MoDOT Presents Plan to Close 16 City Streets Along Gravois Avenue

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Closing a city street should require a deliberate, open, public process. In an historic city, altering the street grid in place since the end of the American Civil War, 150 years ago this year, should require the most deliberate, most open, most public process. In fact, if it were up to us, the St. Louis street grid would be on the National Register of Historic Places, be a City Landmark, and require a hearing and vote by the city’s Preservation Board to alter.

Of course this isn’t how street closures are handled in the City of St. Louis. Some are closed at the behest of an Aldermen responding to an unknown arbitrary (small) number of constituents. Some have been more planned. There’s a long history of closing streets in this city. Now, the Missouri Department of Transportation, responsible for state routes through the city, is presenting a plan to near south side neighborhoods to close 16 streets along Gravois Avenue from Russell Boulevard to South Grand Boulevard.

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO
{click image to enlarge}

The plan is being presented as a fait accompli, with at least one neighborhood being told that while input from select places is being sought, all the other neighborhoods along Gravois are already on board. Proposed closures are location in the neighborhoods of Benton Park, Benton Park West, McKinley Heights, Fox Park, and Tower Grove East.

Widening the historic streets of the city have wreaked havoc on the pre-automobile city, decreased connectedness and walkability, eviscerating commercial strips. As we see the positive affect of removing traffic lanes on the sustainability of retail, and thus the city’s tax base, the proposed closures threaten to do the opposite by further prioritizing vehicle speed and traffic throughput over connectivity for all users.

What’s worse, this plan is being presented as an effort to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. We suspect it’s a way to reduce the number and complexity of signals along Gravois, saving MoDOT millions of dollars. Closing city streets, even at intersections that can seem confusing, is not safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The number one priority for any pedestrian enhancement along Gravois should be to slow vehicle speed.

In a city that loves the mega-project, Gravois could fit. What if St. Louis prioritized capturing land value along this stretch? Narrow and reduce lanes, reduce vehicle speed, make it a place for people, fill vacant storefronts and implement better land use.

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO{closing city streets won’t make this pedestrian crossing a sea of asphalt any safer}

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO{six lanes of traffic and a 35mph speed limit on Gravois}

The Stroad_Design Rochester{between neighborhood and highways speeds, streets lose their ability to capture value}

Impact of speed on pedestrian deaths{at 40mph, a common speed on Gravois, a pedestrian has little chance of surviving a collision with a vehicle}

What we do not know, but everyone should know (deliberate, open, and public process), is how this plan was put together, at whose behest, and with what input? Neighborhoods have been presented with a vague history that asserts the plan is somehow in line with the city’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, a federally funding plan to reduce pedestrian deaths in the city (St. Louis City averaged 11 pedestrian deaths annually from 2006-2010). That plan outlines objectives such as the “construction of new pedestrian facilities”, “changing the behavior of all road users”, and “addressing pedestrian safety, mobility, and accessibility.” One has to be a magician, or a traffic engineer, to pull 16 street closures from a pedestrian safety action plan.

Yet, as far as we know, the city has signed off on the plan. It’s a state route after all, the city doesn’t pay to maintain it, so what say does it have anyway? This is where the city must have a clear self-identity. As near as we can tell, that identity is “if there’s someone else who can pay for something, do it.” This isn’t just poor self-esteem, it’s terrible planning.

But we’re not quite ready to throw the street closure plan out just yet. The closures are at six-way intersections and generally, with a short jog, access is retained. It’s also possible there’s more to the plan than we know. Can Gravois be narrowed to no more than two traffic lanes in each direction? This would lessen the crossing distance, which is in some places more than 100ft to cross Gravois. Can the speed limit be reduced to 25mph, as on Lindell Boulevard, and be enforced? Can more robust crosswalks be added?

A map distributed to neighborhoods shows five pedestrian deaths along this 2-mile long stretch of Gravois from 2007-2011. One near Iowa Avenue, one near Nebraska Avenue and three near Compton, Virginia, Louisiana Avenues. The map shows quite an even distribution across the city, though clearly weighted to the north side by per capita pedestrian deaths, given its lower population. In fact, higher-speed corridors, often lined with street closures, show concentrations of deaths, including Kingshighway and Grand Avenue near Interstate 64.

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO

There are challenges along Gravois, but they are the result of widening and adapting a pre-automobile street to prioritize moving as many cars as quickly as possible through the city. From the beginning, these streets worked for people. It’s very unclear that the plan being presented as a done deal, has been derived from any worthwhile process. It’s very unclear that the solution will address the problem. The hollow assurance being offered to some that many options were considered in various workshops, but eliminated due to being against city policy (is there one?), too difficult, or too costly, shouldn’t be allowed to go unchallenged.

A city contemplating a plan such as this without a deliberate, open, public process, and input from a wide variety of experts in pedestrian infrastructure and urban transportation, isn’t serving its residents. A city doing this isn’t planning for a sustainable future. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s Communications Director Maggie Crane recently stated “We’d like to become a “stop for pedestrian” city,” instead of a “yield for pedestrian” city. We can change the language of the law, but if we continue to build a city for cars and call it a pedestrian improvement, nothing will change.

If the city wants to become a welcoming, safer place for pedestrians, there are more than a couple people it should contact, including Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City, Dan Burden, Charles Marohn of Strong Towns, Mark Fenton, Todd Litman, Brent Toderian…they’re all inexpensive compared to the millions planning to be spent on this project. Of course, the city could listen to local experts and save a dime if that’s the hangup.

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO{some short sections of streets have already been closed with barricades}

Preliminary plans for closures along Gravois Avenue:

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO

Gravois Avenue closures proposed - St. Louis, MO

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  • gmichaud

    There are a few points I made at Urban Review which I believe are pertinent here. First of all the public hearing should be about the future of transportation in St. Louis and not about spending scarce resources on closing streets. Where is the debate about how to allocate transportation dollars in the City? (and elsewhere)
    MoDot as usual comes up with a preconceived solution and that is supposed to be the debate.
    Another key point is that the diagonal of Gravois supports and connects with north south and east west streets at or near the same intersection, making this nodes especially useful in creating distribution points for the rest of the city. This is exactly opposite of the MoDot proposal. Many of these points along Gravois should become major and secondary transit stations, not dead end streets to serve the weird priority of MoDot to shut down streets so MoDot can direct funds elsewhere
    These are truncated comments, however it should be clear MoDot is not interested in anything related to successful transit. It is and has been a government body totally captured by financial interests. That is how their decisions are made. Decisions have nothing to do with the welfare of society, only those who grease their palms. Public hearings are little more than shams to support their insider decisions.
    None of this would be a big deal if all we were talking about was the creation of a shitty city and regional environment. Except now the design of the city has become an important front for curtailing global warming and associated oil related defects that dominate daily life. In other words the survival of humanity becomes a major issue to consider when making these decisions.
    These issues will continue to be critical until government transportation officials begin to address the real problems instead of pandering to a few insiders who gain wealth with their decisions.
    I am truly disappointed in Mr. Reed for whom I was looking for new leadership

    • STLEnginerd

      Firstly, I agree that a larger vision for Transit needs to be the foundation of any decisions on Gravois.

      I will bring up that two points that HAVE been made before that directly impact the potential for transit on Gravois are…

      1) Sycronizing lights the improve traffic flow. Especially important for bus or LRT traveling on Gravois. If the chaotic nature of the street grid are the problem standing in the way of making that happen it is a least worth considering what we would sacrifice for that.

      2) LRT would not fit between signal intersection for the same reason. Again worth considering what that would be worth.

      As far as I know neither one of these things is the end goal which is sort of the problem. Either there is no grand vision, or it’s not being articulated. Both are failures.

      Two things I disagree with though. The streets in question will never become major cross streets for transit. They are low volum neighborhood feeder roads, important but hardly the kind of roads public transit would likely follow. Secondly not sure what Lewis Reed did

      • gmichaud

        The fact is Gravois connects with both east west and north south streets, whether certain secondary streets are part of a transit solution remains to be seen. That is actually the point, there is no consideration of transit alternatives, so who really knows.
        Many cities have transit systems that contribute to a higher quality of life for their citizens. Helsinki, a city of approximately the same size metro area as St Louis for instance has over 40 per cent of their citizens who don’t even own cars, and of course the ones that do will take transit also.
        In contrast transit in St. Louis and the region is at best 2nd or 3rd rate, if that.
        While Gravois interrupts the grid, on the positive side it could be a powerful organizational tool for the support of transit. MoDot is really the Missouri Department of Cars and Trucks. The need to utilize resources for something other than closing streets should be evident (who is clamoring for these street closures?) MoDot as usual does not consider anything that does not include autos.
        The understanding of how to develop transit in the future also relates to road diets, shrinking roads may seem to be pedestrian friendly, but an effective transit system would be a pedestrian friendly outcome and it would influence how architecture and urban planning is conducted and generally lead to pedestrian friendly environments.
        So without going into great detail, there are serious problems with the design of the current transit system that are not being addressed in any form, at all.
        My disenchantment with Mr. Reed is that I was hoping for a new vision of the future. But instead of supplying new leadership it seems he is going along with all of the current agendas that have gotten St Louis to such an undesirable point.
        This failure to develop effective transit is causing economic and social harm in St Louis and the region. And as I mention above this gross negligence by government officials goes beyond quality of life issues. Carbon pollution has become a serious problem. So when are government officials going to start including this consideration in their decision making? Are they going to wait until the crisis is so serious that they can no longer ignore it? It’s incredible.

        Nor do I see the timing of lights to be a problem, they are clearly not synchronized now and as a driver I would expect the main streets like Gravois to allow for reasonable passage of vehicles. Right now it is not even close to any minimum standard, stopping vehicles at practically every light along Gravois. A stoppage at a major intersection like Jefferson is understandable, but not every intersection. Closing streets isn’t going to solve anything when MoDot doesn’t bother to even attempt to synchronize the lights now.

  • Imran

    From Lewis Reed:

    “Dear Residents-

    Tonight at 5:30pm I’ve invited MODot engineers to the Five Star Senior Center (2832 Arsenal) for our first Transportation Town Hall to discuss plans to redesign Gravois Avenue from Russell to S. Grand Blvd, including the potential to close 16 intersecting side streets (later proposals are calling for 11 closures). More information on this plan: http://www.modot.org/stlouis/major_proje

    MODot will take feedback and questions from residents and living nearby is not a requirement, since this route is a regional connector and serves drives from a large geography. Residents will have time then to speak to the attendees in support or opposition.”

  • AZ

    If you would like to see MODOT make Gravois not just for cars, and add a bicycle track and transit lane in each direction, sign the petition! https://www.change.org/p/modot-plan-for-pedestrian-bike-and-transit-improvements-on-gravois#petition-letter

    • tbatts666

      Signed it. I think we should be prioritizing pedestrian infrastructure before bike improvements, but what the hell.

      Also I think all of US-66 in the county and the city would be a great place for dedicated pay before board bus rapid transit. Not sure why everyone is always jumping to light rail. .

    • mpbaker22

      Not sure if you’ll see this, but I’m curious what you think about bike lanes on Union and Manchester. I was excited when the ones on Manchester went in as I used to ride that street often. But I have noticed that no one uses those bike lanes, so it seems a fair waste of money.

      • How are the bike lanes a waste of money? They’re just paint. Roads get repainted every few years, anyways.

        • mpbaker22

          There is an opportunity cost on Union when one takes a road wide enough for at least 7 lanes and reduces it to only contain 2 lanes of traffic. Plus, paint is not the only cost of a bike lane.

      • Alex Ihnen

        It would be interesting to get a count on Manchester. I work with someone who rides it everyday – to match anecdote with anecdote. Part of the problem I find there is that the bike lane isn’t swept and so it’s full of glass, beer cans, etc. No one’s going to find that inviting.

        • mpbaker22

          It would be interesting to see numbers. The other though I have is when I lived in Maplewood, before the bike lanes, I rode Manchester probably a few hundred times, and I never had a problem. I just wonder whether taking up so much space on the road is actually helping cyclists at all?
          I suppose my biggest issue is with the Union bike lanes. I think they extend up to Natural Bridge. By the time I get to Union and Page, I start wondering who decided to put bike lanes in that area.

          P.S. Congratulations on your new job!

  • STLEnginerd

    Ideally they rethink this on a case by case basis. Here is my take on the preliminary plans shown above.

    Gravois, 12th, and Geyer – not sure what they are really changing here, I’m fine with making Geyer one way (East) for a block and 12th oneway (North) for a block if thats the plan.

    Gravois Lynch and Ohio – My first reaction was traffic circle. With a nice fountain or statue in the middle. Very European. Of course one of the corner buildings would probably have to go if they did. Either that or just leave it as is except new side walks.

    Gravois Compton Wyoming – Traffic Circle as above little if any demo required.

    Gravois, Louisiana, Virginia, Utah – I’m fine with MoDOTs plan except little cut-through of Virginia needs to be remove for pedestrian plaza as well.

    Gravois, Cherokee, Utah – I fine with MoDOTs plan except need to remove dead end stub of Tenessee for pedestrian plaza of some kind.

    Looks like there are a number of other closures that may need revised but with a preliminary plan its hard to comment.

    I think its fair to say that IMHO not all the closures are bad. Schomehl pots, concrete barriers and dead end streets should be avoided however. If you are closing a street, it should be completely erased from the grid.

  • Steve Kluth

    Town hall regarding this plan this Thursday, Apr 30 (same night as Dining Out for Life) at the Five Star Senior Center, 2832 Arsenal Street. More info at https://nextdoor.com/agency/mo/saint-louis/city-of-st-louis/youre-invited-transportation-town-hall-focusing-on-plans-for-gravois-ave-10885424/

  • Steve Kluth

    At the PD’s stltoday site, last week’s “Ask the Road Crew” chat did mention the project a couple times. A road diet was mentioned, but no details. Along with Deanna Venker’s name below, Andrew Gates of MoDOT Community Relations mentioned comments could be sent to [email protected]. I have no idea if it will do any good. I’m guessing the cryptic email address will almost ensure few comments. It might be better to try and get some real answers (like “Where are the road diet and bike lane specifics in the plan so the public can check them?”) during the next few week’s chats which are every Wednesday midday. (I’m usually too busy on Wednesdays to check it live.)

  • Matt Gaary Feldworth

    Just a question here. I’ve noticed that some, actually most, of the lights on Gravois are not set with sensors. So ill hit every red light on the way down bc the lights are time managed. I’ll sit at a light on Gravois, not one piece of cross traffic occurs for 2min. Thus piling up actual traffic on Gravois. Can we not have sensors for the lights? Obviously there’s cost issues here, but ask our flourishing govt. Officials to foot this bill. Idk I’m just a logical thinker looking for logical answers. Closing streets will just start more unnecessary uproar, esp with ppl that live on these streets

    • jhoff1257

      Judging by the 5 schematics at the end of the post the new intersections will be equipped with “detection zones.”

  • neroden

    Gravois breaks the grid. In a city with any sense, the entirety of Gravois would be closed off (pedestrianized, or whatever) to get the grid working again.

  • Ryann

    I’ll just leave this here. Lol
    https://youtu.be/dBE5YVbTdX8

    • Adam

      i love a good comedy.

    • mpbaker22

      Yea, and we need to add a 3rd lane to the entirety of I-70 in Missouri (Despite the fact that it has less traffic than predominantly 2-lane I-55 in Illinois)

  • kjohnson04

    I have one word. No. Keep the streets open, lower the speed limit, separate bus and bike lanes. That’s a solution. I’m not sure what this is, but it isn’t a solution.

    • Kevin

      I’m not sure what this comment is. What’s it’s not is an educated comment on the 2 projects on Gravois. This project written here that would convert 6 way intersections into 4. And the 2nd project (not written about here) that would do a road diet, add bike lanes and left turn lanes

      • kjohnson04

        Fair point. I thought I understood what it was. Thanks for clearing it up. Unfortunately, far too often MoDOT is associated with unnecessary projects that look like busy work, addressing a problem that doesn’t exist to justify expenditures that could better spent elsewhere. I apologize for my knee-jerk reaction to “MoDOT” and “street closures.”

        • Kevin

          I think there is a lot that’s still up on the air. Varies wards are hosting meetings with MoDOT and stl streets dept at end of the month. 6th ward is on the 30th I believe. 15th on the 27th.

      • Devin in South City

        Hey Kevin, is there any information out there about this Phase 2? I’d love to see what’s in the works. I live in Tower Grove South, and would love to be more in the know and engaged with plans like this.

  • Tim E

    Have to admit, absolutely no responses about who is making a play for the old Shriners hospital site but plenty here. Including my opinionated opinion (if I spelled that right). So my takeaway
    1) MoDOT plan is coming in stages and their is a paving component/stage that I think everyone would most likely agree upon. Phase II road diet and bike lanes would work to both MoDOT and city advantage. Six lanes is overkill and at some point road diets do need to happen.
    2) I do believe some states allow gas taxes on the county level for metro areas. Want to say Chicago area but not sure. Something has to give, either tolls on I-70 & I-44, a gas tax raise that goes beyond the pitiful 2 cent proposal in the state senate, or a means for metro areas to add gas tax for county arterials in return for MoDOT being able to drop some of the roadway mileage.
    3) I do have to agree, tough for public engagement if the public doesn’t show up. You got a great discussion here but lets admit that at the local level from primaries, even majore elections to presentations it has become pathetic. But I do come to believe that city leadership has seem to drop the ball on infrastructure or its say on that matter.

    • Adam

      i think if people felt that showing up was actually worth anything—that MODOT, in this case, was actually going to act on their input—then they would show up. as others have described, the usual procedure is to plan everything first and then say to the public “this is what we’re going to do. what do you think?” as if what they think matters at that point.

      • Tim E

        Sorry, don’t buy that I need to feel like I’m needed before I’m willing to express an opinion or be involved mentality. Certainly not the case here between us and everyone else on the page.

        • Adam

          well, i think there’s a difference between “feeling” needed and observing the way MODOT treats public input as a formality to be checked off a “to do” list.

  • JZ71

    This is not about increasing vehicles speeds on Gravois, this is about smoothing the flow of traffic on both Gravois and the intersecting streets. Pedestrians complain, now, that they don’t have enough time to cross the street and motorists complain that it takes too long to get a green light. Converting a six-way intersection to a four-way intersection reduces the number of signal cycles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_timing .) by a third, which allows the remaining cycles more time to be allocated appropriately.

  • Alex Ihnen

    Reducing six-way intersections to four isn’t a smart improvement. While we’re told that all alternatives have been exhausted (before bringing the project to city residents and the neighborhoods through which it cuts), there are better solutions to pedestrian safety. What’s generally not acceptable in St. Louis, however, is prioritizing pedestrian safety at the expense (or perceived expense) of people in cars. We have a long way to go.

    • JZ71

      If pedestrian safety is a priority, removing an intersecting street removes one conflict point for pedestrians – they no longer need to look both ways before crossing . . .

      • neroden

        Gravois is the street which should be closed. It’s the diagonal streets which cause trouble. NYC figured this out and closed Broadway along most of its length.

        • JZ71

          Traffic is like water, it finds the path of least resistance. Close Gravois and it will end up on other streets, and those neighbors will then scream / demand solutions. We live in a mobile society, and everyone’s travels impacts someone else’s neighborhood. Gravois was here first, the grid was superimposed, poorly, on top of it – they’re the true “diagonal streets”. Yes, improvements can be made. No, making it “go away” is not one of them!

          • Alex Ihnen

            That’s not accurate. Traffic is better described as a gas. It can be compressed and expanded. It’s not a finite amount. Multiple highway removals and road conversions (both increasing and decreasing capacity) have defied linear or predictable traffic outcomes. Traffic in fact does disappear and appear depending on capacity and speed of a roadway. It’s shocking that we haven’t learned that here in STL. We closed 5mi sections of I-64 for a year at a time. Traffic did increase elsewhere, but not nearly at a 1:1 ratio and not nearly to the degree predicted. People changed their travel patterns and times and the street grid easily absorbed 10s of thousands of cars a day.

          • JZ71

            Liquid or gas, traffic follows the path of least resistance. Close a road, any road, and people will find a different route, a different mode, or, rarely, not travel at all. We have blizzards and people change their plans. We have closures and detours and, yes, people adapt. But few people will choose a longer, more circuitous route, especially for their daily commute, if a more direct one is available. (And the reason Gravois has remained a direct route [and a commercial corridor] is because it does connect multiple neighborhoods.)

            Most people don’t work because they love to work, they work because they love to eat and have a roof over their heads. And most of us don’t live within walking distance of where we work, so, duh, we commute, 4-5-6 days a week, in repeatable patterns. Sure, we can shift traffic off of Gravois and onto other streets, presumably NIMBY and NIMFY and not in “my” neighborhood. But since the vast majority of us are guilty of commuting, we WILL all continue to negatively impact other people and other neighborhoods every day we leave our homes.

            Is it “fair” that Gravois is a state-maintained arterial, and not a local, residential street? It all depends on how close you live to it. Less traffic on Gravois means more on the interstates, more on Grand Avenue, more on Arsenal, more on Manchester and every other nearby street. No one living near Gravois moved there when it was NOT a busy thoroughfare. It’s no different than moving next to an airport and complaining about the planes flying over or moving next to a firehouse and complaining about the sirens in the middle of the night. Life is full of choices, but expecting traffic to disappear really isn’t one of them.

  • k85d

    Biggest issue with this piece and other that relate to MoDOT is that nextstl authors have an automatic “MoDOT is bad, so this must be bad, no way this can be good, they are screwing us” mind set. And that gives us incomplete nonsense pieces like this. People that deal with this on a daily basis know there is a phase 2 but do to fiscal constraints, design staff time, other issues like utilities ect both couldn’t be done at the same time. Should MoDOT or City explain this for every project? Do I want my deli to tell me how to sausage is made? Yes people should be informed but I usually don’t tell my Docotor, hey doc I really think you should cut me open from the other side instead.. MoDOT, east west gateway yearly hold meetings and invite the public to get educated on these projects and nobody ever shows up. I mean for f sake this project and the road diet phase 2 have been on the books since 2012 in some shape….ignorance is not an excuse. And this piece is full of ignorance.

    • rgbose

      I went to the public open house at the Schlafly library last year about the stip. You’re right, barely anyone came. The fellow from EWG showed me the book of projects, and it’d make anyone’s eyes glaze over. In my opinion they need to engage the community at the scale of the projects.

      I’m skeptical and critical of MoDOT and EWG because of the immense damage they and other DOTs all over the country have done and continue to do to cities. Connected2045 says all the right things and then the projects are more of the same. I’d like to see different priorities.

      • Mark

        City and county politicians are the ones doing the damage by horse trading. If slay wants something in the city, he has to give something to Steve Elhman in st.charles.

        • rgbose

          Yes, too much politics. EWG and MoDOT can have the best staffs in the world, but the decisions ultimately have a significant political component.

          • AC

            Hmmm and just what political party has been in control for how many years? Don’t they have a single party rule currently? People get the government they deserve.

          • DC

            Republicans in St.Charles have been a huge part of the problem for the regions transportation. They are in bed with the Dems in the county and city when it goes to giving us this shitty system

          • Alex Ihnen

            Couldn’t agree more. Though I’d most like to see the system change. Any party running a city this way would face most of the same challenges.

          • rgbose
          • AC

            Oh I’m quite familiar with who is on the board but thanks anyways for the link. Are you familiar with Mark Kern and Alan Dunstan? The board reads like who’s who list of corrupt career politicians. At least Ann Callis lost her bid for congress.

    • K85d

      And that mind set I speak of is perfectly illustrated with this total nonsense bs line from the piece

      “What’s worse, this plan is being presented as an effort to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. We suspect it’s a way to reduce the number and complexity of signals along Gravois, saving MoDOT millions of dollars. Closing city streets, even at intersections that can seem confusing, is not safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The number one priority for any pedestrian enhancement along Gravois should be to slow vehicle speed.”

      This is total crap and an insult to the MoDOT city area team, I know those traffic engineer who take ped/cyclist accidents personally, so you keep suspecting bs. I mean the planning manager for the st.louis district has probably covered more on his bike then all of the trailnet staff combined but you keep suspecting this is just to make Gravois a freeway.

    • Alex Ihnen

      That’s not true, but I get it. MoDOT did an admirable job on the New I-64 – they build nice roads, generally on time and within budget even. The agency is just fine, perhaps even one of the better DOTs in the nation, but they serve politicians. Our transportation decisions are political decisions, and that is where we fail. What’s difficult is pinpointing the political responsibility. We’ve tried again and again and the buck is passed until you forget what you’re looking for. And so it goes.

      • john

        The New 64 reduced pedestrian access, made walking distances longer, and increased motorized traffic in what was once a walkable neighborhood. An “admirable” job… only if you believe cars/trucks/pollution/noise/light polution are preferable outcomes.

        • Alex Ihnen

          Exactly. MoDOT built what they built well. What they built isn’t what should have been built. But that gets back to a political question.

  • Dani Pizzella

    EVERYONE.

    Please contact the MODOT representative for this project and express your concerns. It is the only way we will be heard.

    Deanna Venker at MoDOT (314)877-0118 or [email protected]

    • Jp

      Or call and ask for her to explain phase 2 which includes a road diet and bike lanes.

    • AC

      So you attended the input meetings?

  • matimal

    We’re moving backwards! Maybe I’ve been wrong. Maybe St. Louis really IS going to be the next Detroit.

  • From MoDOT info sheet on 2015-2016 construction projects in the City of St. Louis:

    Route 30 (Gravois) signal work – This project updates signals and improves detection at various intersections between I-55 and Grand Boulevard. Includes the signals at Grand, Cherokee, Utah, Compton/Wyoming, Nebraska, California, Lynch/ Ohio, McNair, Jefferson, Russell/I-55 and 12th/ Geyer/I-55 ramp. Work starts in summer 2015 and will be complete by summer 2016.

    Route 30 (Gravois) pavement work – This project removes and replaces the driving surface from the St. Louis City limits to I-55. Work starts in spring 2016 and is finished in summer.

    Route 30 (Gravois) intersection work – This project updates signals, lighting and pedestrian 13 crossings at Morganford Road, Arsenal Avenue and Chippewa Boulevard and Kingshighway. Work starts in early 2016 and will be complete in spring.

    • Mark

      I spoke with the MoDOT project manager for the city jobs and he said the pavement job will probably be moved up to fall 2015. And that pavement job include a road diet and bike lanes

      • I hope that’s true because otherwise MoDOT could be wasting money on traffic signals for non-existent lanes of traffic. It also means the current planning document is next to worthless as a road diet implies significant changes to the roadway width… unless by road-diet MoDOT means 6-lanes to 5-lanes.

  • Brian

    Here’s a crazy alternative: close Gravois between Geyer and Chippewa. The roadbed can be replaced with modern infill that reflects 21st-century urbanism. While Gravois is a historic route that predates the Louisiana Purchase, I do not think there are economic or aesthetic reasons it must be preserved. Jefferson, Grand and Kingshighway can handle the north-south traffic, and Arsenal and Chippewa can take the east-west traffic. Folks transiting Gravois to get from downtown to SoCo can take I-55 or I-44.

    • neroden

      If it needs to be preserved for historic reasons, it can be restored to its historic status as an unpaved pedestrian / horse / wagon trail. It could be a public amenity.

      Gravois is grid-breaking and should definitely be closed to automobiles.

      • JZ71

        And the surronding neighborhoods can be demolished and returned to their historic status as farms . . .

        • matimal

          No…their historic status is forest.

  • Cool Papa Bell

    I’m cautious to comment here since I’ve noticed a trend of bullying those that a difference of opinion or life experience from the authors and regular commenters so I’ll say my peace and that’s it. I want to bring some accuracy to some of the comments that have been made.
    -opinions that this will make it easier to get to south county- wasn’t that the whole purpose of this rd from the beginning? It was originally a farm to market rd and the 1st paved rd in the city.
    -Schoemel Pots- that’s a major sign of the double digit crime increase that has been happening, I am in the streets all day everyday for work in some of the roughest hoods in STL. They are placed there to try to stop stolen cars speeding, drive by shooters from fleeing and many police chases.
    -How is Gravois not on a street grid- a grid would be 2 intersecting lines making boxes like graph paper. Gravois runs on the diagonal making for some pretty dangerous intersections that the STLMPD can’t police.
    -the rd is what is killing the property values- um no that would be the least desirable school district and major crime increase. Business owners can’t make a profit with high insurance premiums.
    -put in roundabouts – if you think this would work please spend the day up on the “circle” on Riverview and W. Florissant, it’s very scary sight.

    I feel like so many of the cities problems would solve themselves if people were as passionate about the soaring crime rates and failing schools as these street closures. The city doesn’t have the money to provide adequate policing, how on earth would they be able to attempt to solve street closures but then again they did afford granite curbs on Tucker so maybe it’s just a very financially mismanaged city, now that it’s gone to a single party rule I don’t think anything will be changed for the better for quite sometime.

    • rgbose

      There are plenty of successful business districts in the city, despite the crime and schools.

      Street grid to me means many connections not necessarily at right angles. More sponge-like than the creeks to streams to rivers model you see in post WWII development patterns,.

      • Cool Papa Bell

        Of course there are many successful business districts presently in the city despite schools and crime but I was specifically speaking about Gravois, the road this article is about and the violent crime rate skyrocketing in the neighborhoods it borders such as Tower Grove East & South, Dutchtown, Bevo, Gravois Park etc. Not surprised at all that you’d find something to be contrary about.

        • rgbose

          My apologies, your last paragraph seemed very general to me, and that’s what I was responding too.

      • Mike

        Cool Papa Bell used the textbook definition of a street grid-streets intersecting each other to form right angles and you dismiss it and get 2 upvotes? I can see why people can feel bullied if their not sheep here

        • rgbose

          No dismissing here. I totally understand one’s definition of street grid could be strictly highly connected streets meeting at all right angles. Mine and I think Chris Cleeland’s, who asked the question, is a bit broader, that is a street network with many connections as opposed to what’s usually built today.

          • neroden

            Mike’s definition of grid is correct.

            It’s not just beneficial to have a grid because they have “many connections” — the actual grid structure helps too. Manhattan has a grid; London has a highly connected street network… but does not have anything resembling a grid.

            You have a grid in St. Louis, but it’s messed up by diagonals like Gravois. This creates traffic problems due to Braess’s Paradox.

    • Alex Ihnen

      We do speak our mind here…thanks for commenting – you’re always welcome! 🙂

      • Cool Papa Bell

        I agree with the chicken/egg argument but from my personal experience in the streets its more than needing economic stability. There is a major culture issue here that is unlike anything else I have experienced in similar cities with high minority poverty. The culture of violence, the culture of no snitching, the culture of acceptable and high rates of animal abuse, something Stray Rescue’s founder Randy Grimm is even on record saying its a cultural issue he’s never seen anywhere else. The encouragement, acceptance and complacency of continuing the cycle poverty will not change with thriving businesses. I’m very hopeful and excited about the new charter school Hawthorne Leadership Academy for girls that will open in August as a major turning point for our youth in the city that live in zip codes that are more dangerous and have a lower life expectancy than Iraq.

        • Ian Mitchell

          Stop paying people for merely drawing breath and these cultures will fizzle.

  • rgbose

    Another state maintained road in St. Louis- Natural Bridge. Build for speed, that’s what you get.

    http://www.kmov.com/story/28783405/pedestrian-struck-killed-in-hit-and-run-near-fairground-park

  • JP

    Looks like nextstl jumped the gun on the story again. MoDOT has a repaving job on this section next spring and it includes a road diet That job might actually be moved up to this fall to go along with this signal job.

    • Brian

      I’m OK with nextSTL jumping the gun on stories. For us in the 99%, this site is one of the few places we can find information on what the movers and shakers are planning to do with our built environment. Too often, the citizens who have to live with the consequences of these plans are left in the dark until it is too late to do anything but pout.

    • Alex Ihnen

      You do have to read the whole story:

      “But we’re not quite ready to throw the street closure plan out just yet. The closures are at six-way intersections and generally, with a short jog, access is retained. It’s also possible there’s more to the plan than we know. Can Gravois be narrowed to no more than two traffic lanes in each direction? This would lessen the crossing distance, which is in some places more than 100ft to cross Gravois. Can the speed limit be reduced to 25mph, as on Lindell Boulevard, and be enforced? Can more robust crosswalks be added?”

      I understand that additional phases are being planned, and road diets and even bike lanes are possible. Are they funded? Are the officially part of the plan? Have they been engineered? If so, they’re not being presented alongside street closures. And regardless, the process employed on such projects like this shouldn’t be acceptable to the city or its residents.

      • Jd

        Yes they are. Funded and on MoDOT stip. project 6p2345. $5.8m for the resurface + road diet/bike lanes. Currently on schedule for 6/2016 but project manager said he will move it to fall 2015

        • Alex Ihnen

          So this is all ready to go, engineered & paid for, and goes hand-in-hand with closing streets, but MoDOT has chosen not to share that part of the project with residents? Let’s take the rosiest possible scenario here…this is all ready to go this year. This would still be a 2mi long massive infrastructure and transportation project that’s been put together out of sight of daily users and the public. Lack of a public process doesn’t always result in a terrible project (see City Garden), but it’s not the right way to build a city.

          • rgbose

            I’m sure there was an EW Gateway comment period on the stip, They just wrapped up one for the next 4 years. The problem is they just present all the projects and say what do you think? You’d have to know what the stip is about and search through for projects relevant to your neck of the woods, then interpret it and comment on it. They need to do more to engage on the neighborhood level so that people realize what projects might affect them. I think it’s too much to ask the way they do it now.

          • Jp

            I do agree with this somewhat. They assume the public will have general knowledge but that’s just not true. Most people need to have their hand held and walked through the process

          • Mike

            Sadly that is the reality. Personal responsiblity is not most city residents strong suit

          • Adam

            As opposed to who? Are county residents on top of all the road project details? Somehow I doubt it, but maybe you can wow me with some comparative meeting attendance numbers (also doubt it).

          • Mike

            Oh Adam, it wouldn’t feel like a real comment section without your ‘ol chip on the shoulder uniquness you bring. I didn’t say opposed to anyone and no sure why you would bring up the county because I certainly didn’t. The only thing I would like to wow you with is the thought that not everybody is out to get you or against you. May you find peace!

          • Jp

            Don’t be silly Alex. I went to all 4 TIP comment meetings EWG where metro, gateway and MoDOT staff were available to answer questions and explain projects. Total attendance at the city meeting. Zero.

        • I’d love to know what the public is supposed to make of this. So descriptive!

          • Jp

            You should see STIPs from around the country, MoDOT is actually one of the better ones when it comes to amount of info. One reason for not so detailed description is these projects are at times added to the plan 2-3 years ahead of the construction. So when it’s added you have a general scope. I would say 60-70% of the work and everything that’s on the stip is a commitment so you want to leave yourself some wiggle room in case conditions change or pavement type changes ect. 6-8 months before the project is awarded is when most of the plans comes together.

    • pat

      That’s good and all but why do we need to close intersections to make a road diet? Lower the speed limit, make it four lanes with no turning lane, add bike lanes and parking to buffer the sidewalk from the traffic. Look at our successful street corridors, Grand, Washington, Euclid/Lindell, Cherokee. Multiple intersections, slow traffic, good separation of street from sidewalk

      • Jp

        No intersection is getting closed, 6 way intersections are getting converted to 4 way intersections. Reducing the number of conflict points

        • neroden

          Quite right, but the way to do that is to close access to the problematic diagonal road — Gravois.

          Instead, MDOT are closing the straight north-south and east-west streets. This is incorrect.

  • Tim E

    Ideally, wouldn’t MoDOT prefer the street be turned over to city and wouldn’t the city prefer to have more control over its destiny? I really think he comes back to the aldermen/women not driving things and or willingly embrace whatever is presented to them. Unfortunately, I believe the state would love for cities and counties take on more mileage like Gravios if presented to them as the state has one of the highest number of state highway miles because of these roads.
    .
    I think Kevin and Chris discussing is right on concerning traffic circles. Talk about a street in an urban area that would be ideal for traffic circles. I doubt that MoDOT is against traffic circles (they have used and design for them). I think it really falls back on elected officials embracing and demanded an urban footprint and or traffic circles.

    • Brian

      I believe Gravois (along with Manchester Road) was a state road that came under the control of the City about 50 or 60 years ago. The City asked MoDOT to take them back several years ago because we could not afford the cost of repair and maintenance. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The state put Manchester on a diet through the Grove, which probably helped that street to further develop into a commercial success.

      • rgbose

        Was that a part of the deal the last time the gas tax was raised in the early 90s? Anyone know which roads were state maintained before and after that?

        Should the city consider taking them back in exchange for the power to levy its own gas tax to spend on whatever it sees fit?

        • KevinJ

          i think MoDOT would love to give this roads back to the city. But the city has no $ to maintain them and no there is no way the city can levy its own gas tax and that is a way it should be. If everyone city could you would have a huge mess. City already gets $4-5m a year from current gas tax

          MoDOT maintains the following city roads

          231- Broadway
          30- Gravois
          366- Chippewa
          100- Manchester
          180- MLK
          115- natural bridge
          799- MLK bridge
          h- hall street

          • rgbose

            Page too. The city gets $8M+ from gas taxes from the state, which given it’s based on population, probably short changes the city. Every city and county levies different amounts of sales and property taxes. I think it’s something to consider.

          • Alex Ihnen

            The city should consider CIDs along these major corridors for multi-modal transit improvements. Reclaim the streets, capture their value and build a place for people.

          • pat

            Coincidentally, with the exception of Chippewa and parts of Manchester, all of those roads are too wide.

        • STL_CS

          No these roads became part of the MoDOT system I believe in the 50’s. It wasn’t by choice of the department.

  • tbatts666

    Remove lanes. Narrow lanes. Add bus only lanes, add bike lanes. Put in infrastructure to stop dangerous left hand turns.

    • Eric Matthew Wilkinson

      One of the things that bothers me the most about this plan is that several lights that allow for left hand turns onto gravois will be removed, thereby increasing the number of dangerous left turns made at places with no lights (because there will be no left turn lights left).

  • Presbyterian

    While I’m not opposed in principle to simplifying some of these intersections, I wonder if the underlying issue with Gravois is an absence of vision. Is the city working with a compelling vision for what Gravois ought to be?

    Cast a vision for the St. Louis that ought to be. Then make that vision the driving goal behind every proposal and every decision.

    When the mayor’s office casts that kind of vision, MODOT will work with it.

  • Jackson

    So this is funding with federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program. MoDOT applied for the funds at East West Gateway to replace signals on Gravois in 2013, to get cmaq funds you need to show that the project will improve air quality over the current set up. And how do you do that in this case? You show that with the new signal set up that traffic on Gravois will go about 2mph faster and spend less time idling. My guess is that their data showed a car would get from grand to 55 about 30-40 seconds faster with new signal plan. More green time on Gravois = less idling = better AQ. And bam you get $1.8m in federal funds

  • Jackson

    Wait what? Prime real estate? Have you driven on Gravois from grand to 55 lately? When was the last time something new was built there or opened?

    • Alex Ihnen

      Exactly.

    • tbatts666

      The road is what is killing property values.

  • I would love to see a proposal for narrowing the street and turning the reclaimed land into rain gardens (MSD is working on rainwater collection infrastructure right now). That would beautify the area and make it considerably more pleasant to walk along Gravois with still plenty of space for driving. I don’t believe I’ve ever ended up in a traffic jam on Gravois in that area, so we probably have the space to lose.
    STL seems to have issues with presenting fast-track plans that rarely represent the preferences of the actual residents or progressive, quality urban planning (which can also work with historic preservation needs). We need to get over that nonsense and stop living in these quick-fix, old solutions to problems.
    I don’t know how many pedestrian deaths there are in Chicago but folks up there somehow manage to live in an urban grid that is rarely blocked off and they have oodles of pedestrians and plenty of wide roads and lots of complex intersections due to many of the diagonal streets. Maybe we should figure out what they are doing right.

    • neroden

      Narrow the street? Why not shut Gravois entirely? Like how NYC shut off Broadway at most of its intersections?

      Gravois is grid-breaking. Restore the straight-through grid, north-south and east-weat; get rid of Gravois entirely. Why not?

  • Jason Stokes

    If this happens, I guarantee my family will never move back to St. Louis. I have no interest in living somewhere that allows a prime piece of real estate to become a horrid traffic sewer.

  • Jim Stan

    So dumb and looks like ghetto crap when they baracade the intersections. This is my neighborhood and I drive through all of these streets and intersections on the daily. Gonna be very tricky to get around with this plan. Turning streets into dead-ends is not cool.

    • JP

      By the looks of the map. They aren’t really closing streets. Just some of weird 5 way intersections and 20 foot long roads with odd islands

  • Andrew Faulkner

    Here you go: http://streetmix.net/

    The Right of Way on Gravois is 100′ wide from back of curb to back of curb. Design your own alternative and put some pressure on MoDot!

  • Jackson

    Actually this isn’t that bad at all. Even if they would do a road diet on gravois it wouldn’t work without this being done. Not going to get into traffic engineering but seems like a lot of people are commenting on this without any knowledge on the topic.

    • Ashley

      If there’s a scientific traffic engineering argument for this proposal, I’d like to hear it. Vague statements accusing us of not knowing anything about the topic without data to back up the engineering isn’t meaningful. Educate us!

  • Chris Cleeland

    Why not install traffic circles at these multi intersections? Not only would they require less signalling, they would, by nature, slow traffic as well as permit simple joining of non-perpendicular streets.

    Overall, regardless of the implementation plan, the process itself is wrongheaded. Streetscape changes, whether closing access, adding bike lanes, adding parking, etc. etc., should not be at any one person’s whim. Changes should be backed by data and fit within The Plan for the area.

    Shutting off streets creates less conflict points which also means higher speeds on the remaining section. It does not create a safer space, it creates a faster space.

    FWIW, the alderwoman for that area is Christine Ingrassia, and she is currently in favor of this proposition. Voice your complaints to her.

    • Ashley

      It is also in the 9th, Ken Ortmann’s ward.

    • Kevin Pastore

      Having lived 10+ years in Hamilton County, Indiana (which has by far the largest concentration of roundabouts in the country) before moving to STL 2 years ago, I would agree that this project seems like a prime candidate for roundabouts/traffic circles. They allow for the continuous flow of traffic with the added bonus of keeping speeds down while not requiring any electronic signaling. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/roundabouts/qanda#roundabouts

    • I’m all in favor of installing as many roundabouts as possible all over the metro area. But here are a few reasons why roundabouts on Gravois would be extremely difficult or impossible to install:
      • Relatively high traffic volumes. Single-lane roundabouts peak at ~20,000 vehicles per day from all directions. Gravois today has ~17,000 vehicles.
      • Space. The Gravois right-of-way is 100ft wide. Minimum diameter of a single-lane roundabout is 90ft. Add minimum 20ft for sidewalks.
      • Skew. To accommodate the diagonal nature of Gravois, roundabouts would have to be made bigger than normal.

      • SnakePlissken

        For sure. I drive through this portion of Gravois 4 times a day with above average road rage (mad max type stuff), adding roundabouts would surely increase my road rage to apocalyptic.

      • Chris Cleeland

        Gravois is scheduled for a road diet to narrow it, so I don’t see that the space is a problem. I’m not understanding the “skew” issue, though. Roundabouts can have spokes coming off them in any direction.

      • Joe Sheehan

        Herbie! good to see you here. Good point about the Skew. I guess, as others have commented, Rotary/Roundabouts aren’t a good solution.

        I’m hoping to hear more about the Road Diet that wasn’t talked about here as part of the bigger plan.

      • Ian Mitchell

        The sidewalks don’t have to be at the intersection, though. You can stagger the crossings farther from the actual circle.

        Also, as Americans seem to forget, there is such thing as a multi-lane traffic circle.

    • Joe Sheehan

      I agree, traffic circles are highly underutilized in our urban area as a way to join different angles at slower speeds. My concern here is that this is simply another way of connecting downtown to the suburbs w/o building the South County Connector, so people can use Parkway speeds (40-50mph) in an urban area.

      • JP

        But they are doing a road diet on this section along with this signal re config. (This misleading piece left that part out)

        • Alex Ihnen

          As far as we know, the road diet is a hope…something MoDOT says can happen after closing streets. At least one planned closure has been deleted after neighborhood feedback. This isn’t the way such projects should be planned or presented.

        • Joe Sheehan

          Can you (or anyone) point me to more details on this “road diet” people keep talking about in the comments? I’m not seeing much about it.

          • You won’t find anything because there’s nothing to find. Here’s how MoDOT answered me when I asked where I can find information about the upcoming Chouteau road diet:

            “Typically, we don’t put a lot of information on-line about resurfacing and restriping projects. We have awarded a contract to overlay a section of Chouteau from Spring to I-55. The project includes bike facilities as outlined in the Gateway Bike Plan. We’ll start work later this spring and it should be finished by summer.”

  • Eric

    I see this as a good thing. The streets are being closed to vehicles, not pedestrians. This plan will make it slightly more dangerous to jaywalk across Gravois, but that’s already incredibly dangerous. Walking along Gravois will be safer (cars turning in/out in fewer places), and crossing at a signalled intersection will be no more or less safe.

    • Ashley

      But it will also reduce the number of traffic signals along Gravois, which will lead to vehicles gaining a higher speed between stops. This makes Gravois even more dangerous than it already is. At least the traffic signals were an impediment to travel and required cars to slow down.

      • Reducing the number of signals? Changing 6-way intersections to 4-way intersections and therefore increasing the green time available to both drivers and pedestrians, perhaps, but I don’t think there’s a reduction in the number of signalized intersections.

        • Ashley

          They are removing signals, as you said, to turn 6-way intersections into 4-way intersections. And it does, in turn, increase the amount of green time for travelers on Gravois. This allows vehicles to gain speed while traveling on Gravois because the lights will remain green longer, while as of now they must change more frequently to accommodate travelers on the through streets that are proposed for closure. If any of that makes sense.

          TL;DR signals that aren’t on gravois will be removed but the signals on gravois will be green longer making traffic move faster

          • Careful, annoying drivers with frequent unnecessary stops often leads to faster, more aggressive driving. I know on Kingshighway near Barnes, simultaneous green lights encourage drivers to go as fast as they can to “beat” the lights and go as far as they can before getting caught by the simultaneous red lights. I would be nice if traffic engineers could figure out how to time the lights for a progressive green wave.

          • Chris Cleeland

            engineers in maplewood have, on manchester. maybe those were even modot engineers. we have the technology.

          • Eric

            From what I’ve heard, it is impossible to time the lights on a two-way street for a green wave. That is one of the reasons given for one-way streets in downtowns.

          • JZ71

            You can time for a green wave, but only in one direction, usually the primary rush hour movement.

          • Ian Mitchell

            No, one-way streets are always dumb.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Winner.

      • Eric

        Cars on Gravois were already going fast enough to kill anyone they hit. What are they going to do now, kill everyone twice?

    • Alex Ihnen

      In one way, this is really simple: city streets with fewer impediments to vehicles are less inviting to pedestrians. This plan will do nothing to increase the attractiveness of retail along Gravois, and do nothing to increase the number of pedestrians along the avenue.

  • Ashley

    The worst part is that MODOT has said they will be putting down Schoemehl Pots (aka those grotesque surplus sewer pipes turned “planters”) to temporarily close the intersections. Allegedly MODOT says they will come through later and remove the pots to put in cul-de-sacs and sidewalks. I won’t take them on their word for removing the pots. Once they’re down, I don’t ever see them being removed by MODOT. My neighborhood will have to shell out the funds to get the pots removed and something decent laid down.

    MODOT trying to advertise this project as “pedestrian-friendly” is such a sham. Gravois is already traveled at high speeds and removing a few intersections will make the street more dangerous. I plan to write the MODOT rep that was at the Benton Park meeting to vehemently oppose these closure and I propose everyone else with an opinion do the same:

    MoDOT Area Engineer, City of St. Louis
    Deanna Venker, P.E.
    [email protected]
    314-877-0118

  • Mathew Chandler

    I am interested to hear MODOT plan. This was presented at the MO APA planning conference last year. Although i did not attend, a friend of mine attended the session and he said it got pretty good reviews from the crowd, maybe MODOT had a good presentation, or maybe no one was familiar with the city. The temporary barricade procedures sure do blight a neighborhood real quick. Gravois will never thrive in an automobile orientated setting, which is a shame, there are a bunch of storefronts along this stretch.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Love/hate how something significant is finally presented to the neighborhoods directly affected, not shared with the rest of city residents, and yet it was shared within the industry at a conference months ago. That’s backwards.

      • Ashley

        Unbelievably believable that MODOT used a crowd of people unfamiliar with our city to gauge a reaction for the plan and then paraded itself through the neighborhood association meetings like they were bringing us salvation by Schmoemehl Pot. So out of touch with our every day reality and likely unwilling to unwind this horrific plan.

        Why doesn’t MODOT do something useful with those extra monies they have and repave Arsenal between Broadway and 44? The street could use it and it would be a better way to spend one billion dollars than to close off my neighborhood.

      • Catherine

        I was at the conference in the fall and this plan was presented. It’s a tricky situation. The principles of urban planning rely on the idea of a street grid – Gravois does not follow that. As a result, closing some of the 5 or 6 way intersections to restore a more natural street grid makes sense to me. I do know that a road diet for Gravois (with bike lanes) is supposed to go into effect in 2016. I have presented my opinions about narrowing lanes, removing parking, adding bike lanes, a median, etc. and hopefully we will have another chance for input in that process. In the meantime, I think this is a good decision in preparation for that.

        My goal here is to make my commute route (which I take daily via bike) safer for myself and others. I think closing some of the wonky diagonal streets, in conjunction with future bike lanes and slowed traffic, will do just that.

        As always, I appreciate you bringing this proposal to the broader public. Thanks Alex!

        • Chris Cleeland

          Why do you say that Gravois does not follow the street grid?

          • Mathew Chandler

            it slices diagonally through the traditional street pattern in place. though this is seen in many cities, DC, Paris, Chicago,etc. Traditional street grid is intersecting at right angles, often more safe this way as well i believe.

  • A.J.

    That is a really easy flowchart. “Does this project enhance the lives of City residents?” –No–> Don’t do it!

    Or “Does this project shorten driving times for non-city residents leaving the city?” –Yes–> Don’t waste residents money improving non-residents lives.

    • Chris Cleeland

      It’s likely MODOTs money that’s paying for it, but it’s supported by the alderwoman, so it’ll likely get done. Unfortunately.

      What problem is this trying to solve exactly? And what other solution to that problem were explored?

      • A.J.

        Man this is hitting on like all the bad points of civic government. Short-sighted representatives and Top Level Down automobile first projects. #PeopleFirst #SlowTheCars