Forest Park Turns Focus to Dual Path System and Recreational Users

I'm a recreational user of Forest Park. I love the museums, the zoo and Muny, but the vast majority of my time in the park in spent on the walking and biking trails. In the past I've lamented the loss of a particularly useful path and general focus on paying visitors (golf courses) and visitors driving to destination attractions.

The reality is that millions of visitor need to be able to get to the various attractions and the wonderful institutions need room to expand. It's a difficult balancing act. The good news is that the recreational dual path network is currently being expanded and a central park dual path connector may be coming soon.

The asphalt "wheels" path will remain outside the gravel "heels" path around the park. This means the existing asphalt path east of the Hampton Avenue entrance to Steinberg Rink will be converted to crushed limestone. A new asphalt path will be constructed to the south of the park administration area and Aviation Field. The paved path will then follow a route to the east of Jefferson Lake. This segment is currently under construction.

The dual path is nearly complete on the south side of the Zoo's south parking lot all the way to the Hampton Avenue tunnel. Some fences and signs are still present, but many bikers and walkers were ignoring them and using the new surface today. Completing the gravel path on the south and east sides of the park is a great improvement, but the network is still missing a cross-park connections since the Highlands golf course renovation.

That may soon change as the park plans to remove Carr Lane in favor of a recreational dual path. This has long been a suggestion, and is a part of the 1995 Forest Park master plan. Recently the Spanish Pavilion, Washington Drive and Hampton Concourse have all been enhanced, leaving Carr Lane unimproved. The road is largely used for parking and access to picnic areas nearby. It would seem that the eastern portion of the drive could be converted while leaving the western half, maintaining access and a connection to the Pavilion, zoo and park without funneling everyone onto to Well Drive.

{orange=possible Carr Lane removal and replacement, green=existing paths, red=path recently removed}