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.