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Ald. Kennedy Finally Opens Westbound Olive to Traffic

In April of 2006 I first mentioned the barrels that completely blocked through traffic on Olive at Walton in the Central West End.  The next Month, in May of 2006 I looked into the issue a bit closer and realized that Olive was the dividing line between two wards.  Below is an image from that post.
olive - 11.jpg

At the time I wrote:

Olive, a once great road, is politically divided. One side of the street from Boyle Westward is in the 18th Ward (Terry Kennedy) and the other is in the 28th Ward (Lyda Krewson). Both sides of the street, however, are fully within the Central West End neighborhood. From an urban perspective the issues relating to the rebirth of this street do not fall into line with ward boundaries.

In June 2006 I was happy to report that Ald. Lyda Krewson of the 28th Ward had made the decision to remove the old barrels and open the eastbound portion of Olive to traffic once again.  However, the westbound barrels remained in place.

Recently, Ald. Kennedy finally relented and had the remaining barrels removed allowing a free flow of traffic on Olive — a first in many decades.

olive_walton - 3.jpg

Much investment and development is happening in the areas formerly on the wrong side of street closings so hopefully we will see a nice blending of the areas.  It is just too hard to justify developing on the bad side of closed streets.  The Central West End folks that pushed for the reopening of Olive deserve lots of credit.  Viva la street grid!


Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. Margie says:

    That’s fantastic. Kudos to both Krewson and Kennedy.

  2. politics says:

    Did the barrels serve a useful purpose during their tenure? Did they help stabilize
    the area and reduce crime, so that the area is now safe enough for removal of the barriers?

    Did residents at one time support the barrels, and now, have they made a neighborhood-
    based decision to have them removed?

    Can we say “the system worked”?

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I don’t know that we have enough information to claim the system worked, or didn’t work.  I think the barrels may have been useful at one point but they then turned to preventing rebirth from spreading.  The barrels should have been removed a good 5-10 years ago, if not sooner. 

    Neighborhood decision?  I think for too long it came down to which side you were on — the white or black?  I think the barrels remained in place to keep the blacks from getting to the white areas as well as to keep the whites from gentrifying the black areas.

    The barrels served no purpose during the last year.]

  3. schools says:

    Taking my driving lessons from a senior alderman, I’ve learned that driving down
    one-way streets is a seldom ticketed offense.

    So, help me understand something…if Lyda removed the east-bound barrels,
    what would prevent a west-bound driver from simply crossing into the east-bound
    lane to drive around the remaining barrels?

    Maybe Terry just figured having barrels on one side of the street was more likely
    to cause a head-on collision than do any good preventing drug trafficking, so he removed

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Well, we are talking about such low traffic anyway I don’t think you’d see any real accidents with traffic open in one direction and not in the other. And yes, for the past year drivers simply went around the barrels.  As for drug trafficking, I think that is pretty much subsided although I think we have that in many places — barrels or no.  Remember, dealers on bikes could easily get between the barrels but police cars could not.  The barrels were also not an issue for my scooter.]

  4. Jeff says:

    Now if we could just get that silly gate at Laclede and Taylor to be opened.

  5. Gina says:

    Kudos to both Krewson and Kennedy indeed! I too am delighted by the opening. (And thanks for explaining that odd one-side-at-a-time approach. I was a bit mystified.)

  6. Matt B says:

    Shaw and FPSE also seem to be in an excellent position to benefit from the removal of these types of barriers.

    Newstead in FPSE is an excellent example of where investment seems to be stopped by being on the wrong side of the barrier.

    And it is frustrating trying to find an address in Shaw with all of the barricaded and one-way streets. Until that is fixed I think some neighborhood business will have difficulty attracting customers from outside the neighborhood. I think residential redevelopment in the neighborhood is also slowed by this.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Agreed!  Excellent examples.  Even if the barriers were simply moved a block a year or something of a compromise.]

  7. Why are we giving them props? Removing street barriers! They should never have been in place! Street barriers no doubt contributed to the decline of this area, as well as many others. Jacobs says that neighborhoods are not isolated self-contained districts. When they are isolated in such manner, whether physically or politically, they die. Not to mention barriers scream “ghetto,” thus make the area unattractive for business and rehabs.

    Thanks. This is a real accomplishment. Along with demolitions, I am optimistic for the future.

  8. Margie says:

    Doug, You’re missing the point. I’m as bitter as you are about the stupid, racist legacy of these barriers and all that they say about St. Louis’ inability to solve its problems without making them worse.

    But when a St. Louis politician — or two! — swims against the tide and rights a wrong like this, we should thank them, not remind them how stupid they were not to do it sooner. ; )

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Well said, thank you!]

  9. anon says:

    Do the barriers require a change to municipal code to install or remove? Can the alderperson just call the street dept. and have barriers installed willy nilly all over their ward? Likewise, can they just remove them on a whim?

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I think removing them only takes a phone call from the alderman.]

  10. Yawn says:

    Okay, now so maybe Terry Kennedy will actually extend the historic district boundary up to Delmar to include Washington? Oh, wait, he missed that chance because he wanted to “prevent gentrification” (cause demolition).

    Kennedy and Krewson both vote yes on every redevelopment ordinance (including the Century Building), so don’t give them too much credit.

  11. foreignoil says:

    Yawn has it figured out: the Century deal was brokered by the STL system.

  12. Margie,

    Rather low standards if you ask me.

    Hey, you guys worked together!

    Did you get to work on time as well?

    Oh, you opened up *streets* for traffic. That deserves my vote!

  13. Scott says:

    Now if the barrels that remain at Walton between Olive and McPherson can be removed. Any news on those barrels being removed soon? Let’s hope so.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Walton is an entirely different story!  At some point the portion of Walton just south of Olive (to the alley) was vacated by the city.  Thus, that is not a public street and Ald. Krewson has no power to remove those barrels.  The two property owners, on either side of Walton, could deed the land back to the city if they wanted.  Or I suppose the city could “take” the land back from them (with compensation) for use as a public street again.]

  14. John McPheeters says:

    I am glad to see your posting regarding the removal of the barrels at Olive and Walton, but would like to offer a point of claification.
    Alderman Kennedy has been supportive of the opening of Olive in both directions for quite some time. The implimentation was delayed until the construction was completed on the new park at the junction of Olive and Washington–Kennedy Park.
    As a business owner at the Olive/Walton intersection, I am glad to report that the street opening has removed a significant physical and psychological barrier. We just need to keep working on the process of removing more of the barriers to success in the city.

  15. Patrick says:

    As someone who has lived at the corner of Laclede & Taylor for the past three years, I find it hilarioius how many people plow into that gate/brick wall. I do agree the road blocks at Laclede/Taylor, Taylor/Boyle & West Pine/Sarah are all very annoying. I would like to see them all gone.

  16. Eric says:

    I hate those barriers.

  17. Jeff says:

    I was walking with my girlfriend from our apartment near West Pine and Euclid to her office at Laclede and Newstead, and were walking down Laclede, between Taylor and Newstead, looking at and admiring many of the houses on that block, noting that some were for sale. My girlfriend’s response to the suggestion of living on that block was hesitant, and when I asked why, she said she didn’t feel safe walking on the block (she lived in new York for six years, mind you).

    I asked why, and she didn’t have a specific answer… So I asked if it was because there were no cars driving down the block, and she said “Yes! That’s it! It feels abandoned.” So then we both talked about how the gate at Laclede and Taylor (and others in the neighborhood) really detract from the positive qualities of the neighborhood.

    OK, storytime over.


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