It’s fun to think big: BIG street art, BIG lights, BIG streetscape projects. But what’s makes for an appealing streetscape? According to hugeasscity it’s simple:
a) small-scale storefronts
b) a wide sidewalk
c) mid-block pedestrian crossings
d) street trees
e) human-scale lighting
Throughout St. Louis we have broken streetscapes, the far east Loop on Delmar, Manchester Avenue in The Grove, South Grand to some extent and many places downtown and elsewhere. But do these areas need fancy remakes? A well maintained streetscape is functional and attractive. The problem in St. Louis isn’t that our streetscapes are obsolete or outmoded, it’s that they haven’t been maintained.
The Euclid Avenue streetscape south of Lindell has recently been the focus of a significant redevelopment and design plan. Streetscape consultant Civitas offered up everything from enormous street art chairs to a curbless road to water-retaining bioswales. Those are fine ideas, but why not just fix a broken sidewalk with a new sidewalk? Why not replace broken or non-functioning lights with newer lights? Why reinvent the streetscape when you can simply maintain it? It may not be sexy, but it works.