Delmar and Skinker Closure Got You Down?

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Loop closed streets Delmat and SKinker

Does the Delmar and Skinker closure have you down? Consider the impact blocked streets have day in and day out in St. Louis. More congestion on open streets, more vehicle miles traveled, more pollution, and a more vulnerable transportation system. We’ve removed the resilience from the street grid in favor of the fragile hierarchical street/road network that fails to cope well to interruptions for construction, weather, or the higher rate and severity of wrecks it causes. We’ll get another taste when Pershing is closed at DeBaliviere. A missed opportunity that Waterman wasn’t opened at DeBaliviere making the detour very easy.

Blocked streets nextSTL coverage:

Potluck PAC Submission: Require Re-Authorization of Closed City Streets & Codify Process

Who Owns Our Streets? More Than Inertia Keeps Streets Closed, Non-Spec Barricades in Place

MoDOT Presents Plan to Close 16 City Streets Along Gravois Avenue

The City Body At War With Itself: Street Blockages in St. Louis

Street not Thru: The Cul-De-Sacking of St. Louis

Streets Not Through: An Analysis of the Blockages and Barricades to the St. Louis Street Network

Let’s #healthegrid

Delmar and Skinker 1

Delmar and Skinker 2{More ties unearthed from the streetcar tracks of yore.}

Delmar and Skinker 3

Delmar and Skinker 4{Blocking the street has calmed Delmar}

Delmar and Skinker 5

Delmar and Skinker 6

Delmar and Skinker 7(Luckily one can cut through the Shell Station)

Delmar and Skinker 8

Delmar and Skinker 9

Delmar and Skinker 10{Skinker is quite pleasant now.}

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  • kjohnson04

    Street blockages create artificial blockages to keep certain people out. Look at the city boundary, and note how few streets continue into the county unless it’s a major thoroughfare. Traffic calming, yes, but it served to warn others not to enter. Unfortunately, those early decisions have created a monster that has strangled population growth, inhibited business growth, and made drivers and cyclists irate.

    As I’ve stated before, a cul-de-sac here or there is fine, but when entire neighborhoods, and in St. Louis County, entire municipalities have essentially dead-end streets everywhere, you end up with really long commutes that get worse when they they do infrastructure projects like this.

  • Imran

    People who live on blocked off public streets should have higher property taxes or some other tax overlay. Right now it costs nothing to have your Alderperson simply approve a street closure. You get to extend private space and everyone pays for your convenience.

  • Luftmentsch

    Having lived overseas, I’m puzzled by this fetishization of the almighty grid. When you go to Berlin or Madrid or Jerusalem, do you sit around thinking, “oh, you poor schmucks; life must be really horrible without a street grid?!” Strangely, the existence of culs-de-sac and streets leading nowhere hasn’t been a terrible obstacle to growth in, say, Istanbul. Why is it such a big deal in St. Louis? I live in Skinker-Debaliviere and was at some of the same meetings as Richard Bose. Who were these “loud voices?” My recollection is that there was plenty of discussion, and it was generally calm and reasonable. People disagree with you. They love their neighborhood the way it is and hate the thought of cars speeding through it to get from Delmar to Forest Park and from Debaliviere to Skinker. One can argue with that, but you should be fair to your opponents and stop accusing us of shouting down the opposition.

    • Presbyterian

      I live across DeBaliviere and feel like some of the streets on both sides could be reopened. I think roundabouts and bumpouts can do a lot to reduce excessive speeding without the need to create culdesacs and full closures.

      I love a windy, narrow street in an unfamiliar city. When I think of the three cities cited — Berlin, Jerusalem and Madrid — they seem to be characterized by an intact street grid, at least once you get outside the Old City in Jerusalem. Their grids may not be orthogonal (all right angles) like we usually find in North America, but there are usually numerous different ways to get from point A to point B.

      Here is a screen shot from each:

      • Luftmentsch

        It’s generally hard to cut through neighborhoods in those cities by car. Sometimes the obstacles are created by exceedingly narrow streets w/ two-way traffic (so you have to drive at a crawl). Sometimes, it’s crazy angles. Occasionally there are actual barriers. End result is that many neighborhoods are peaceful sanctuaries in loud busy cities, while crosstown traffic is pushed on to the main arteries. I’m not sure what’s best for Skinker-Debaliviere, but I don’t think a neighborhood of quiet, winding streets surrounded by loud and busy boulevards is such a bad model.

        • northstar

          If every goddamn street in your neighborhood weren’t blocked, there would be no need to speed, since you could slowly take routes that make sense and don’t create lots of unnecessary driving.

          • Luftmentsch

            Ah, yes, people never speed unless there’s a “need to speed.” Perhaps you could come to our neighborhood meeting and explain this to us (though you might have to postpone telling us to “fuck off.”) The hostility on this site is interesting. What is that gets you so riled up? Skinker-Debaliviere is an ethnically and racially diverse neighborhood in the city, which happens to be extremely close to neighborhoods with astonishingly high rates of crime, poverty, vandalism, murder, etc. Let’s assume for a moment that the residents of S-D (black, white, poor, and rich) made a conscious choice, decades ago, to separate their neighborhood from the more troubled areas farther north. You can call it a stupid choice, but it was a choice that probably saved the neighborhood. I can think of ten families off the top of my head who never would have moved here if Des Peres, Westminister, Kingsbury, and Macpherson were open. And there are plenty of others who ready to leave. Maybe it’s time for the choice to be un-done. But you’re not going to persuade anyone while sitting on your high horse.

          • northstar

            Why are the East to West streets blocked? Mic drop.

          • rgbose

            Please tone it down, northstar. I think what gets people riled up here is that we see the same perceptions, fears, attitudes, thinking, selfishness, etc that’s segregated the region, that credits suburban street configurations as an effective protection mechanism from undesirable people, is reflected in SD and many other STL neighborhoods bothers people greatly who would like to see a city brought together physically as a component of bringing it together as a community. We don’t think copying the suburbs is the path to success for the city.

            Also they’re just annoying.

          • JZ71

            Ask the cop writing the speeding tickets – 90% of them go to people who live in the area, not some outsider!

    • rgbose

      The consultants said it was an issue for the neighborhood. Any mention of blockages, one-ways, etc was gone by the second public meeting.

      I think it betrays our values when we bunker-down behind them like a draw bridge.

      On my block the one ways, blockages, and street vacations make traffic worse. School buses have to go way out of their way to reach the school. And Skinker, DeBaliviere, Delmar, and Waterman are made worse. Consider that Waterman and Skinker wouldn’t be traveled in the attached example, but for the one-ways and blockages.

      There are techniques to calm traffic without cutting off access completely. A place to start would be Nina at McPherson.

      • northstar

        Did anyone tell the old guard point blank that they can fuck off and that the consultant was right?

  • onecity

    The “iron curtains” separating all those streets from one another do totally wreck the ability of the city to function. It’s even a pain in the ass to cycle around them, because on the one hand they create physical obstacles from one block to the next, and on the other hand, they make Skinker and other thru streets kind of terrifying. They should have never been erected, and any day they’re torn down is decades too late, and the politics keeping them in place are not doubt beyond retarded. Heal the grid.

    • HawkSTL

      All politics are local. In this case, it is majority rule — i.e. democracy. 9 times out of 10 (or more), the residents on those blocks prefer that their street be closed at the main intersection. The Aldermen field requests block by block, and if the residents wish to have a barrier, the Aldermen support their wishes. There is a growing vocal minority that thinks there are too many closures, which I generally support. The problem with removing the barriers is again political. Everyone thinks that their block should be closed and a surrounding block opened. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find a block willing to have their street opened with that prevailing mindset..

      • Framer

        Sadly, this is true, and really, really stupid. Traffic planning should not be done on a random, block-by-block basis. I

        • HawkSTL

          Agreed – I think the case could be made that a central traffic plan by ward (not by block) would be more effective, assist first responders in emergencies, and save resources to erect better neighborhood markers and barriers than Schoemehl pots and cedar boxes. And, I’m not sure why the City is paying for that infrastructure on public streets. Private streets have the right to erect gates and monuments (that actually look decent). But, private streets pay the maintenance and insurance costs. That obviously is not the situation with public streets.

          • JZ71

            Although doing it by ward is not much better than doing it by block, because the barriers will just get moved to the ward boundaries!

      • kjohnson04

        This needs to change. The built environment is for everybody. If you can’t deal with your street being open to a major thoroughfare, move. Every street can’t be Portland, Westmoreland, or Lewis Pl.

    • rgbose

      We couldn’t even talk about it during our comprehensive neighborhood planning process. I wonder if they’re really favored by a majority or just some of the loudest voices.

      On top of it since many are built into the infrastructure. not just pots to move out of the way, they’ll take money to remove giving supporters another argument to leave them as they are.

      • northstar

        Obviously the neighborhood leaders have severe learning disabilities. Dyslexia perhaps? Low iqs? You should find out if they can do basic logic puzzles. Typical behavior for stl natives, though (no one ever accused the natives of being good at self government). When you close twenty streets, the traffic must go somewhere and it will be worse on the streets that remain open. Also, aldermanic courtesy is completely stupid and traffic planning should be citywide. This city needs a normal city council.

  • Emily Stenberg

    I walked to the Delmar MetroLink stop for the bus this morning. I was amazed by the number of cars I saw coming out of the alley between Skinker and Rosedale just north of Washington (by Fork & Stix). With Rosedale and Des Peres closed off, cars can’t get to Delmar without driving through an alley or taking a roundabout detour. I’ve yet to understand how the blocked streets here are supposed to be safer.

    I was taking the #2 north — I haven’t looked yet to see what kind of detour the southbound will have to take now.

    • Justin

      The blocked off streets probably aren’t any safer (save maybe for children who play in the street) they just create the perception of safety for many which is what is important.

      • northstar

        I’d hate to be a business owner on the blocked off streets…

      • kjohnson04

        What closures create is irritated drivers, and irritated drivers don’t drive mindfully, and hit children, pedestrians, and cyclists. That’s why forcing traffic through roundabout detours because streets that should be open–aren’t, makes drivers use alleys (and unsafe detour, btw).