What Should the Next East-West Gateway Executive Director Seek to Accomplish?

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EWG Council of Governments

Ed Hillhouse has announced he will resign as East-West Gateway’s Executive Director June 30.

In the press release his accomplishments during his five-year tenure were listed:

During his time on the board and as East-West Gateway’s executive director, the region’s planning organization facilitated the construction of the Stan Musial – Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River, negotiated a compromise that will lead to an added westbound lane to the Poplar Street Bridge, planned the construction of the Route 3 connector in Metro East, and participated in the planning for the lid over the depressed lanes by Gateway Arch.

East-West Gateway is our regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) covering eight counties. Among other things it allocates Federal dollars to infrastructure projects in the region. Its Board of Directors is comprised of elected executives representing the core counties of the metropolitan region of 2.8M residents.

Besides the obvious North-South MetroLink line, what would you like to see on the next director’s accomplishment list? Who would you nominate?

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  • Joe_in_the_Lou

    I think projecting St. Louis as a retirement city for baby boomers who need to live in an affordable city is a good thing. Market St. Louis as a geriatric town that is desirable because it is affordable. We need more older folks and senior housing. People always try to attract millennials but it is doubtful that they will stay here as young people move around a bit before settling. Seniors, on the other hand, will most likely stay put and we can offer the kinds of resources that they will need such as assisted living, nursing home care, adult day care, hospital care and funeral arrangements. We can remake St. Louis as an attractive retirement destination, where elderly want to move to and permanently reside even after being put 6 feet under. Permanent residents forever. That’s the idea. Maybe we can include them in the population count too after they are dead and buried. That way, on paper, it will look like we have a crowded city. We don’t have to imagine a crowded St. Louis city in our minds. St. Louis is the city of choice because these folks never left after being buried 6 feet under. This make St. Louis a desirable city when people choose not to leave and become permanent residents forever. That’s the new angle of the St. Louis story that needs to be pitched. Let’s do it!

  • David

    Lot of people don’t understand how EWG works(not talking about how it’s suppose to work but how it actually works here in our region) – it’s going to be someone that st.charles and mayor slay agree on. nothing will change, the director doesn’t really have any actual power, it’s like the mayor of ferguson. St.charles will keep building new roads, Franklin and jefferson counties will keep adding shoulders to roads, st.louis county will keep pushing awful projects and the city will be all over the place and no real plan

  • Doug

    Look to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, St. Louis just isn’t an attractive place to move to, yet. I think the #1 goal should be to work on that image.

    There are any number of civic projects that could improve this and for every project there are a hundred naysayers.

    We need to start tackling the big ones – sprawl, public transportation that works, etc., and then start promoting what is right about St. Louis – affordability, cultural events, location.

    Everything else is just pablum.

    • Richard O

      A huge step is working on that image. It starts with both sides of the riverfront from the McArthur Bridge to the Stan Span and yes that includes Illinois. Too much of it looks like an industrial wasteland especially Chouteau’s Landing and the Illinois riverfront. Next get these historic neighborhoods COMPLETELY done with rehabs and infill. You go to Soulard or other neighborhoods and some of it looks nice but there are still too many boarded up buildings and vacant lots. There isn’t enough critical mass to create a good visual image of city neighborhoods. How many times have you heard tourists mention that too many areas of the city are crumbling wastelands.This certainly doesn’t help the image problem. We definitely need to expand on public transit and need to realize, if done right, this will cost a lot of money and take time. Most great cities have excellent subway systems and connecting transit and it didn’t happen overnight and it costs billions. We keep looking for the cheapest way to build a transit system instead of doing it the right way.

      • Alex P

        Clayton and West County will continue to develop as the center of the region until inner-ring Illinois is revived. Until there are neighborhoods in East St. Louis that can compete with St. Louis’s prized neighborhoods, downtown will continue to function as a novelty. Yes, comparing the future of East St. Louis to the CWE is a stretch and a joke to most people but I believe it is a necessity.

  • Kevin

    John Nations?

  • tbatts666

    A dedication to making STL more resilient and safe.

    If they do add infrastructure, let it not be a liability to future generations.

    They should prioritize projects which will ease financial burden on the future, and improve safety and options for residents.

    Is the north south metro link line obvious? Could a dedicated, fast, pay before board, north-south BRT be a more incremental approach to transit?

    • tbatts666

      Oh bike infrastructure that connects places safely plz.

    • Mike F

      If a N/S streetcar line is not doable ($$$, oh, and the will of an incompetent and corrupt civic management, composed of pols and corporatists), and BRT (a proper form, such as that in Curitiba), then at least could some money be spent on at least a hundred miles of dedicated, protected and separated bike lanes?

      I fear more South County Connector-CAR/MVVA*-St. Adium stupidity, unfortunately.

      *Could CAR and the MVVA plan (sure, let’s eliminate the ONLY street from DT to the riverfront; screw Laclede’s Landing businesses more? C’mon, you morons in civic management, BANG THE FREAKIN’ ROCKS TOGETHER!

      • tbatts666

        Unfortunately a lot of what the wasteful projects some of our leadership support support. Important for us to keep building awareness.

        I would love to see dedicated, protected bike lanes. Or even some streets timed for bicycles!

  • Brett

    The removal of I-44 through the city?

    • Tysalpha

      I-44 should really swing northeast at Vandeventer, along the rail lines, and join 64/40 around where the old Famous-Barr warehouse is. There really is no need for the stretch between Vandeventer and I-55. But that’s not going to happen.