Consideration of Removing I-70 Elevated Lanes Included in Downtown Multimodal Access Study RFP

March 1st, 2012

City to River has long championed the idea of converting a portion of I-70 in downtown St. Louis to an urban boulevard. The vision has garnered support in the business community, from civic organizations and the public. But to-date had not received political support and had not moved forward in the region’s official planning process. That’s changed with the inclusion of I-70 removal in the Downtown Multimodal Access RFP issued by the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC).

The RFP asks that focused consideration be given to short-term connectivity (0 to 5 years), specifically the CityArchRiver plans to remove Washington Avenue adjacent to the Eads Bridge and portions of Memorial Drive next to the Arch grounds, and long-term connectivity (5+ years). The RFP states: In particular, address the potential removal of the elevated sections of I-70 fromnorth of Pine St. to O’Fallon St, to determine feasibility and traffic impacts should the elevatedsections be completely removed, brought to grade, and what various alternatives might beconsidered for this scenario to occur long-term.

 

The new Mississippi River Bridge will re-route I-70 north of downtown.

 

You can find more regarding the City to River vision here: Our Proposal: A New Front Door for St. Louis. Visit our Media page to catch up on more news regarding City to River and the boulevard concept. Converting I-70 to an urban Interstate would give St. Louis a new front door. The concept has been shown to create more than $1.1B in new development opportunities and increase the value of existing developments. The majority of traffic using this section of I-70 is entering and exiting downtown St. Louis, a process made significantly easier with a boulevard that utilizes the efficient street grid. Through traffic would drive approximately one mile at an average speed of 20mph instead of the current 50mph average on I-70, resulting in less than two additional minutes in drive time.

Small Change in LKS Boulevard Should Bring Big Changes to Arch Grounds

January 20th, 2012

While much of the attention regarding the upcoming changes to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Arch Grounds) that are being led by the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation (CAR) have focused on the “lid” connection to Downtown and removal of the Arch parking garage to re-open the north end, important changes are also planned for the riverfront.

Due to fluctuations of the water level of the Mississippi River, Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard is often under water during the spring and summer months when the Arch Grounds attracts the most people. This leaves the riverfront inaccessible and limits the experience to views from above or descending the grand staircase to the water. Image above and maps below courtesy of CAR & MVVA.

MVVA has developed a solution to this problem: Raise the elevation of the boulevard. The level of the roadway will be raised from two to three feet along the entire length of the JNEM from the Eads Bridge to Poplar Street. North and south of the bridges, the roadway will transition back to its existing level.

Beyond simply raising the roadbed, the raising and re-building of Leonor K. Sullivan will include an extension of the Confluence Greenway Riverfront Trail which currently starts just a few blocks north of the MLK Bridge at the Ashley Street power plant. Along with the extended trail will be pedestrian and lighting improvements.

The new raised boulevard will also allow the riverfront boats to remain in operation by allowing them to extend their ramps across the flooded levee to the sidewalk during high water.

Many details will need to be worked out with the plan to raise Leonor K. Sullivan. This earlier rendering from MVVA showed the levee seamlessly blending with the boulevard, eliminating the awkward level changes, second roadway and entirely eliminating parking from the levee. It is unclear now how whether level of the levee will change as well whether parking will be allowed along the new boulevard. The water marker pylons in the water though have apparently been eliminated. A public presentation by CAR and MVVA later this month will hopefully answer some of these questions, but so far, the concept seems to bring vast improvement to the existing conditions along the riverfront.

CityArchRiver 2015 Report to the Community will be Held January 25

January 12th, 2012

Public event will provide an update on the effort to enhance the visitor experience at the Gateway Arch

What: Project leaders will update the public on the design plan and next steps for CityArchRiver 2015, which will connect, invigorate and expand the Gateway Arch and its surroundings. Detailed plans for the park over I-70, Museum of Westward Expansion entrance, and new access for the I-70 corridor will be unveiled. This event is open to the public.

Where: Ferrara Theatre, America’s Center, Downtown St. Louis
Main entrance is on Washington Avenue at Eighth Street

When: Wednesday, January 25
Doors open at 5:30 pm
6:00 – 7:15 pm – Public presentation, Ferrara Theatre

Who:
Deborah Patterson, President, Monsanto Fund, and Member of CityArchRiver 2015 Design Competition Board of Governors, M.C. for Report to the Community
Tom Bradley, Superintendent, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Walter Metcalfe, Jr., Lead director, CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation
Susan Trautman, Executive Director, Great Rivers Greenway
Michael Van Valkenburgh, President and CEO, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates