I’ve lived in short walking distance from the Topanga Westfield mall for nearly a decade. I have been there literally hundreds of times with my daughter. They recently doubled the size of the mall, adding an Apple store, a 2-story carousel, a Target, and a bunch of amenities.
The problem is, it has always been hard to walk to the mall, and now it is getting harder, and the architects of the mall don’t seem to have foot traffic TO the mall in any of their plans. The parking lot is being constructed as a huge moat of fast moving SUVs, and there aren’t even any designated crosswalks – not even some painted lines – to permit pedestrians to approach the mall on foot, perhaps from the increasingly popular public transportation that Los Angeles has developed.
Here’s a video showing the difficulty of walking/rolling to the mall:
The worst part is that they have added new features – palm trees, 2-story parking garages – that further inhibit foot traffic and add more sources of fast-moving danger – and that they have sidewalks without ramps that are difficult to navigate with wheels, whether stroller or wheelchair.
I’ve put in comment cards over the last several years to no avail. A few months ago I went in and personally spoke to several people in the management office, and it took a while until I found someone managerial to talk to. Now we’re in communication, but they say I’m the first person to ever comment on the difficulty of non-vehicular traffic to the mall. I guess they never got my comment cards from 2005 and 2006.
They’re in the process of building the final addition to the mall – a Neiman-Marcus scheduled to be completed in 2008 – and I’m hoping and praying that they will create a nice pedestrian/disabled/stroller accessible, friendly, safe walkway from Topanga Cyn. Blvd. into the mall on the West side.
Westfield says that all their new construction is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. But the complete lack of any ramps and the randomly dead-ending sidewalk paths – which jut into traffic – from the street to the entrance of the mall seems to contradict ADA regulations on curb ramps.
Below you can click to see a drawing from the ADA website, and I can see where the difficulty comes in. Notice that this diagram shows a disabled person emerging from their CAR and taking the path into the building. It does not show what happens if that disabled, wheelchairing pedestrian came from a nearby street. Would they have to brave their way through incoming traffic? Would the cars see them as they rolled in?
I’m not one of these whiny, exaggerated complainers, so I’m not going to engage in histrionic criticism of everything and claim that the mall is built on ancient burial grounds, but I think if I don’t act fast they will seal off the last remaining chance for pedestrians to get to the mall.
I can be reached at email@example.com and my mobile is 818 968 9688 if anyone wants to help me with a solution to this problem.