In the past few weeks City to River has substantially grown its support base – both popular and among local stakeholders – for our vision of downtown St. Louis relieved of the barriers that its Interstate lanes create.
City to River’s goals are ambitious, and on several fronts dovetail with those of the Framing a Modern Masterpiece Competition. While our goals are similar, however, they are not identical. City to River’s mission is to advocate for the renewal of connections between the communities of the Central Riverfront and the Mississippi River. Thus these two entities share an exciting new vision for the future of downtown but can be distinguished in ways that we seek to clarify here.
Time: City to River fully understands that while planning must begin now, opening a thriving urban boulevard will not occur on ribbon-cutting day in October 2015.
Space: Removing both the depressed lanes and flanking barrier transitions in front of the Arch grounds as well as the elevated lanes that proceed north exceeds the formal boundary of the Competition.
Funding: Because our vision exceeds the chronological and spatial limits of the Competition, portions of it will require other funding sources.
In short, we think of the boulevard as a long-range goal whose full realization may lie beyond the competition horizon, and have worked to encourage the design teams toward its seamless inclusion among their other contributions. City to River’s success will come in stages, with both legislative and physical milestones, any number of which could themselves merit celebration at the conclusion of the competition.
Moreover, while we consider the boulevard essential to the successful re-visioning of the Arch grounds, it need not be exclusive. The boulevard is not incompatible with additional forms of connectivity. A design that anticipates this comprehensive solution to problems recognized by all in the region will generate more public support and fuel anticipation for the transformation of the Gateway Arch from St. Louis’ icon to its heart.
Like the Framing a Modern Masterpiece Competition, City to River has ambitious goals for a dramatically transformed American city. We relish the challenges ahead of us and hope to find evidence of shared enthusiasm for our vision St. Louis’ future when the five final concepts are unveiled later this summer.