When traveling to any destination, getting around is always one of the major questions. Even more for those of us who need accessible transportation. St. Louis is an amazing city to visit and both the city proper and the county have parks, tourist attractions, delicious restaurants and other places you should visit. There are many options in transportation. The City’s Office on the Disabled has a lot of beneficial information about visiting St. Louis.
St. Louis has both a Metro Bus and a Metro Link (a rail train) system. The Metro Link travels from Shiloh-Scott Air Force Base in Illinois into the heart of the city and then branches off with one rail going to Lambert Airport and the other going to Shrewsbury. The Link is very accessible, a few of the stations have elevators only but most have both elevators and ramps for access. The Link stops at many of the major tourist attractions and near various shopping areas. All day or single trip tickets can be purchased and there is a discount for individuals with disabilities. Tickets can be bought at every platform with cash or card and most platforms have kiosks which are at a good height for seated users to purchase tickets. To check on the operation of elevators call 314-289-6873.
All Metro Buses are equipped with ramps and many have the ability to kneel. Many bus stops are accessible but if the stop is not the driver will let you out at an alternate location. Be sure to let the driver know where you are going so they stop at the correct stop long enough for you to get off the bus. The largest downfall of the public transportation system is the wait time for connections.
Metro also runs Call-a-Ride, the ADA para-transit curb to curb service. If you use para-transit in our town to find out how to access Call-a-Ride while in St. Louis contact Metro at 314-982-1510 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Louis has a very available amount of accessible taxi’s. My husband and I have often use A-Best when we needed a ride and do not want to drive. We have had great customer service experience with driver’s well trained in using the lift. Here is list from the City’s website of companies with ADA van transit:
Driving & Rentals
Whether you drive into this Great River City on a road trip or rent a car, driving is the best way to get around the City. The roadways are clearly marked, there is not much traffic, and every place you want to visit has accessible parking at the location or nearby for free or very cheap. If you need to rent a vehicle you can contact any of the major car rental companies and request hand controls. Alternatively, if you need an accessible mini-van there are two companies which rent them by the hour, day or week. United Access can be contacted at (888) 960-7728 and Southern Bus & Mobility can be contacted at (866) 327-1600.
Rolling & Walking
Various neighborhoods in the city lend themselves to being “rollable/walkable.” St. Louis various from very old neighborhoods with brick sidewalks to modern neighborhoods to very hilly neighborhoods. Look for my other articles about St. Louis to learn more detail about the rollability/walkability of each area. Until then, here is a quick overview.
In general, historic areas such as Soulard, Lafayette Square, and Benton Park have a mixture of brick and concrete sidewalks and are fairly flat. Soulard has some steeper hills but the main area is pushable. The majority of St. Louis has curb cuts that are manageable, many are not perfect.
The Central West End is flat with concrete sidewalks and is full of curb cuts. Some are steep and not flat. Some of the sidewalks are narrow as the restaurants and cafes fill the front space with tables and chairs.
Parks: Areas of Forest Park are flat and easily pushable. Sidewalks and trails are concrete or asphalt and have amble curb buts. There are some giant hills in Forest Park so I recommend when moving from one attraction area to another you hop on the Forest Park Trolley (which is the Metro bus which makes a loop in the park). It has a lift and kneeling capabilities. Tower Grove Park is flat and has some beautiful walking paths, stay around the fountain and play areas for the highest percentage of curb cuts.
Clayton has all concrete sidewalks with curb cuts but is very hilly. The shops in neighboring Frontenac are arranged in a flat area which is rollable and has great sidwalks.
Flat neighborhoods with lots of attractions and activities include the Delmar Loop, The Grove, and South Grand. All have mostly concrete sidewalks which are well maintained and nice curb cuts. The South Grand area has even renovated so the accessible parking spots on the main street bump into the sidewalk leaving plenty of space for a driver to unload a wheelchair and not be run over by oncoming traffic. These spaces have their own curb cuts & ramps so you don’t have to roll out into traffic to get onto the sidewalk!
Downtown is mostly concrete sidewalks with curb cuts. However, it is hit and miss if the curb cut is done well. Most of downtown is pretty flat including Washington Avenue as well as near the Busch Stadium and the Dome. However, getting to and from the Arch grounds is hilly and anything moving west up Market Street is a steep climb.