Monday, June 14, 2010

Would New Yorkers Tolerate "The 5" on 5th?

On Friday City to River published a blog post imagining what it would be like if there was a highway running down the middle of Michigan Avenue in front of Millennium Park in Chicago. This was compared to section of the soon to be former Interstate 70 as it slices between Downtown St. Louis, the Gateway Arch and Laclede's Landing. This made me think of another location where a highway dividing a city from one of it's crown jewels would likely be met with expletives. How would New Yorkers feel about an LA style freeway plopped down on top of 5th Avenue along Central Park?  Would they tolerate "the 5" on 5th?

5th Avenue along the edge of Central Park at the the Guggenheim museum.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim expressway.

You might be saying to yourself, "this is pretty ridiculous", right?  Well yes it is, but it is a reality here in the Gateway city. City to River thinks it is pretty ridiculous that we have a highway separating Downtown St. Louis from the Arch and riverfront districts to the north and south. Instead of a freeway separating us from the riverfront, we should be a boulevard providing connections throughout the area.

In both of these examples, Chicago and New York, some of the most expensive real estate in the city is located along the great streets such as Michigan Avenue and 5th Avenue. Here in St. Louis however, the highway caused development to turn its back on the only urban national park outside of Washington D.C. Additionally apart from for a small spurt of renovations in Laclede's Landing in the early 1980s, development in the riverfront districts flanking the Arch has stagnated for decades.

This morning, City to River is publishing another post detailing the enormous potential for development that will be created by removing the highway and replacing it with a boulevard. This would continue eastward the momentum of $4.5 billion that has been invested in the core of downtown St. Louis over the last decade. Only then will Luther Ely Smith's vision of a revitalized St. Louis riverfront be complete.

The Post-Dispatch has also picked up the story here.

Also, be sure to check out City to River's website, as several pages have been added and updated.


Anonymous said...

Also see Boston's Big Dig project that rejoined the famed North End to the rest of the city

STLgasm said...

Another excellent post. The pictures above illustrate the common-sense solution that we should demand as a city, and the absurdity of "keeping things the way they've always been."

Anonymous said...

The Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle is another example of the City being cut off.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great coverage of the St. louis Centre Demo/Renovation project. I've really enjoyed following your updates, reading your insightful reports on the origins of the ill-fated mall, and viewing all of the great archival photographs and new documentary photographs you've used to illustrate this project's past, present, and future. Really great coverage. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Throughout the Lou region pedestrians are blocked by large expanded highways. What makes the Arch region a priority instead of supporting livable-walkable neighborhoods? I guess the push for MO tourist dollars - - especially for a city in desperate financial straits and dependent on casino income.