Monday, December 22, 2008

Eating the elephant

There's an old saying, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

On Saturday, we took the first bite, and we discussed ways of continuing the feast. And a huge feast it will be.

That feast is the task of restoring connections between downtown, the Arch grounds, and the riverfront. The tasks are huge.

Over the past ten years, downtown has made tremendous progress. The elephant in the room, to borrow another cliche, is the rotten connectivity conditions between the Arch, downtown, and the riverfront.

On Saturday, a group of people met in downtown St. Louis to consider forming an organization dedicated to working together on this issue. Detailed coverage of the meeting is reported in the Beacon.

Here at STL Rising, we've been advocating ideas including the reworking of the depressed and elevated lanes into a new Memorial Drive/grand urban street. On Saturday, we didn't discuss specific plans, but rather approaches on how to proceed. How to start working through the elephant.

There was talk about starting small, to test things out, and help get people comfortable with the idea of change. The first possibility is to close from one to three blocks of Memorial Drive, creating immediate, permanent pedestrian access between the Old Court House and the Arch grounds.

The group also agreed to continue working together. If you want to learn more about how to get involved, please contact me at The list of individuals is growing, and is now nearly 50 strong.

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