Archive for May, 2010

Open Letter to Jurors

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Dear City*Arch*River Jurors:

City to River is an all-volunteer group of St. Louisans that has come together to promote the incorporation of a grade-level, urban boulevard into the successful redesign of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and its immediate surroundings.

City to River believes that the convergence of efforts to redesign this iconic American space and the construction of a new Mississippi River bridge just north of downtown offers St. Louis a once-in-a-century opportunity to reclaim its urban core by removing the elevated and depressed interstate highway lanes that currently divorce the city from its raison d’etre: the riverfront.

Other design features will certainly be critical to successfully realizing the project’s goals.  We believe, though, that replacing the 1.4-mile stretch of Interstate 70 between the Poplar Street Bridge and the new Mississippi River Bridge is necessary both to maximize their benefit and to achieve the competition’s stated objectives.  Only a boulevard will truly “catalyze increased vitality in the St. Louis Region” by increasing the value and desirability of underdeveloped land along the present Interstate corridor, “weave connections and transitions from the city and Arch grounds” by reestablishing the warp and weft of downtown’s street grid, “mitigate against the impact of transportation systems” by calming traffic and humanizing the streetscape, thus “creat[ing] a welcoming and accessible environment”.

City to River is in the midst of meeting with the design teams, local leaders, private developers, and citizens groups in the region to promote our vision, and to date we have met with all but unanimous support for the boulevard concept.  We are confident that our organization, while unaffiliated with any moneyed or politically-driven interests, represents the will of a substantial portion of our region.

Your critical and decisive selection of a winning design later this summer will shape St. Louis for decades to come.  We encourage you to visit our website, www.citytoriver.org, and welcome you to contact us if we can answer any questions it may generate.  Finally, if your summer brings you through St. Louis in the weeks between now and the competition deadline, it would be our pleasure to share our vision of this important space with you in person.

Sincerely,

City to River

What City to River is Doing and What YOU Can Do to Help

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

What is City to River doing to make the boulevard idea a reality?  City to River is an all-volunteer advocacy organization working on many fronts to bring the idea of highway removal to all the key decision makers in the Arch design competition.

Time is of the essence and City to River needs your help.  Here’s what we’re up to and what you can do to help:

City to River is:

  • Meeting with finalist design teams to advocate for the inclusion of I-70 removal as part of the Arch grounds design competition.
  • Earning endorsements of our vision from property owners, developers and other stakeholders.
  • Encouraging the public to contact both Mayor Francis Slay and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Superintendent Tom Bradley to express their support for the removal of I-70.
  • Communicating with local elected officials to express support for the removal of I-70.

What YOU Can Do:

  • Contact Mayor Francis Slay, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Superintendent Tom Bradley, and our  downtown Aldermen to express your support for the removal of I-70 (contact info below).
  • Spread the word to family, friends, colleagues. Ask them to follow @CitytoRiver on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CityToRiver. Send an e-mail to your contact list with a link to www.citytoriver.org, ask them to send the link to others.
  • If you have contact with downtown developers, businesses, or property owners, tell them about City to River and the boulevard idea.  If they would like to learn more, connect us with them and we will provide them with information about the effort and how they can help.

Mayor Francis Slay
Phone: (314) 622-3201
Email: mayorslay@mayorslay.com
Twitter: @mayorslay
Address: Mayor’s Office
City Hall, Room 200
1200 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103

Superintendent Tom Bradley
Phone: (314) 655-1600
Email: Tom_Bradley@nps.gov
Address: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
11 N. 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102

Alderman Phyllis Young
Phone: (314) 622-3287
Email: youngp@stlouiscity.com
Address: City Hall, Room 230
1200 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103

Alderman April Ford-Griffin
Phone: (314) 622-3287
Email: griffina@stlouiscity.com
Address: City Hall, Room 230
1200 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103

Alderman Kacie Starr Tripplet
Phone: (314) 622-3287
Email: TriplettK@stlouiscity.com
Twitter: @KacieStarr
Address: City Hall, Room 230
1200 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103

One Down, One To Go

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Friday marked an important step in the evolution of downtown St. Louis. As the skybridge fell at the former St. Louis Centre this afternoon, we were reminded of the countless demolitions that St. Louis has borne witness to over the past 80 years – a period that will ultimately be remembered more for what we destroyed than for what we built.  Decades of careless removal of our cultural heritage in favor of roads and highways that stifled pedestrian activity, damaging urban renewal policies that divided our communities, and architecture designed to wall us off from one another has left St. Louis without the means to provide the engaging, authentic experience essential for any vibrant city.

The good news is that things have begun to change, and we are righting the ship.  There is clearly much to admire about the progress St. Louis has made in recent years. Friday, rather losing another historic building to the wrecking ball, we instead saw the removal of one of the misguided walls that have kept us from experiencing the grandeur of our city.

This is, however, merely the beginning.  For when the skybridge fell, the view revealed not our great river, but yet another barrier.

If we are truly dedicated to reconnecting St. Louis, then we must set our sights on removing the disruptive section of Interstate 70 that divides our city from our river and our people from their rightful monument. Only then can we fulfill the promise of the original Arch plan, and engage in the task of returning downtown to greatness.

Our business and political leaders are watching and listening; waiting to see what we will do.  They know all too well that if St. Louis unites to demand a full reconnection of downtown to the river, then it must be delivered.  So go out and enjoy the new energy on Washington, and remember – our work is just beginning.