Connecting St. Louis to its Famous Arch

St. Louis’ Gateway Arch is one of the great symbols of an American city. So it’s unfortunate that for much of its life, its grounds have been isolated from downtown St. Louis by freeways. Some observers have credited the construction of highways, which bisect downtown St. Louis and cut off access to the Mississippi river, with ushering in city’s decades-long decline.


Now St. Louis is planning a major overhaul of Gateway Park and pedestrian access is finally getting the attention it deserves. Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition has been following the process:

St. Louis and the National Park Service have unveiled five proposals to revitalize the St Louis riverfront area including the Gateway Arch. The five proposals are the finalists in a competition designed to uncover the best plan for improving the area. All the proposals include significant improvements to bicycle & pedestrian access in the area, which includes both the Missouri and Illinois sides of the river.

Currently, streets with heavy traffic and the I-70 corridor cut off the Gateway Arch grounds from the rest of downtown St Louis, making it difficult and even dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel between the two areas, which are separated by only a few yards.

MBPC is even reporting that some of the design teams are considering converting portions of I-70 to a boulevard in order to expand pedestrain access.



Filed under architecture, Headline, Urban Planning

4 responses to “Connecting St. Louis to its Famous Arch

  1. Miranda

    The website has been covering the Arch competition with reviews, links to design team presentations and more. It’s a great place to learn more about what’s happening.

  2. Jason Stokes

    You can also check out for more information on the removal of I-70 and the proposal to add a boulevard to foster stronger connections.

    All 5 design teams have come out and supported the removal of I-70 through downtown- 4 of them in their documentation, and the 5th in a presentation given last week.

  3. Special K

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve never been to St. Louis, but am eager to visit.

  4. Excellent. I was in St. Louis for the first time this summer – standing directly under the arch and looking up, I was in awe by the scale of the monument.

    St. Louis should look at Portland and San Francisco as case studies for boulevard-ing their downtown interstates. Downtown interstates are a relic of 1960s “urban renewal” and suburban-oriented highway planning and should be treated as the anachronisms that they are.

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