Tuesday, July 08, 2008

"Equals 42" Hits Nail on Head

In the 50th comment at a thread over at Urban Review St. Louis, the anonymous poster known as "Equals 42" makes the following comment regarding the idea of replacing the I-70 depressed lanes with a new Memorial Parkway:

"Jim (Zavist), I don’t believe we have to continue to direct North-South traffic down Memorial Drive (hopefully Parkway). If I-70 dumped off onto Broadway near the Dome and Casino, traffic would be directed down Broadway and 4th streets where it belongs as they are both large streets (ignore the loss of a lane at the Fed Reserve) and can handle traffic with appropriate speed restrictions (downtown should never be relegated to a shortcut). Memorial Parkway can serve as an additional route not directly connected to the Interstates. From the south, more of the same. Dump downtown traffic off at Broadway and 4th near Chouteau and it helps people get to the Chouteau Landing areas talked about forever.

People in St Louis are under the mistaken belief that they have traffic. They don’t. I lived 30 years in LA and SF. I travel for a living and regularly see Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and DC traffic. Those cities have traffic to contend with on your daily commute. To claim that removing a small stretch of obsolete highway by the arch will seriously impact traffic downtown is simply not true based on my years of living and working downtown. Real traffic there happens seldom and is primarily for events such as the Rams and 4th of July fireworks. As the axiom goes, you don’t build a church for Easter mass, you build it to accommodate normal Sundays. On top of that, we’ve seen what little disruption there really is when they took out 64/40. Outrageous claims that everyone’s days would be ruined, businesses closed, etc were found to be just wrong. [They allowed everyone to take credit for the planning that “alleviated” the problem.]

At $5/gallon (I have to use premium) we should be reconsidering all our intracity highways and the state and fed should be requiring zoning changes which compress our sprawl into more manageable, denser urban areas better served by transit. That would constitute a portion of an effective energy policy. The upside could be a spurred recovery in depressed property prices in already developed cities which could help stem the “wealth loss” effect currently plaguing the consumer side of the economy."

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