Friday, September 19, 2008

STL Can Change - Hampton Bridge Closing

Traffic patterns get implanted in our DNA. Visitors to Forest Park take Hampton Avenue. So much so that on weekends, when the weather is nice, cars get backed up a mile away on the exit ramps of I-44, trying to get to northbound Hampton and up to the park.

So Monday, when MoDOT closes the Hampton Bridge over Interstate 64, STL drivers are going to be forced to change their driving habits...again. They'll need to find new ways to get to Forest Park without their customary Hampton Avenue access. Gloom and doom on the horizon? Or another Highway 40 closure non-event?

In St. Louis, we're getting experienced at dealing with major changes to our established traffic patterns. So far, we've handled them well. Impacts have been less than the dire predictions. People are discovering alternate routes. They're finding the street grid.

Dogtown and the Tamm Street/Turtle Park overpass stand adjacent to the Hampton bridge. Will Dogtown be flooded with lost drivers searching for a new way to enter Forest Park?

Or will drivers divert into a thousand alternate routes, from all sides of the park, and will St. Louis absorb another lifestyle change with grace and little disruption? Maybe drivers will discover that by making a few additional turns along the way, they will shorten their wait in traffic by a half hour or more?

Look for drivers to use Clayton Road, Laclede Station, Vandeventer, Kingsighway and Forest Park Parkway as alternates to Hampton Avenue. STL Rising prediction: We will fare far better than most people expect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

MoDOT's stated plans for the eastward expansion of the I-64 re-construction kinda makes me think of good ole "Manifest Destiny," only in topsy-turvy Bizarro World.

Why, again, does the city (or, to be precise, its wealthy immediate neighbors) feel it needs an outsized interstate shipping corridor right down the center? Does the pass-thru commercial traffic that actually couldn't give a rat's arse about scenic views of the Arch really deserve such handouts from the DOT?