The idea is being floated to give Delmar Blvd from Des Peres to DeBaliviere a diet. In order to maintain four lanes of traffic along with the trolley several stretches of street parking would be sacrificed. Reducing Delmar to two lanes like it is to the west would keep the street parking. As it is this part of Delmar most of the time has little traffic and motorists often drive too fast. Neither promotes the pedestrian experience that the community would like to extend from the west.
During rush hour westbound traffic backs up due to the reduction of lanes at Des Peres. With the already planned reduction of DeBaliviere fears are mounting. With population declines and good mass transit coverage how can this be? One only need look at a map to see why congestion increases quickly. So many streets have been closed or one-wayed that cars that otherwise wouldn’t be on the major streets must spend more time on them. This funneling overwhelms our bigger streets, and they cannot cope. Take a look at historicaerials.com to see how the street grid was complete back in 1958.
My recommendations for the area: 1. (Free) Stripe Delmar for two lanes for a few months. When the world doesn’t end and traffic adjusts, keep it. 2. (Low cost) Open up some streets so that local traffic spends less time on the major streets. 3. (Expensive) Break up some of the super-blocks with new streets. 4. (Expensive) Connect Olive to the streetcar right-of-way and make a new east-west two lane road akin to Vernon in University City.
The one thing we should stop doing is configuring our streetscape solely for easy car movement. St Louis has been doing that for decades and the results are obvious. If we want the dynamism of The Loop to the west to extend to the east this diet is necessary. Many now realize that the best long-term planning decision ever made in the West Loop was removing traffic lanes and widening sidewalks. To thrive, the East Loop needs the same.