Posts Tagged ‘Kingshighway’


A Vacant Urban Lot – Brought to you by SLU High

November 3, 2013

The Kings Oak Neighborhood has a small but beautiful residential section at its northeastern edge (Kingshighway and Oakland).  The vast majority of the homes on these quiet tree-lined streets are occupied and well-maintained.

Kings Oak Neighborhood Residential

Lawn Place North from Berthold

This area has a lot of appeal, seemingly isolated but smack dab in the middle of the action.  Unfortunately it’s shrinking.

Demolition of a Four Family Flat in Kings Oak

Demo on Wise

Despite their prime central corridor location, recent occupancy and sound condition, two four-family flats on Wise had to be demolished.

Demo on otherwise picturesque Wise Avenue

Why did these buildings have to come down?  Because SLU High students needed a convenient “Vacant Urban Lot” for their AP Environmental Sciences class:

Experiment in Progress – Please Do Not Disturb

In their defence, while a number of vacant lots already exist just across Kingshighway, it can be a terrifying street to cross on foot.  And what’s a St. Louis neighborhood without at least one vacant lot?  Thanks SLU High!


St. Louis Velodrome

March 23, 2011

While surfing around on YouTube recently, I came across a Living St. Louis video on the St. Louis Velodrome, a bicycle racecourse in North St. Louis.  Apparently this current Velodrome is a replacement for one in Forest Park that sat in the area created by the Kingshighway Jog.

After watching this video clip I had to try out the Velodrome.  Although it was interesting to see, my used mountain bike and I were clearly unprepared to properly appreciate the unspectacular loop of asphalt.

Penrose Park Velodrome

Instead of spending time on the Velodrome I ended up exploring the neighborhood on my bicycle.  The Mark Twain neighborhood turned out to be pretty cool.  I found a couple of stretches of brand new brick houses right across the street from Bellefontaine Cemetery that were surprisingly good looking.  There isn’t a whole lot of new construction in North St. Louis, so I was particularly happy to see good quality infill here.

Old and New in Mark Twain

Seeing this Velodrome and the living neighborhood around it was a very positive experience, reminding me how much this city has to offer, and how much of it I have yet to explore.


New “Attraction Corridor” Signage

July 22, 2010

While Driving down Highway 40 recently I was pleasantly surprised to see new signs that attempt to convince motorists to exit the freeway while driving through the City of St. Louis.  Signs on 170 advise of the “Attraction Corridor” that 40, our main street, has become; and the three main exits on the corridor (Kingshighway, Grand and Broadway) advertise their respective attractions.  The first exit, Kingshighway, has signage that to me is puzzling.

Kingshighway "explore St. Louis" Sign

Three attractions are listed: Forest Park, The Hill and The Loop.  Isn’t the Loop centered around Skinker not Kingshighway?  Isn’t the Central West End an amazing attraction just North of 40 and Kingshighway?  When this question was raised on UrbanSTL today, the answer from Nerfdude struck me as pretty good thinking:

bonwich: Terrific idea, great graphics. But why in God’s name do they have signs in both directions on 64 telling people to get to the Loop via Kingshighway???

Nerfdude: because then you’ll have to explore St. Louis to find what you’re looking for, of course.

Not too bad.  I assume there will be signs @ Delmar and Kingshighway directing people west to the Loop eventually (there are none as of this posting).  Apparently the start date for this was June 23rd and kicked off a project that will continue for the rest of the year and end up placing 300 signs throughout the city and county.  I am very happy with this project but wish that there were more attractions on the signs that are already up!

Explore St. Louis Sign @ Grand

The Central West End is a pretty big omission from the Kingshighway sign, and Midtown Alley would have been a great addition to the Grand sign.  I hope that both of these are added as time goes on. Keep an eye out for more of these helpful signs.


Do-It-Yourself Skate Parks in St. Louis

May 5, 2010

Skateboarding is an Urban sport.  In St. Louis, Do-It-Yourself skateparks have been some of the most positive urban developments in recent years.  With locations around the city, some more visible than others, from Gratiot and Spring (recently replaced by School Bus Parking) to Delmar and Cardinal, these skate parks are positive contributions to their respective neighborhoods and to our city as a whole.  In visiting these sites (usually at random and completely by accident), I have encountered enthusiastic people about whom I have nothing but good things to say.

DIY Skatepark near Chippewa and Gravois

Unfortunately, the organizations that build these skate parks are the least likely to receive public support or assistance.  Recently, Steve Patterson chose the idea of a skate park as his ideal addition to the gateway mall.  I agree with this and believe that our city can sustain as many skate parks as the city or skaters can build.

Quarterpipe from a DIY Skatepark (since demolished) in between SLU's Campuses

Influences ranging from Tony Hawk to Lupe Fiasco have popularized skateboarding so much over the past decade, that its draw is something cities should not refrain from taking advantage of.  Mayor Slay seems to have some understanding of this, as he recognized Ramp Riders (in the old bottling works of the Falstaff Brewery) for their contributions to the city.  I think that the DIY skateparks deserve the same recognition.

DIY Skatepark at Delmar and Cardinal

Here are some photos of a few local Do-It-Yourself skateparks (and here is the Facebook page of St. Louis DIY Skateparks).  Thanks to those who have devoted their time and energy to these projects!  I  hope to continue seeing constructive reuse of otherwise wasted space!


The Kingshighway Jog

February 17, 2010

Kingshighway is one of the city’s busiest streets, but up until less than 50 years ago, the road yielded to Forest Park instead of visa-versa.  Thanks to Gateway StreetsSunday Links last week, I was able to track down the year that the motorist won out over the city itself by looking at MODOT’s historical highway maps.  I found that 1964 is the first year in which “the jog” does not appear on the state highway map.  One more decision accelerating decline.  Originally, Kingshighway took a 90 degree turn to the East at what is now Hospital Drive and then made another 90 degree turn to the South at Euclid (formerly Lake or Lay).  This was due to the shape of the park!

Map of Forest Park - 1914

This area now has so much traffic concentrated into BJC, Wash-U Med, etc., but these are basically one big campus cut off from the rest of the city.  I just wonder what the area felt like before.  It must have been very different.

Kingshighway Jog

Maybe one day Forest Park will be restored to its original boundaries and Kingshighway restored to it’s original, more pedestrian friendly route.  We need to work with what our city already has to offer, even the sharp edges, instead of destroying it to remove minor inconveniences incurred from one particular perspective.