In its annual list of Freeways Without Futures, the Congress for New Urbanism directed attention to St. Louis. Placing at number four on the list (just behind CNU’s own efforts to remove the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans) was Interstate 70 in St. Louis with City to River “acting as a city-wide voice.” This list put City to River’s actions into a larger national perspective. The list highlights numerous efforts on the ground in cities across America where civic leaders and citizens groups are actively attempting to restore vibrant, walkable places to their communities. John Norquist, the president of the Congress for New Urbanism, spoke about the highway removal trend two months ago in this video from Streetfilms:
Many of these highways without futures, like I-70 in downtown St. Louis, divide communities and their waterfronts. City to River seeks to improve the quality of life of the St. Louis region by connecting its urban core to the Mississippi River. Currently the depressed and elevated lanes of I-70 are one of the largest physical and symbolic obstacles to reconnection.
While we have focused on downtown, City to River is a bigger organization with a bigger mission. Through that mission, we have become a member of River//Cities, an international network of organizations dedicated to celebrating their riverfronts as cultural spaces. City to River now belongs to a common platform with organizations like the Thames Festival in London, Friends of the Riverfront in Pittsburgh, and the Impact Foundation in Warsaw.
We hope that by building common ground with many of the other great river cities of the world, by exchanging best practices, and by building shared information resources the St. Louis will be able to reconfigure its relationship with the waters that produced this great city.