City of Bad Shoulders

Advocates for the disabled flag down Missouriís highway builders and demand they pay greater attention to accessibility.

Paraquad's sidewalk campaign began in November 2005, after the driver of an SUV struck and killed Elizabeth Bansen of St. Louis as she was riding in her wheelchair on Delmar Boulevard, west of Jefferson Avenue. She was traveling in the road because the sidewalk was in rough shape and, in places, had no ramps. "That was sort of what triggered us to look at the sidewalks across the region," Lackey recalls. "What we found, particularly at Lindbergh, was scary to us."

Horn says MoDOT agreed with Paraquad about the Lindbergh sidewalks. After even the rebuilt ramps failed to meet standards, Horn says MoDOT hired a St. Louis-area consultant, EFK Moen, and was prepared to spend an additional $160,000 for ramp-building in August. That project is on hold, pending resolution of the human rights complaint.

While pointing out specific safety hazards, Paraquad also wants MoDOT to make handicap-accessibility a general priority.

Lackey says it's difficult to communicate with a sprawling bureaucracy. He says the fact that MoDOT put poles in sidewalks on Chouteau is case-in-point. "That was after we had talked to them about Lindbergh," he says. "That's an example of a communication breakdown. That was very frustrating to know we had done all this work with MoDOT, then this other part of MoDOT had done the same thing. They hadn't gotten the message."

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