Monday, July 11, 2011

PD: Stastny suggests reducing traffic lanes on N. Grand

The Post Dispatch reported over the weekend that planner Don Stastny is suggesting reducing traffic lanes in front of the Fox Theater and Powell Hall from five to three.

The three lane configuration sounds like a possible one lane in each direction, plus a two-way center turn lane. The intent of eliminating traffic lanes is to make the area more pedestrian friendly, encourage outdoor activities such as sidewalk dining, and overall improve the quality of life.

Road diets are being employed more and more across St. Louis:

City to River proposed a major road diet between the riverfront and downtown.

9th Street in front of the Culinaria has gone from three lanes to one.

Statsny is suggesting reducing North Grand from five to three lanes.

Manchester through the Grove is undergoing a road diet.

South Grand from Arsenal to Utah has gone from four lanes to three (or is it two?).

With the overabundance of road capacity on St. Louis city streets, what other roads would you like to see restriped with fewer traffic lanes?

A few worth considering:

S. Broadway
Natural Bridge
North and West Florissant
Grand north of Grand Center and south of Gravois

A common compaint about St. Louis is that our neighborhoods are beautiful but they are weak on the edges.

Road diets on major streets would be a low cost way to soften the edges of St. Louis neighborhoods.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Gravios reduced from,say, about Kingshighway to and through downtown. What I'd really like to see on that route though is a center-lane trolley.

GMichaud said...

While traffic calming measures are useful the real unanswered question is the role of transit/movement systems in a new city. I am talking about the 10 to 20 year vision, if there is one.
I live just off of Grand and attended the hearings for the current lane elimination scheme. I agree with that proposal. But there were no proposals to invigorate transit (including bicycles) in the area. (Bicycles were part of the planning discussions, but nothing connecting to a larger system nor anything to help bicycles become a larger part of transit)
The first thing that has to be done is to determine the face of a new St. Louis, does it include a comprehensive commitment to mass transit, bicycles and walking or is planning married to an autocentric culture.
Whatever the answer will help determine reconfigurations of streets.
Anything else is a waste of money. The piecemeal approach that will give Grand two lanes is an example of this, although it is primarily two lanes through the area now.
If Grand Center is successful (let's hope so) then what are the plans to handle to crush of people?
Two lanes of traffic without development of alternates (at least city wide transit alternatives) will cause the current plan to be outmoded very quickly.
The whole idea is to develop a plan that is successful correct?

Scott Pluff said...

I drive Hampton and Kingshighway daily, and they are using all of their capacity during peak times. There has to be a balance between the micro-traffic considerations within neighborhoods and the macro-traffic flow within the city and region.

Anonymous said...

If grand center is successfu?
St. Louis is 40 years behind other cities, primarily as a destination and you are asking if grand center can be successful? A full-boat Kiel Opera House supported by parking and a wall to wall MUNY from Memorial Day to Labor Day-on the same web page. There is your success. That's what made St. Louis a most desirable destination.

GMichaud said...

Anony you don't get it. I assume a plan for Grand Center is being produced to help propel success.(If not why pay for a new plan?)
The question is what provisions are being made for additional people, if in fact the plan is successful?
Shrinking the lanes on Grand would make the introduction of streetcars or of bus only lanes unlikely for instance.
The shrinking of lanes should be coordinated with projected increases of use and with a comprehensive transit/movement plan.
(I would argue the Stastny Plan would have a better chance of success with a new city wide and/or regional transit/movement plan)

GMichaud said...

A perfect example in the news tonight, I think it was channel 4 that reported metrolink was going to run every 20 minutes after the U 2 concert until everyone was taken care of, but if you stayed downtown to go to other events, you were out of luck.
It points to a major point of discussion and mismanagement of the current transit system.
Cutbacks in timing may be necessary, but to portray riders who stay in town as out of luck points to a suburban prejudice, that defeats transit.
Until an overall conception of movement is imagined and planned, then lane reductions are only fruitless, feel good stories.

Jason Stokes said...

I'd love to see Watson between Hampton and Chippewa get a diet. The lanes are too tight as-is, and the thoroughfare nature of the current configuration leads to speeds far above the 30 mph limit.

Anonymous said...

nice opinion, thanks for sharing..