Delmar Road Diet is Key to Vibrant East Loop

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{Delmar in the East Loop envisioned with two traffic lanes and median streetcar}

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.

Loop closed streets 2-4 lane
{two lane Delmar = yellow, four lane Delmar = blue, DeBaliviere converting 4-2 lanes = orange, blocked streets = red marks}

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.

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{the East Loop segment of Delmar is ready for a road diet}

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{DeBaliviere from Lindell to Delmar is being narrowed for the Trolley and greenway}

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{a narrowed Delmar and DeBaliviere would be essential for redevelopment of existing Metro garage}

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{substantial infill, as envisioned here for DeBaliviere could fit with a narrowed Delmar}

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{Delmar in the East Loop as it appears today}

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{Delmar in the East Loop with the addition of median Loop Trolley}

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{streetscaping and infill could help change the experience of the East Loop}

Loop Trolley - St. Louis, MO
{removing traffic lanes and extended pedestrian space is the key to a vibrant East Loop}

Skinker-DeBaliviere Neighborhood Urban Design Plan Public Meeting Presentation (St. Louis) by nextSTL