Although it has been a busy month for City to River, we want to take a moment to redirect attention from the situation at the Arch Grounds to a process that has great potential to achieve reconnections between St. Louis and the Mississippi River. Most St. Louisians are undoubtedly familiar with the North Riverfront Trail. This single trail is currently responsible for 60% of the length of currently accessible connections between St. Louis City and the Mississippi. City to River is supporting current efforts to improve connections to the Riverfront Trail and to transform an abandoned viaduct into the third elevated linear park in the world.
This of course begs the question: what about the South Riverfront?
Nextstl.com recently did a thorough write-up of the challenges and opportunities surrounding a South Riverfront Trail. It is interesting to note from that article that the entire Riverfront Trail was planned in 1987 as the St. Louis Riverfront Bikeway. At that time it was believed that a bikeway along the entire riverfront would “create demand for more extensive access to the river” and serve as “the first step towards the evolution of the St. Louis Riverfront”.
Fortuitously, Great Rivers Greenway is currently planning to complete the Riverfront Trail from the Arch Grounds to the South Bank of the River Des Peres. At this point there is still understandable ambiguity surrounding precise alignments, but this project has the promise to open up a significant stretch of inaccessible riverfront to the citizens of St. Louis. Two open houses will be held this week to explain the goals of the project and update the public on the process. This is not an event to miss!
For those of you interested in the intimate connectivity between riverine systems and neighborhoods, there will also be a region-wide clean up of the much-maligned River Des Peres watershed on October 8th. A T-shirt and snacks will be provided.