBaliviere and DeBaliviere Place neighborhoods, it’s becoming even more clear that the intersection needs an intervention. We’re patting ourselves on the back for building Transit-Oriented Development here by the Forest Park DeBaliviere Metrolink station, on the Loop Trolley line, and on the #1 and #90 bus lines, but we then need to follow through on infrastructure that prioritizes the movement of people.

The intersection has become a rarity in St. Louis- There is CITY on all four corners! No more surface parking, parking in front of single story buildings, and fewer curb cuts nearby. A great step forward!

NextSTL – Loop Trolley Corridor Photo Tour: DeBaliviere

Current conditions

The St. Vincent Greenway should be a raised crosswalk/bike lane across Pershing, shown in blue. The continuity of the greenway for those outside of vehicles helps communicate to those operating vehicles that it is a space which may have people in it and thus more caution is demanded. Curb bump outs would narrow the crossing to just the width of the travel lanes, shown in black. The shortened crossing length reduces people’s exposure to conflict with vehicles and prevents drivers from using the parking area to go around other vehicles. Perhaps they should be extended east along Pershing to provide space for the bus stops including a shelter. Finally a return of the crosswalk on the north side of the intersection, shown in yellow.

Once upon a time there was a crosswalk on the north side of the intersection.

I contacted the Loop Trolley Company in 2016 to find out if the crosswalk was included in the designs.

Although there was a crosswalk marked on the pavement on the north side of Pershing/DeBaliviere, the crossing was not ADA compliant and did not have a receiving curb ramp of any type on the northwest side. 

The trolley trackway enters into the “greenway” area in the northeast corner of this intersection.  Since the curb in this quadrant of the intersection will not be able to be constructed (to allow the trolley to enter into the dedicated track zone), it decided by the designer that there would not be a safe way to delineate a pathway for vision impaired users (there was concern that pedestrians my end up on the trackway instead of the sidewalk) at this location.  

Also, even if a crossing path could be able to be clarified, the crossing would be approximately 20% longer on the north side of the intersection compared to the south side due to the trackway construction.

Lastly, the pedestrian movements in the area for the most part is from the Metrolink Stop to the strip mall, and back.  This movement is covered in the current design of the Pershing intersection.

Due to these facts, it was decided to place the crossing of DeBaliviere on the south side of the intersection.

Loop Trolley Company

Alderwoman Krewson offered to use 28th Ward capital funds to pay for the crosswalk. And –

Our designer is working to develop the best solution as we speak.  We hope to have a proposed design next week.

Chris Poehler

I don’t believe there is an answer yet, as we are still in discussions. 

As we know, you might as well provide a crossing seeing as you can’t keep pedestrians from going that way.  Your design needs to accommodate all corners.

Deanna Venker, P.E.
Commissioner of Traffic
City of St. Louis

Alas it did not happen.

The Federal Highway Administration agrees with Commissioner of Traffic Deanna Venker. Expecting people to cross three segments of the intersection, with the additional conflict points and wasted time, is fool-hardy. With the addition of the Fields Foods at the northwest corner of the intersection, many residents of DeBaliviere Place will want to cross on the north side of the intersection. And they will whether there’s a crosswalk or not.

How to pay for this? The Expo at Forest Park development got both a TIF and CID ($14.1M total) to help pay for it. Much of the TIF money went to pay for parking for Metrolink patrons (all the structured parking was estimated to cost $10.8M). The TIF takes 50% of the sales taxes generated on site though. The CID adds a sales tax to purchases too. The CID funds raised can be spent “to assist in remediating blight in the District, assisting in funding certain public improvements within the District, and for the operation, administration and maintenance of the District.” With some shoppers crossing the intersection and paying the CID sales tax, it’s a good use of the CID money. Perhaps Great Rivers Greenways can chip in some, as well as the Alder via ward capital and the DeBaliviere Place SBD.

A better time to do these obvious things was when all the construction was happening, but better late than never. It’s obvious there’s a problem here, and it would be negligent to do nothing. The cost of these improvements is nothing compared to the cost of someone being injured or killed by a driver.


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