One of the reflecting pools at the Arch grounds. Photo by SnoShuu
Busch Stadium and the Arch are two of the top attractions in St. Louis. Over three million fans from St. Louis and out of town pack Busch to see the Cardinals and the Gateway Arch is a must see stop for most visitors. Try walking between these two popular landmarks though and you will quickly find yourself up against a wall of interstate ramps and concrete walls. This is probably very frustrating for tourists who do not know their way around town, leaving them wondering if they just visited a monument to American westward expansion or the walled city of Carcassonne.
If you live here in St. louis, say you want to have a picnic lunch or dinner in a quiet spot by the south reflecting pool at Arch grounds then want to walk over to the ball game. Today you have two options. Walk north to Walnut then head west to Broadway then south to the Stadium or head three blocks south through Chouteau's Landing to Gratiot then west under the catacombs of Interstate 55 to Broadway then three blocks north again to the Stadium.
This is your view from the southwest corner of Arch Grounds, an ugly mess of highway ramps and a dead end for pedestrian trying to walk west to Busch Stadium. Photo by Kara Clark Holland.
The plan for a New Memorial Drive, proposed by City to River would eliminate the highway and re-work ramps to the Poplar Street Bridge so that they no longer block access. Interstate 55/44 would transition to a new boulevard Poplar Street at the south end of the Arch grounds would be restored as a through street from the riverfront to Broadway. Spruce Street would also connect directly to the Arch grounds at the newly re-configured boulevard. Photo above by Carol Cotter.
The map above shows how the New Memorial drive would radically improve the urban landscape at the south end of the Arch grounds. It would connect Busch Stadium to the Arch for the first time ever. Busch Stadium and the south end of Downtown would also have a new direct connection to the slowly emerging Chouteau's Landing district as well as to an improved riverfront. This would greatly improve development potential for Chouteau's Landing, and I would also be willing to bet that St. Louisians would visit their only national park more often, as well as the riverfront itself. Ask yourself this question: When was the last time you saw the river?