Posts Tagged ‘South Side’

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The 10th Street Mall in LaSalle Park

June 21, 2011

A few weeks ago I had the day off and needed to take my car to the shop, so for the first time in a while I was able to do some St. Louis Exploring.  For lack of a better idea, I simply took the bus downtown and starting walking toward Soulard, knowing that I didn’t really have a good grasp of what lay in between.  The dead zones between our “destination neighborhoods” are one of the biggest problems St. Louis has to tackle.

LaSalle Park

Crossing under Highway 40 on Broadway I entered LaSalle Park, a hidden gem nestled between Soulard, Layfayette Square and Downtown.  The neighborhood is cut off from the rest of the city by highways, and the damaged street grid leaves its few surviving blocks particularly isolated.   A Pedestrian Mall replaces Tenth Street from Hickory to Park Avenue, effectively separating the renovated historic homes to the east, from the mess of urban renewal to the west.

Tenth Street Mall in LaSalle Park

Dead-end streets north of Park on Ninth Street have been turned into cul-de-sacs, but they are shady, quiet, relatively dense, and feel great to walk down.  Large bushes visually separate the cul-de-sacs from the pedestrian mall, but the sidewalks merge into it.  The mall itself is both devoid of life and overgrown.

10th Street Pedestrian Mall from Park

In many ways, the Tenth Street Mall reflects St. Louis urban planning in general.  It has preservation on one side and auto-centric modern development  on the other.  It has glaring successes and failures.  It is cool and attractive but also lacks maintenance and use.  For many, however, it seems that LaSalle Park has the best of both worlds.  It is in the middle the city, but feels suburban in many ways.  It’s both old and new.  It has a totally random pedestrian mall running through part of it; and apparently that’s what people like because LaSalle Park is one of a small handful of St. Louis City neighborhoods to have gained population in 2010.  If you haven’t been, go check it out – the experience is quite pleasant.

More photos of LaSalle Park can be found here.

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Pedestrians @ Gravois and Bingham

April 11, 2010

On several occasions this Spring I have found myself in the Bevo Neighborhood along Gravois.  Seeing the old pedestrian tunnel alongside Gravois at Bingham peaked my interest in particular and the first time I walked around the area I found that although the tunnel was sealed and unusable, its route is still well traveled.

Sealed Pedestrian Tunnel Entrance @ Gravois & Bingham alongside the new path

The tunnels were a vital part of the original viaduct design, and the lack of sidewalks alongside Gravois as it crosses under the train tracks here make it all but impossible to walk along (it is possible but not at all safe).  Although safety is also an issue for pedestrians walking across the train tracks, it is really the best option and fairly safe when coupled with common sense.  Unfortunately, the train tracks are private property, and on this weekend’s beautiful Saturday afternoon when people decided to take walks as families and friends, they were stopped from using this path by a uniformed security guard.

Well-Beaten Walking Path along Gravois

I saw several groups of people and individuals stopped by the security guard and forced to turn around.  Later I saw some of the same people taking much longer routes to get where they wanted to go.  As you can see in the map below, being unable to follow Gravois as a Pedestrian creates a huge inconvenience and turns a 30 second walk across a set of train tracks into a walk three-quarters of a mile long (13 minutes according to Google Maps).

Gravois and Bingham - Alternative to the Pedestrian Cut-through

I am not sure what could be done about this, but something really must be done.  The last thing St. Louisans need is to be any more discouraged from walking around their city.  In my opinion, getting a ticket for trying to walk down Gravois is completely ridiculous.

Pretty Ridiculous

St. Louis needs to improve the quality of life for its pedestrians!  We are a vibrant city’s greatest asset!

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St. Louis Arsenal

March 6, 2010

Today I visited the St. Louis Arsenal (located basically at Arsenal and the river) hoping to get some photos of the historic buildings (the oldest in the city as far as I know).  I got a few good pictures through the chain link fence and then started to drive away, pausing to snap a photo of the entrance to the Air Force Base.  Moments after I snapped my last shot, four guards ran out demanding my camera and proceeded to delete all of the photographs I had taken around the Arsenal.  Apparently photographing the Arsenal is illegal.  Luckily, I did enjoy driving around the complex and getting a good look at the low stone buildings that have seen so much history.  If anyone wants to get a look at the buildings I would recommend going on the weekends when the parking lot isn’t full of cars obstructing the view and I would also recommend not taking any photographs.

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