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Talk of Barricades & One-Way Streets

May 12, 2005 25th Ward 6 Comments

From 20th Ward Alderman Craig Schmid:


The police major for the South Patrol Division has compiled statistics to show that 2/3 of the folks arrested in our area come from outside of the neighborhoods. Therefore, he is committed to working with the City and neighborhoods to install barricades and one-way streets to deal with the easy accessibility of our neighborhoods to criminals. These are just proposals (which are in a number of wards), but the intent would be to try to put them in place by June. Let me know what you think.

Texas south of Arsenal; Juniata east of Minnesota; Nebraska north of Juniata; Ohio south of Arsenal; Pennsylvania south of Wyoming; Winnebago west of Jefferson; California north of alley to the north of Chippewa; Osage west of Broadway; Ohio south of Gasconade; Compton between Osage and Gasconade [Marquette Park].

Change 36xx Iowa to one-way north (was south); Meramec from Broadway to California one-way west; Osage from Virginia to Louisiana one-way west; Osage from Virginia to Compton one-way east; Miami from Arkansas to Grand one-way west; Osage from Tennessee to Louisiana one-way east (neighbor suggests one way west); Osage from Virginia to Louisiana one-way west (neighbor suggests one way east from Louisiana to Compton); Louisiana 34xx block one-way north (neighbor suggests leaving two-way); 35xx Pennsylvania one-way north (was south); 36xx Iowa one-way north (was south); Jefferson one way east from Texas to Jefferson.


These proposed changes are in a number of wards, including the 25th. I am personally opposed to the idea of these barricades and one-way streets. Below is an email I sent to Craig today:

I just got a copy of an email you sent out about considering changes to streets to control crime. As you might expect, I have some opinions on the subject. The short version is blockades and one-way streets are bad news overall. Here is the long version:

Barricades and one-way streets do work to control outside criminals because it reduces accessibility. However, it does the same for residents. Nothing screams “ghetto” more than those big ugly concrete barriers. These send the message to developers and buyers the area is unsafe and a ghetto.

Initially you will see a quick drop in the outside criminals but will also see a drop in interest from outsiders looking for a place to live. Insiders will begin to feel trapped by the barricades. Still others will cling to the barricades and fight any efforts to eventually remove them. In the West End they were effective in helping houses on one side of the barricades while the other side continued to rot. Now it is a challenge to remove the barricades to let development continue.

One-way streets have a similar effect. They are mostly to move traffic at higher speeds. This makes them less friendly streets to live on. The criminals will adjust but residents won’t. One-way streets are also not pedestrian or bicycle friendly as they encourage motor traffic to go by at higher rates. When bicycling you don’t want to have to go to the next block to ride with traffic. This may encourage more wrong-way cycling which could lead to increased accidents and deaths.

Barricades and one-way streets would, in the long term, be highly destructive to the area. I personally will not invest in any area that contains them. Many young people feel the same way. These measures would be a huge mistake. We need to look at alternative solutions.

– Steve

I do want to say that I applaud Craig for bringing issues like this to the people and asking for their opinion. The easy thing for Craig to do in his ward would just be to have it done and deal with the complaints after the fact. I like that he is bringing up a potentially controversial issue so they public can discuss the proposal, make alternative suggestions and in general be heard by those they are serving. Democracy in action.

– Steve


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dustin Bopp says:

    Here is the note that I sent to Craig in response to Steve’s email to him:

    I couldn’t agree with Steve more. This proposal is a huge mistake for all the reasons Steve outlined. I understand the seriousness of the crimes and measures must be taken to prevent them but this will make those areas very undesirable. Let’s find a different way to address the problems and not punish current law-abiding residents by reducing their choices and “imprisoning” them and cluttering our beautiful streets. People like myself choose to live in areas that offer a choice of routes — otherwise I would go live in a subdivision in West County. Now that the success of areas such as Soulard, Lafayette Square, and even Benton Park continue to move in our direction let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot by scaring off potential good neighbors.

    I know you have a lot to deal with and this may seem like an acceptable short term fix but in the long run it would terribly debililitate us. Please consider another alternative. While I am sure there are many in your ward who are frustrated by current crime levels I know that MANY people in the area feel as we do. I think there needs to be a much larger public debate on this issue. I will certainly get the word out if this proposal goes forward. I think we can really learn from the history in other neighborhoods where this has been a temporary solution and become a long-term problem. This may seem like a good idea from a police perspective and I appreciate them trying to solve livibility issues in our neighborhoods but it is an incredibly bad idea from a long-term city planning perspective.

    The good news is that the criminals are indeed from somewhere else and are not by and large our neighbors.


  2. Linda Serafini says:

    I agree barricades are unsightly. They also don’t prevent criminals from walking down a street. I don’t know whether one-way streets are effective in hindering crime, but I live on a one-way street and I like it from a maneuvuerabilty standpoint. It was a buying point for me because some of our streets are so narrow that when cars are parked on both sides of the street (and face it not everyone is a whiz at parallel parking), it is extremely difficult for two cars traveling in opposite directions to pass. Often one car has to pull to the side and let the other car go by.

  3. Donna Lawton says:

    NO BARRICADES PLEASE! As Steve has indicated barricades on the streets put barricades in our minds and in our lives. Safety in our neighborhoods is something we all have to be a part of to see a change for the better. Would more block security help? Our block captains do a good job but others on the block may not understand HOW MUCH they can help. With neighbors changing, maybe they could be informed of the block captains job to not only help children but to also help the adults on the block with things they see as problems or possible problems. A block party once a year doesn’t do a lot to help neighbors get to know each other, especially if the neighbors have changed during the year or if they have trouble understanding English. If they are afraid of the police, the block captains could help the communicattion process. Just some thoughts to help us not become prisoners in our own neighborhoods. I’m sure others have thoughts for possible problem solutions. Respond, people, you’re finally be asked for your opinion not just getting something shoved down your throats!

  4. Marlene Hood says:

    Our street used to go both ways, now it is a one-way street. They speed more than ever down a one way street, and I don’t think barracades would help. However, I do have to say I do not believe that all trouble comes from outside our neighborhood. Have you ever looked at Virginia and Itaska, or just the 3300 block of Itaska. Any time of the night or day you can get whatever you want there, they work both sides of the street. So it is not coming from outside “our” neighborhood,I don’t know about anyone elses. (1) I think we need more police officers on the street in the problem areas. I don’t know that the annual budget allows for that. (2)Contact some of the problem properties owner’s to have them do their share of cleaning up the neighborhood. That would seem the most obvious before barracades. (3) To have the Mt. Pleasant newsletter report the crimes in the area and the locations so that the neighborhood . I believe if more people saw the crimes listed they would be more apt to get involved and say “wait a minute” this is my neighborhood!

  5. G.NELSON says:

    Barricades are usually not a good sight. They represent to many un-positive things in our neighborhood.One way streets can sometimes be incovenient to the people that are of the community.However it does slow down traffic and doesnt allow easy access to different streets. We know what the problems are in our community.We need to stop depending on stone figures to handle them. We need to stand up for our community, and come together as one! Its not just the hispanics,or the blacks,or the whites. Its all people of all different races that dont give a hell about our community. Are we going to keep discussing this over the internet, or try to resolve his problem. The majority of our neighbors dont even have internet in their homes. We need to be heard! Lets schedule some meetings and get to the bottom of this.Lets send out notice and questionaires regarding this. Lets act before the druglords, prostitutes,thieves,sex offenders end up in our very own backyards.LETS DO IT!

  6. Eilleen says:

    Barricades are very unsightly. Yes it does scream GHETTO. However personally i do think that it is a big inconvenience for residents. I have found myself to many times being turned around by barricades. Since we know that barricades will keep down some of the traffic of criminals not belonging to our community how do we come together to fight drug activity? I noticed that drug traffic is heavy on Osage,Meramec,Itaska, and im sure there are many more. Where are the police? I know that there isnt enough police to control all of the activity going on. We need to have a meeting and come together as one. We need to post signs out so the community can be aware of the meetings. We must come together.If we dont come together our neighborhood will collapse. Propery value will go down, Our homes will be less than the price we paid for them ten years ago.Lets come together!


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