Taylor and Newstead Avenue I-64 Overpasses Should Receive Improved Pedestrian Treatment

{current Taylor Avenue I-64 overpass looking north}

Once upon a time the several overpasses linking Forest Park Southeast across I-64 to the BJC/WU Medical Center campus and the Central West End were to be part of the “New I-64”. Budget restrictions eventually eliminated any work east of Kingshighway and the overpasses are not in imminent danger of collapse, but they will be replaced.

First will be the Tower Grove/I-64 interchange. This is allow westbound entry and eastbound exit from I-64 and is being partially paid for by BJC as it will offer employees and visitors another option for entering the medical campus. Currently, traffic from the west uses Kingshighway. An interchange will pose a challenge for pedestrian access, though being adjacent to the new Chouteau Park pedestrians should be accommodated. Either way, the interchange has already been engineered and there is arguably less need for a quality pedestrian connection here. But I believe that the Taylor and Newstead Avenue overpasses are absolutely critical to connecting the FPSE and CWE neighborhoods.

There’s a quick list of items that should be addressed by a new overpass: sidewalks should continue straight from south to north, road width should be narrowed to one lane in each direction, and the overpass should be widened to accommodate traditional streetlights, small trees and other plantings.

I venture a guess that neither overpass will be rebuilt for several years, but that only means that good ideas for their reconstruction must be presented now. Taylor Avenue is the most significant overpass for FPSE residents walking to Forest Park, the medical center, MetroLink or the Central West End. The images below are of Taylor Avenue, but as Newstead will connect directly to the new Chouteau Park, creating a widened pedestrian crossing is equally important there.

{current Taylor Avenue I-64 overpass}

{proposed Taylor Avenue I-64 overpass}


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