I haven’t posted anything about the proposed changes to the streetscape on South Grand since early last year as these projects tend to drag on forever. Thankfully, it looks like things are finally coming together. In fact, the 3- lane proposal (my personal favorite) is actually being tested right now.For 30 days, which run out around October 8th, 2009, the target area of Grand between Arsenal and Utah has been restriped and concrete barriers have been put up at intersections to simulate the proposed configuration. I have heard some people complain that this is unnessary or that it will simply push traffic into neighborhoods, but both of these stances are wrong in my mind. I test drove the entire section both ways yesterday and I loved it. Traffic was flowing nicely too despite the view-block concrete bollards at street corners.
On the pedestrian angle, if you have ever walked that strip of Grand, you will agree that it can be intimidating to cross the street. With 4 lanes of traffic and 40 mph car speeds, it is more than an illusion. South Grand has done very well for itself, but this change would make it much more pedestrian friendly, akin to the Delmar Loop. It would be a great thing for residents in the surround neighborhoods of Tower Grove South and Tower Grove East, and sure won’t hurt property values either.
But don’t listen to me, test it out yourself in the next few weeks and call the Great Streets Initiative with your thoughts at 314-776-2423. For more information on the proposal changes, check out the Great Streets Initiative website. You might also want to check out Saint Louis Urban Workshop’s take on the issue as they have been following this one more closely than I.