Streetscape Changes to Newstead From Clayton To Forest Park Avenue

Streetscape changes for Newstead between Clayton and Forest Park Avenue to serve the burgeoning Cortex District and the WUSTL Neuroscience Building have been underway since early last year.

The scope of the project includes:
• Widen Newstead Avenue from Clayton Ave. to Forest Park Ave. from three (3) lanes to five (5) lanes (four (4) traffic lanes and a universal lane)
• Widen the METRO Link Crossing at Newstead Avenue from 36’ wide to 50’ wide
• Add a dedicated right turn lane on Clayton Ave. at Newstead Avenue
• Complete replacement and re-signalization of the intersections at Duncan Ave. and Forest Park Ave., where they cross Newstead Avenue
• Improve alignment and throughput circulation at the intersection of Duncan Ave. and Newstead Avenue
• Provide ADA and pedestrian safety improvements along Newstead Avenue

WUSTL – Newstead Avenue Street Improvements Project starts Monday, January 20 (2020)

Let’s take a look starting at Clayton and head north.

Before
The new right turn lane from westbound Clayton to Newstead
Curb cut at the northeast corner of Clayton and Newstead. What’s that turn radius?
What is the design speed?
Five lanes wide
Wider Metrolink crossing with center barrier to keep jaydrivers from going around the gates.
WUSTL Neuroscience under construction
Rendering of the view from Newstead with the entrance to the structured parking
Before
Looking south from Duncan.

“Improve alignment and throughput circulation [for cars] at the intersection of Duncan Ave. and Newstead Avenue” should set off alarm bells as it usually means prioritizing speed and volume at the expense of safety.

A second slip lane added to the intersection at the northwest corner of Newstead and Duncan

Slip lanes are dangerous because they prioritize vehicle speed over the safety of everyone who needs to use the road

Slip lanes increase the distance that people have to cover to cross a street, put people into spots that are often the hardest for drivers to see, and encourage drivers not to slow down when approaching an intersection and a crosswalk—the precise moment they should be the most careful.

Transportation for America – Slip lanes would never exist if we prioritized safety over speed
Sidewalk added to the east side of Newstead between Duncan and Forest Park Ave
Wide midblock crosswalk
Stormwater bioretention area. Added lane.

You may have noticed I used the word changes instead of improvements. It’s clear effort and money has been expended with the goal to improve the streetscape for pedestrians and drivers. But can you do both? More space for cars begets more cars which begets more danger, pollution, noise, parking lots and garages, etc, in other words anti-CITY. The addition of the missing sidewalk on the east side of Newstead is great. New signaling is great. Newstead is wide now, no 12 foot lanes thankfully, but wide. Is it going to be a traffic sewer that becomes a barrier?

Whenever I walk astound Cortex it elicits uneasiness. I’ve described Cortex in the past as a suburban office park on a street grid. That’s probably too harsh; they’re definitely trying hard not to be that. The newness, the setbacks, the green ooze, the lack of mature trees, the blank walls, the coarse-grained development pattern, the fences, the parking lots and garages, the curb cuts, the slip lanes, the Metrolink station is kind of in the middle of nowhere, not sure if it’s any one thing, but all the things. Everything seems far away. When you cross Forest Park Avenue it’s very clear you’re in a different place. With the demolitions on 4300 Forest Park Ave the contrast will be even more stark. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Nextstl – Demo Alert: Washington University To Raze 4352-4376 Forest Park Ave

There’s more coming to Cortex which may help.

4343 Duncan Avenue Apartments
This mixed use project of 239,855 sf which includes 262 apartments, four retail bays along Boyle Ave, and a 515 stall precast parking garage with an amenity space and roof top pool.

Duncan between Newstead and Sarah is shaping up with WUSTL Neuroscience under construction, the apartment building at 4343 Duncan and Boyle, and the currently stalled “Sandcrawler” building at 4210 Duncan at Sarah.

Nextstl – Koman Plans New Gateway to Cortex

Then there’s Koman’s plans for Clayton at Sarah which would help aid the connection to FPSE.

And there’s a plan for the northwest side of Clayton and Sarah.

Have a look around if you haven’t been to Cortex in a while.