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Highway 40 Closure, Much Ado About Nothin’

January 10, 2008 STL Region, Transportation 37 Comments

Economic life was going to come to a complete standstill in the St. Louis region if traffic was not allowed to continue through the reconstruction of highway 40.  That was the prediction of Frontenac Republican Scott Muschany and others at a meeting held on December 17, 2007 that was “organized” by retired traffic engineer Joe Passanise:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wewf3pJEAU4

…Make no mistake about it, beginning January 3rd MoDOT is going to unleash the worst economic damage that this community could ever suffer, one of the worst public health crisis… – Scott Muschany 12/17/07

Wow, “worst economic damage that this community could ever suffer.”   The closure came and with a few exceptions it has been a non-event.  People are adjusting their schedules, routes and modes.

Our region’s adaption to the closed interstate highway proves one thing — the highway is not necessary!  Muschany and his road building Republican buddies would probably like to have the project take much longer and cost hundreds of millions more.  The fact we are spending over $500 million for something the region doesn’t need is bad enough.

As I and others have said before, Highway 40 should not be rebuilt as the  “new I-64” but should be a proper urban boulevard with through lanes in the middle and more localized lanes on the outer edges.  These outside lines, separated by a line of trees from the center lanes, would have on-street parking and buildings fronting them.

Mass transit might take the form of a commuter rail line down the center but it also might take the form of more localized service to the local stores, or a combination of both.  Areas North and South of the corridor would be connected through a grid of streets making it easier to get across this long-standing divide.

Instead the traffic folks envision more traffic and more pavement to handle the volume.  Alternates are not considered as we worship the so-called freedom of the interstates.  True enough, getting to Chicago, Tulsa, Kansas City or many other places by car on county roads would be time consuming so I do see value in the highways to connect regions — it is what they do within regions that I have a problem with.

The citizens of the St. Louis region will adapt as they have been to the changes.  There will most certainly be accidents that cause delays and unfortunately lives will be lost.  Of course, lives are lost daily on crashes on our interstates.  And in a couple of years, once the highway is completely rebuilt, most people will drop their car pool or use of mass transit and return to their single occupancy vehicles.  Due to the improvements of the new highway others will join them and in short order we will be back to slow downs and at capacity travel on the new I-64.  When this happens, in 5 or 10 years, the engineers will be back at the drawing board working on the next version. The alternative is that fuel becomes so costly we a drop in use and the highway will seem overbuilt for demand.

One thing is certain, those that sought to keep the highway open didn’t have a clue.  Hopefully the folks in Frontenac will elect themselves a new state rep this coming November.

 

Currently there are "37 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dennis says:

    Not that I like to brag, but, it’s turning out just like I predicted isn’t it? There’s no grid-lock jams because everryone is scattered all over the place now instead of all funneling through the same bottleneck (64/40). And when the new highway opens we’ll be right back where we started. The new higher overpasses will open it up for big trucks so they’ll be out there adding to the congestion.

     
  2. Tim E says:

    I agree that the I-64 shutdown is not impacting the area because of the multiple highways. However, I don’t take this as a sign of I-64 is not needed. I see it as sign that this area has a strong road network that supports the movement of people and goods. Like or not, trucks move the bulk of the goods in our economy. Take away freeways, you take away trucks. You might as well ask any of the remaining manufacturers and distributors in the urban core if they want help moving out.

    Instead, How about improving any of the multiple streets and boulevards already existing in city that need attention before you create a new one. How about improving Delmar, Manchester, Olive, Locust, Page, MLK, Natural Bridge and so forth?

     
  3. zink says:

    Man, that guy must feel like a true idiot. I almost never use that word, but when someone is so strong that “it will happen, no buts about it” and it doesn’t… well you get called an idiot.

     
  4. dude says:

    ‘ Muschany and his road building Republican buddies’, that’s unfair and wrong. A lot of the rest of it is spot on. It shouldn’t be rebuilt as an interstate. Any speculations what the price of gas will be in 2010 when the highway reopens? ’09 may be more adverse than ’08. I’ll repeat a quote I saw here once before, “I don’t know why missouri calls it the department of transportation, they ought to call it the dept of highways because that’s all they seem to know how to build.”

    [SLP — I’ll admit that Republican shot was a bit cheap but it is more typical of them to support highways and oppose alternates such as mass transit.]

     
  5. Puggg says:

    I always knew Muschany’s bill was insanity, because plans that involved keeping 40 opened would have been much more expensive and lasted a lot longer (as long as 16 years from start to finish, according to one estimate). I just chalked it up to his “showing off” to his constituents, whom we’re supposed to think are indignant over the closure. On closer examination, I think Steve is right — he’s doing it because the no-closure alternatives would be more expensive. He might well be linked to interests that directly benefit from road construction.

    Steve says:

    Muschany and his road building Republican buddies would probably like to have the project take much longer and cost hundreds of millions more.

    However, the cheaper, shorter plan was approved by a Republican Governor’s MODOT.

     
  6. “Like or not, trucks move the bulk of the goods in our economy. Take away freeways, you take away trucks.”
    And the problem with this is??? Freight belongs on the rail roads. Take away the interstates, and it gets moved back to where it belongs… And in the long run it will be CHEAPER, as heavy rail is the most cost-effective way, per ton to move freight.

     
  7. scooter says:

    Why didn’t they just rebuild the bridges and the 170 interchange? Can we get a big change order and just do the bridges and the 170 connection? Why was this “small project” version never seriously considered? They proved in the city (Tamm Bridge from Dogtown to the Zoo), that they could drop a bridge over a weekend, and get the highway reopened by Monday morning. We’re getting hosed on this unnecessary major rebuild. They should have just done the bridges and the 170 connection. Thanks MODOT!

    [SLP — Exactly.  This comes back to money again.  To get federal money they had to meet new standards which meant more clearance under the bridges.  To get more clearance in places you have to rebuilt the road bed and such.  I’m sure it is more complicated than this but remember these guys are in the road building business as that is transportation to them.]

     
  8. john says:

    The path of highway 40 is the virtual Main Street of StL. How we manage this valuable artery says so much about leadership and our priorities. Some of the most valuable assets of the StL region are served by this route and the New 64 provided a grand opportunity to correct previous mistakes and enhance the livability factor of the public assets like Forest Park, businesses, hospitals, and neighborhoods.
    – –
    Instead of doing it right, MoDOT with the help of compliant leaders, have already destroyed over 70 homes, apartments, torn down 100s of old growth trees, destroyed numerous neighborhood streets and walking paths. Instead of seeing large trees out of living room windows, many homes now see traffic, particularly large trucks, and hear them too. These environmental and design mistakes will burden future residents with an inefficient and unhealthy transportation system. The failure to incorporate auto alternatives such as mass transit and bike-pedestrian paths is a massive mistake. No wonder the Senior Planner of MoDOT’s B-P program was fired…her messages were too accurate and inconvenient.
    – –
    However 170,000 vehicles just don’t abruptly disappear and businesses along the construction areas have felt the drop in customers and revenues. Most neighbors in the area have responsibly adjusted their schedules and avoided the 9-5 trips.
    – –
    You’re definitely right about being unnecessary, and the opportunity to build a proper urban boulevard is being quickly destroyed. The auto/truck dependent culture of StL is burdening the region with air pollution, higher fuel consumption, traffic, noise, accidents, higher insurance, etc. so a few can be happy cruising their SUVs and pickups along a sterile and inhospitable freeway for many years to come. And don’t forget, this is being done so larger trucks can take a short cut through the heart of the region.

     
  9. Thor Randelphson says:

    Scooter,

    More than just the overpasses are crumbling and the poor 170 interchange are the issue. My understanding is that the underlying concrete road bed is in horrible shape and must be rebuilt. Given the need for both to be done, I do applaud MODOT for taking the difficult route and just closing the highway down in hopes of speeding the project.

    That said, little else about MODOT or our leaders can be applauded in reference to this project.

     
  10. progress says:

    So I called MODOT this morning to ask them why they didn’t just rebuild the bridges and the 170 interchange. They said they studied, and that that wasn’t an option. The main specific reason was that there needed to be longer exit and entrance ramps at the interchanges in order to meet federal design standards. So? Couldn’t they have accomplished in a similar, phased manner, one bridge/interchange at a time rather than shutting down major sections of the entire highway for two years and spending upwards of $500,000,000? Something still does not add up. Oh, and by the way, that guy that answers the phone at MODOT? Mike or something? He’s got a real condescending tone of voice when speaking to the public. “We studied and we know what we’re doing” is his standard reply. I guess they are getting tired of dealing with stupid questions from the public.

     
  11. scooter says:

    Thor,

    Extending your logic of worn out infrastructure needing replacement to the sewers and roads of the city of St. Louis and our core communities, it looks like we’re all screwed.

    They all are all much older than Highway 40. Should we be planning to tear out and rebuild Jefferson, Market, Hampton, Kingshighway, Arsenal, Page, Natural Bridge, Chippewa, Florissant, Broadway, Olive, Washington (oh, we did part of that one), etc?

    Furthermore, the same logic re. an old and worn out Highway 40 could be applied to Interstates 70, 55, and 44. The roadbeds there are just as old as Highway 40. Are there back room meetings going on at MODOT right now to close those next?

     
  12. john w. says:

    Apart from the obviousness of limited avenues to obtaining federal assistance in projects of this scale, imagine how broadly the Metro system could have been improved with even a fraction of the alotted funds directed to this white elephant. Please, please let this be the last of the gluttonous overspending on projects of this scope, and let the future hold the type of civic courage and vision to invest in what is truly needed.

     
  13. Puggg says:

    There’s an article over at the Post’s Political Fix Blog:

    http://www.stltoday.com/blogs/news-politicalfix/2008/01/passanise-launches-web-site-to-monitor-modot/

    Could it be possible that this Joe Passanise character has as many links to construction firms as Muschany? IIRC, Passanise himself is an engineer.

     
  14. Puggg says:

    John W:

    The cost for this Highway 40 project evidently isn’t as much as it cost Metro to build the newest leg of the Metro Link. Talk about white elephants.

     
  15. Scott says:

    It is a real shame there is no plan for a Metrolink line to run down the center of I-64 under the new plan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  16. toby says:

    Highway 40 shutdown is equal to Y2K meltdown: media hype for ratings and advertising dollars.

    St. Louis media is dogged, though. They are holding on to the 40 Shut Down Fallacy like a dog with a ham bone. Sadness all around.

     
  17. Jim Zavist says:

    Once you replace all the bridge structures and build the new interchange at 170, you’ve probably used up 75% of the budget – it makes more sense to redo everything at once than to have to come back in 5 years and repave over old pavement once again.
    .
    Much like the Y2K media hype around the closure, revisiting what shape the “new” 64 should or should not take at this time is a waste of time. The contract’s been signed, the work is happening and it’s gonna be built as curently planned. Better to focus on other corridors than to focus on what-ifs and if-onlys here that won’t happen in our lifetimes . . .

     
  18. Matt B says:

    ^ Plus 40/64 is itself a bridge over several major roads including:
    Lindbergh
    Brentwood
    McCausland
    Ballas

    Pretty difficult to knock it down and put it back-up over a weekend.

     
  19. Otto says:

    Steve wrote: “Our region’s adaption to the closed interstate highway proves one thing — the highway is not necessary!”

    This post and many of the comments are totally premature. We’re a week into the shutdown. Isn’t it possible that many people are just staying home instead of going places they might otherwise go to were it not for the shutdown? We have no idea yet of the extent of the economic impact. Let’s talk to some restaurant owners in the City six months from now. I hope this will not be like Hurricane Katrina, with the shutdown and the lack of traffic being the mild hurricane, and the depressed patronage of businesses being the devastating flood. I’m actually OK with the shutdown, but the talk of closing Highway 40 permanently is silly.

    [SLP — A complete shut down of the highway does not mean not using that corridor for transportation.  Our road network can handle our traffic but when you have an interstate everyone flocks to it, leaving other roads underused.]

     
  20. john w. says:

    Puggg:

    The Metrolink didn’t exist until the early 1990s, and to be truly reliable and successful it needs to serve the broadest base of population that it can. Unless the system is expanded, it cannot possibly achieve the reliability in service that will offset its construction cost, become profitable, and provide a more balanced range of options for metropolitan transit. Highway 64 did exist, and has existed for many decades. The theme of this discussion thread is focused on the apparent lack of real need to expand the highway as evidenced by the anti-climactic reaction of the suburban commuters following the shutdown. I personally believe the impact was intentionally overhyped by those involved and the media to instill a sense of relief and trust in the process, and prevent a tidal wave of nuisance lawsuits and otherwise unwanted interruptions. It’s a cleverly orchestrated diversion, I believe. It is not uncommon for governmental administrations to intentionally project [meager performance of the economy, for instance] to lower expectations of a populace, when a [much better performance, in the instance of the economy] is known to be the outcome by the administration, thereby conferring approval and trust to the administration by the populace. It is certainly possible that you and I have difference conceptions of what a white elephant is, but I can say that I don’t agree with your conception.

     
  21. scooter says:

    55, 70 and 44 are bridges too. How is Highway 40 different than the City sections of 44, 55, and 70? Is MoDOT telling us they all need to be replaced?

     
  22. LisaS says:

    I wonder if the real issues (for the City, and all that stuff at Brentwood) will appear when the other half of the shutdown occurs a year from now. While traffic to/from West County is more difficult, I have the impression that more City residents work/shop in Clayton/Richmond Heights/points north on 170 than West County, and inner-ring residents would naturally be more likely than those living further west to patronize City businesses because of proximity.

     
  23. Jim Zavist says:

    The bridges on 44, 55 and 70 are newer and in better condition – they’ll need to be replaced in 20-40 years, as well.
    .
    I think next year will actually be easier. Forest Park Parkway + 170 will be a pretty direct detour for the suburbanites, and there’s a much better grid system of surface streets giving us city folks multiple options, not just “Page, Olive, Ladue, Clayton or Manchester”.
    .
    Metrolink will never be “profitable”. If it were, the private sector would be building a lot more lines.
    .
    Yes, both transit and highways are subsidized by tax dollars. The trick here (and elsewhere) is to view public transit as a system (of both buses AND trains), and not just “Metrolink”. In the city, we have a fairly decent bus system, especially in areas where Metrolink ain’t. It may not be sexy, but once you figure it out, it may offer some intertesting options to driving alone.
    .
    The reality is traffic is like water – it finds the path of least resistance. We’ll survive this year and we’ll survive next year, and in 2010, we’ll all be back to using the new I-64.

     
  24. Nick Kasoff says:

    > Yes, both transit and highways are subsidized by tax dollars.
    .
    Sorry, Mr. Zavist, but this is just wrong. Highways are indeed paid for by tax dollars, but the bulk of highway construction is paid for with federal and state gasoline taxes, which are paid by the very people who are using the highways. Transit, on the other hand, is mostly paid for by a combination of local sales taxes, and money diverted from the federal gasoline tax for transit use.
    .
    I am very much in favor of some degree of subsidy for transit in those parts of a metropolitan area which can be efficiently served. Basically, we’re talking the city, and some inner-ring suburbs. Extending transit any further than this is a great way to piss away billions of dollars, while providing service to hardly anyone. And don’t anyone bother bringing up Chicago or New York, because St. Louis is not Chicago or New York.

     
  25. old man says:

    Jim, the issue raised was the condition of the concrete under Highway 40 being bad and needing replacement. Why would it be any worse than 55/70/44? They’re all about the same age. 70 probably carries way more traffic. Yeah, the 40 bridges are old. So are some across 70 and 55. Remember, it was the Delor bridge that failed above Interstate 55 in the city. Why is 40 so special? Hmmmm….north and south get Metrolink, while west gets 40 rebuilt…is that the calculus here?

     
  26. john w. says:

    Nick,

    I think the inner-ring suburbs as the urban service overlay is exactly the extent that the Metrolink should limit itself to. While the system may not technically be profitable, the cost-to-value equivalence is what would keep a system running. Correctly, Metro nor anyone else is depositing payday checks from ridership fare, the system obviously would not be running for long in deficit. Demographically speaking, I think limiting the extent of the system to the inner-ring suburbs is understanding the market to be tapped. There is a much larger interest and sympathy for urban issues and urban amenitities among those who reside in the older, inner-ring suburbs than those who reside further west or south in the metro area. I don’t know that bringing Chicago or NY is out of order, if you consider that the service are you describe in St. Louis (extending to the older, inner-ring suburbs) is similar enough to these cities (or at least Chicago). With exception to O’hare Airport or Midway airports (which aren’t very far out anyway), I don’t know that the subway or EL extends out to places like Arlington Heights or Bollingbrook. The system is effectively limited to the older, inner-ring suburbs and the city core. Obviously St. Louis won’t ever have as extensive or diverse a transit system as Chicago or NY, nor should it, but expecting our transit system to serve those who it should serve like it does in Chicago or NY is not out of order.

     
  27. bprop says:

    Nick said:

    -Sorry, Mr. Zavist, but this is just wrong. Highways are indeed paid for by tax dollars, but the bulk of highway construction is paid for with federal and state gasoline taxes, which are paid by the very people who are using the highways. Transit, on the other hand, is mostly paid for by a combination of local sales taxes, and money diverted from the federal gasoline tax for transit use.

    Sorry Nick, you’re wrong. The federal interstate highway system is the least subsidized set of roads in the country, and only about 55% of its budget is paid for by user fees, including gasoline taxes and tolls. These are the statistics according to the USDOT. Other highway systems, including the state, county, and local systems, are subsidized even more; there is personal property tax but there are no “local” gasoline taxes. So the “diversion” of approximately 18% of the gas tax results in quite a good deal for the roadbuilders — over 500% return in the form of direct subsidy, not to mention the indirect costs such as law enforcement, pollution, and so forth not paid for by gas taxes.

    If an equivalent amount (not percentage, but amount) of money went toward transit as it did to subsidizing personal automobility, it would make little economic sense for most people to use cars most of the time.

    Or, how about this — make gas taxes at every level – federal, state, county, and local – cover the entire cost of building and maintaining the roads and their indirect costs. You’d be paying several dollars in taxesper gallon vs. the 50 or so cents that you do now. Yes, things like food that require transportation would increase. But the taxes would be directly incorporated into the product, rather than taken back-door from income or raised in the form of property taxes. This would also drive innovation and efficiency; transportation companies would choose the most efficient form of transportation if they finally bear the entire cost of their actions.

    At the same time, remove all subsidy from mass transit as well. Either way, it will be apparent that personal mobility is subsidized by mass government handout far more than transit, and we’d have true options to get from point A to point B, not one option as dictated by roadbuilders and the politicians in their pockets

     
  28. Nick Kasoff says:

    John W., if you apply for the position of executive director of Metro, you’ve got my vote! Sadly, Metro, and the dimwitted Mr. Dooley, seem to feel that spending a few billion more on Metrolink expansion is the way to secure the economic future of the St. Louis region, brining us into the 21st century, blah, blah, blah …
    .
    What makes it a little confusing when you compare it to Chicago is that in Chicago, they have both the CTA and Metra. While Metra doesn’t provide street-level transit, or even a link to comprehensive transit systems at every stop, it does provide commuter rail service that extends all the way from Indiana to Wisconsin.
    .
    Unfortunately, even Metra level service isn’t feasible for St. Louis. Success of a system like Metra depends upon (1) A large, successful downtown business district; (2) Sufficiently dense communities along the rail line; (3) Long commutes; (4) Expensive downtown parking. St. Louis meets none of these criteria – our downtown, even if it was fully occupied, isn’t big enough; With the exception of a few “railway suburbs” like Ferguson and Kirkwood, density and walkability is completely absent in our suburbs; Even without highway 40, our commutes are very short; We have ample, very cheap downtown parking.

     
  29. John W. says:

    We have ample and cheap downtown parking because there is little downtown activity and occupancy as yet to create the scarcity that would make the cost of downtown parking largely prohibitive, but to see this condition as all that it will ever be is assuming failure. If we don’t care to start building or at least providing and planning for the infrastructure of a more balanced and sustainable urban future of St. Louis then why even post in a blog such as this? I’m not comparing St. Louis to Chicago or NY so much as I am simply saying that most will refer to cities like these when talking about public transit networks. They will refer to these examples because these cities are well-served by their systems, which is not to say that St. Louis needs a system near the expanse or diversity of those systems. The CTA, as you point out, does include the more intercity type suburban trains that will likely never happen here. The suburban trains in Chicago (double-deck trains) serve the larger region, and this is part of the total transit network in the city, allowing commuters to travel to the business center while living in much smaller, historic suburbs from the earlier 1900s. This does differ from St. Louis, as you point out, but I could see an express train extending out to Chesterfield Valley, and running along HWY 40 from town. I don’t believe MODOT wants anything to do with sharing its rights-of-way with another entity, unfortunately.

     
  30. Jim Zavist says:

    Taxes, to the extent they can be “moved around”, are “fungible”. School taxes are pretty much limited to funding schols. Gas taxes (as well as sales and property taxes, to varying degrees), for better or worse, are now used to fund both highways and transit. And as with everything tax-related, funding something “I” use is “good”, while funding something “I” don’t use is “a waste”. The current model for funding public transit across the country relies on spending more in urban areas than urban areas generate in gas taxes, while spending more on highways in rural areas than rural areas generate in gas taxes. That leaves the ever-expanding suburbs, where much of the tax revenue is generated, receiving a mix of inadequate transit and more lanes, more traffic lights and more traffic enforcement, inefficiently provided by governments trying to keep up with an ever-increasing demand for more highway capacity.
    .
    Taxes ARE all about redistributing wealth. If we each could afford to personally pay for what we each “need” and “use”, there would be no need for subsidized public transit, “free” streets and highways, “free” fire and police protection, “free” libraries or “free” schools. We could have a true libertarian nation, pay very little in taxes (to support a standing, but much-smaller, military) and pay for everything else as we go. Want to have a new bridge over the Mississippi? Make it a toll bridge. Want your trash picked up? Hire a trash company. Want your home protected from “those people”? Buy a gun (and never leave) and/or hire a private security service. Want to have a transit system? Expect to pay $5, $10 or $15 (or more) for each trip (see “taxi”).
    .
    The reality is much different. We elect politicians at multiple levels to decide, either directly or through appointments to boards, how to spend the tax money they collect/we “give” them. As a nation and a community, we have decided to fund (poorly) both public streets and public transit. We have four options. One, we can live, more or less, with the status quo, and continue to fund both. Two, we can spend less on one and more on the other. Three, we can spend less on both. Or four, we can spend more on one or both by either raising taxes and/or by shifting/stealing taxes from another (or multiple other) program(s)/tax souce(s). (I won’t get into the Bush model of mortgaging our kids’ future through massive borrowing or selling off public assets.)
    .
    Bottom line, if you don’t like how your taxes are being allocated and spent, you need to talk to and convince your elected officials of the wisdom of your viewpoint. Don’t like the fact that we’re rebuilding 40? MoDOT doesn’t care, but the politicians in the statehouse might – they allegedly represent you and your interests. Don’t think the County should spend more on Metro? Don’t vote a tax increase to increase funding. The new I-64 is happening simply because enough voters either made it a priority or didn’t object to it happening. In contrast I-170 ends at 40/64 because enough voters said “No!” Democracy 101.

     
  31. Jim Zavist says:

    PS – from today’s Post-Dispatch:
    .
    State roads, local funds?
    By Tim Bryant
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    01/12/2008
    .
    ST. PETERS — Whether they want to or not, local governments are facing the choice of helping pay for cherished state highway projects or watching them languish . . . The state just doesn’t have the resources to get everything done” . . . .

    [SLP —- Exactly.  Of course, if we had gas taxes closer to that of our surrounding states, we could do more.]

     
  32. Jim Zavist says:

    Asphalt on freeways is good for 4-5 years in urban areas, concrete is good for 8-10 years before it needs to be overlaid with asphalt – “You can pay me now or pay me later.” The fundamental question that scooter and progress are asking is how to best allocate resources? Does it make more sense to do the bare minimum everywhere (continue to patch problems), or does it make more sense to prioritize (get in, do it right, and not have to do or spend much more for ten, twenty or thirty years)? Both answers have positives and negatives, and neither one is totally right or wrong – it depends on specific situations and circumstances (and one’s perspectives).

     
  33. John W. says:

    My vote, when solicited, will unequivocally be in support of directing tax generated revenue toward metro, because I believe a diversity of transit opportunities that serves broadly alleviates pressure on the heavily singular transit means that we currently rely on, which is privately owned autos. While we are obviously still very much within the autocentric paradigm, and need to invest what’s necessary to keep at least our current roads and highways safe, no one could convincingly argue that having complementary means of transit that is broad in reach, safe, affordable and reliable would not result in less frequent and costly maintenance to the current, heavily singular means. I don’t believe those in the county will much be in favor of a tax increase to either fund current operating levels of, or plans of expansion to metro, and this is a direct reflection of their political leanings and values. This means that those who believe it’s in the best interest of our metropolitan region to have an expanded metro, like myself, will have to find ways to convince others that it is in the best metropolitan interest.

     
  34. stannate says:

    What I’ve never understood is the reasoning behind the original design of the I-170/I-64 interchange. I know that NIMBYism cancelled any further extension of 170 towards I-44 or even I-55, but even without an extension of that interstate, what was the logic (or lack thereof) in making a full exchange for westbound I-64, but making the eastbound I-64 traffic exit onto surface streets to get onto I-170?
    .
    My guess is that there will be more OMGWTFBBQ complaints when baseball season starts up, and those fans west of I-170 complain about the longer times it takes them to get to the ballpark. Metrolink would do well to increase advertising their services, though what will probably happen will be the western fans will engage in the other favorite sport of complaining about their commute, yet not changing it for any other alternatives.

     
  35. a.torch says:

    RE: above comment about IL-Metra train: I can’t remember the details of the long involved fiasco and the powers-that-be, that killed the high-speed train proposed from KC to STL and eventually to hook into CHI-Metra, but it is an idea worth looking at again. If a high-speed train ran from KC to Columbia to STL and stops at whatever the western-most Metrolink stop would be in the future, running alongside I-64, I think it is a viable and future cost effective solution. This would have the same principle of the Metra in the Chi-burbs; in 5 to 8 years there will not be alot of difference between a commuter train (coming in from Columbia where at times it would be high-speed) stopping in Warrenton, Wentzville, O’Fallon, etc then it is now in IL as Metra goes from Indiana border to Aurora, Naperville, to Bollingbrook, etc. etc. You plan for the future NOW.

     
  36. john w. says:

    You got it, a.torch, you got it.

     
  37. john says:

    Its been thirteen months now since they closed the highway. And to most it seems an non issue. The residents to the west of Hanley excited about the reopening of the highway. The residents to the east of Hanley finding their way around with out it. But to the small business owners in clayton they might as well built a mote around us with out a bridge. Business are failing due to the double wammy of the highway and the economy. Maybe its not just the highways fault but the lack of concern for local businesss is nothing short of crappy. If Mr Big was trying to buy the block up I would have tree huggers outside my business all over the place. But a highway closed down just doesnt seem like a good cause to have a fundraiser. Well hear this and think about it long and hard after nine and half years of business in the last 11 months I have lost over 300,000.00 in business, I didnt think the highway was going to cost me personally that much. So what do I do sell my house ?, wish I could but the economy has hurt the real estate market so much that I would probably have to take money to closing. So I am going to seek a lawyers advice and go bankrupt and start over at 47. Not exactly where I wanted to be but hey have fun on your new highway, I dont even have enough money left to buy gas to drive my falling apart 98 nissan on it.

     

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