City to River would like to congratulate the design team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) on their selection as the winning team in The City+The Arch+The River 2015 International Design Competition. As we continue to advocate for improved connections between the City of St. Louis, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and the Mississippi River, we look forward to working with MVVA, the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, and the St. Louis Community.
We would like to extend our appreciation and congratulations to the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation for successfully conducting an incredibly complex international design competition. Without their efforts, we understand that minimal, if any, improvements to the Arch grounds and surrounding area would be realized.
We look with anticipation to October 2015 and the celebration of a revitalized Arch grounds. But we also know that the work to better connect our city to the river will not end then. Specifically, City to River is excited by what MVVA has said regarding the potential of I-70 removal and its replacement with an at-grade urban boulevard.
“We have proposed a one-block overpass, rather than an at-grade boulevard, because it is less expensive, easier to achieve by 2015, and would require fewer jurisdictional and regulatory negotiations. But the benefits of removing the highway altogether are clear, and we have purposely created a proposal that is compatible with either solution.”
There remain many questions to be answered regarding exactly how an at-grade urban boulevard would operate in place of what will be the former I-70. Work continues on the new I-70 bridge north of downtown St. Louis and its construction remains on schedule for completion in January 2014. It is City to River’s strong belief that walkable, human-level connections between downtown and the future Arch grounds are needed to fully integrate these two assets of St. Louis.
With the consensus of the world-class design teams assembled by the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, the National Park Service desire to remove the highway, and the support of many members of the St. Louis public and business community, we know that our efforts are moving in the right direction. In the immediate future, City to River will continue advocating for a comprehensive transportation study of the current I-70 corridor between the Poplar Street Bridge and the new I-70 Bridge.