Monday, April 12, 2010

Neighborhood Commercial Corridors

St. Louis is filled with neighborhood commercial service areas. We have hundreds if not thousands of small commercial buildings suitable for small businesses. Many of these buildings front wide boulevards with multiple lanes of fast moving traffic.

Drivers in slower moving cars are more likley to notice and patronize neighborhood businesses. For wide streets like Natural Bridge, Page, Hampton, Gravois, S. Broadway, are there ways to accomodate traffic flows while making the areas more supportive to small business?

One option is to reduce the number of through lanes and create center turn lanes. There is an experiment underway doing just this along South Grand between Arsenal and Utah.

A little further south, on Gravois through the Bevo Mill area, a similar experiment was done a few years ago. There was a backlash of opposition to the lane restriping, so the city returned the street to its previous lane configuration.

Perhaps these experiences demonstrate that uniform planning policies are more difficult to accomplish than one might think? What are some strategies for St. Louis to improve the market and investment potential for neighborhood commercial districts?


Anonymous said...

Vandeventer Avenue between I-44 and Kingshighway was restriped just as you say: 2-way center left turn lane; 1 through lane in each direction; street parking on both sides of the street. It seems to work well and handles a moderately high volume of traffic.

Jennifer said...

It's a timely question. Tonight (Tuesday, April 13) there's a public meeting at UMSL's JC Penney Conference Center regarding Natural Bridge Road and the Great Streets project going on there. (Full disclosure: I sit on the Advisory Committee as the Metro representative.) You can come out and see what ideas we are working with and propose some of your own. Or if you can't make it out, you can see some info from past meetings right here.

Anonymous said...

This looks great, but where's the city of St. Louis in this process?

From the info online, it appears this initiative only includes areas in St. Louis County.