Thursday, December 08, 2005

The End of Traffic Madness Downtown?

Downtown St. Louis TrafficDuring my day to day travels, I occasionally find myself asking questions about why certain traffic signals, lanes, etc. are set up the way they are. "Doesn't anyone know about this?!#$!?!" I was excited to go to the open house yesterday at the Downtown St. Louis Partnership office to look into the most recent analysis of the downtown central business district traffic flow and recommendations by Crawford Bunte, and Brammeier, Traffic and Transportation Engineers.

I was happy to see lots of people in the loft development industry present. I was happy to see the level of detail that a professional engineer will look at when assessing the traffic in a given area. Though very detailed, it appeared that they really thought about how things could be improved in our downtown by fixing some vehicle and pedestrian issues that are downright obnoxious.

Things I was most excited to hear and hope are implemented.
1. Having a more coordinated system in place to control traffic signals downtown.
2. Placing a wide median on Tucker to assist in managing the traffic flow, allowing more pedestrian friendly roads, and potentially beautifying that important downtown artery.
3. Considering having eighth and eleventh streets changed from 1 way to 2 way.

Ultimately, the traffic in St. Louis is substantially better than in many other cities. We have no real room to complain, but that seems to be why fixing some of the obvious problems has never really addressed before. We really don't have it that bad.

The problem comes in more that navigating through downtown can be confusing and that for people looking into St. Louis as a convention location or for offices may not stick around town long enough to figure out the areas to avoid and how to get around with ease.

My only hope now is that the City of St. Louis does everything possible to implement the findings of this great study.

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