Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Connecting Two Landmarks - Busch Stadium & the Arch

 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?


A.A. said...

I agree, opening up the South end is crucial and it would be great to walk direclty to the river from that direction (from Busch). BUT you can't even walk around Busch Stadium currently, the new on-ramps to 40/64 prevent that, try to walk directly around the stadium, it can not be done.

A.A. said...

Won't the off-ramps from the P.S.B. to 55/44 South prevent a direct line also? It would take federal highway dollars to re-route those somewhere and if so where would you move them to? Or would you have the South end access road jog around those pillars?

Anonymous said...

The New 64 further west is even worse than it is around Busch Stadium. At least the Arch grounds can be accessed on foot or by cycling, not attractive but doable. All along the New 64 pedestrian bridges have been removed and barrier sound walls have been erected to prevent north-south access for hundreds of homes.

Distances to preferred destinations just a few hundred feet away requires pedestrians to walk over 3.5 miles roundtrip along areas of the New 64. The Arch grounds and the highway does not create the same level of problems for pedestrians or cyclists.

Vanishing STL said...

I also find the lack of ability to walk around the south end of Busch to be problematic, and this should be changed.

The state wants to rebuild the ramps from 55/44 south to and from the PSB and make them two lanes each, so we should have flexibility to work that with the concept of reconnected streets over to 4th & Broadway.

As for 64, Yes, highways all over the region create unfortunate barriers and longer trips for pedestrians & cyclists. We have to start removing these somewhere, and our region's front door should be our top priority.

Daron said...

That picture is terrifying!

Anonymous said...

Wrong, residents (you know the people who pay most of the taxes and live here) should come first. Please Show Me in your designated trouble spots where pedestrians have to walk over 1.8 miles one way to get to Busch stadium when only 500 feet away... can you?

I get down to see the river quite often on my bike without a problem. Can the area be improved... absolutely. But it is a matter of priorities and residents not visitors should come first... unless you believe depopulation is a positive trend.

Greg said...

I really like the idea of the access between the park and the city being restored and can imagine how nice that could be. Not to mention one day having restaurants and bars looking onto the Park, wouldn't that be nice. Do you think that MoDot will go for a short ramp on 64 West Bound for access to Memorial drive? It seems like that would be a traffic Jam Nightmare? Also, what if any plans does City to River have to reconnect the First Street area of Chouteau's Landing to the rest of the city? I understand that last question isn't a simple answer.