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Riverport Area Should Be Walkable (Updated)

For the first time in my 19 years in St. Louis, I went to the suburban Riverport area last weekend (map) .  I went to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (formerly known as the Riverport Amphitheater) for Farm Aid.

But this post is about the amphitheater (bottom above) as it is about the entire area along the loop road known as Riverport Drive.  This compact area contains offices, hotels and restaurants – all within easy walking distance of each other.  Sure, nobody is going to walk to Riverport but people should be able to walk within Riverport.

The #34 bus stops at Riverport Drive.  Then what?  Walk in the street to get to your destination?  Are sidewalks and a pedestrian network just too much to ask?

The area includes several hotels.  I know I’ve had long days before driving in a car for hours and after checking into a hotel the last thing I want to do is have to get back in the car to drive to dinner.  Walking should be an option in addition to driving.  As designed, the only option is driving.

I’m not asking for a recreation of a downtown, just tie it all together with sidewalks.

Update 10/9/09 @ 10am:

I looked up the directions to get to Riverport from my place downtown.  It is very easy but it is that last bit that makes it unpleasant.

I love the caution about missing sidewalks.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jeff says:

    A walking/bike path seems like a great addition for people that work there.

  2. john says:

    Still railing against your home town? Most of the youth (those under 40) in the Lou region don’t favor more sidewalks and don’t believe that cycling commuting should be taken seriously. They do favor and ask for more and larger FREE parking lots and bigger highways. Many of these inexperienced minds are now the third generation who have lived outside of 270.
    – –
    By the way, Creve Coeur in conjunction with BJC (just west of 270) is having a Safety Fair this weekend. The top highlights according to their mailing are:
    * Flu Shots
    *ARCH helicopter landing
    *Drug Dog Demonstration
    *Simulated Vehicle Crash & Rescue
    *TASER Demonstration
    *Flipping & Recovery of a Semi-Trailer Truck
    *DWI Simulation

    You see Steve you chose to reside in a culture that is definitely auto dependent to an extreme. Once that road is chosen, only Peak Oil can change it. Driving is seen as the ONLY option.

  3. Brian S. says:

    I was at Riverport for the Lewis & Clark Marathon a few weeks ago, and as I drove down Riverport Drive to the starting point, all I could think was, “This seems like a completely miserable place to work.” That area works well for warehouses and distribution centers, but I can’t see why any office tenant would want to locate there.

  4. Daniel says:

    I will throw in that I can recall hearing stories of late night concert-goers attempting to walk around the area (and along Riverport Drive) and tripping over guard rails, getting lost amid the setback buildings and the grassy medians, and generally not being able to see much. This area is hell for pedestrians.

  5. I worked in Earth City. It is miserable.

    I have never and will never see a concert at Riverport.

  6. Eric says:

    I work within the Riverport complex, and for lunch one day, I thought that it would be a swell idea to walk from my office to the Burger King that by all reasonable expectation should be a short walk away. My options were to either walk through traffic or walk through a field of tall grass. I opted for the latter, and as a result, I spent the next 20-plus minutes in the bathroom at the adjoining gas station trying to wash the thick layer of mud off of dress shoes and dress pants, then got a cheeseburger and dodged traffic on my walk back. Any employees taking the bus to work would pretty much be dealing with this daily.

    It is bordering on comical how poorly the complex is designed in terms of pedestrians, and given how many people I see wandering around on the nights of concerts, there’s clearly a need for it. It wouldn’t really be my cup of tea, but it’s ridiculous that there does not seem to be any easy walking path between the hotel, the Dave & Buster’s, and the amphitheater. I can’t say that I recall ever seeing a single sidewalk in the entire complex outside of the direct entrances to the buildings themselves.

    “Still railing against your home town? Most of the youth (those under 40) in the Lou region don’t favor more sidewalks and don’t believe that cycling commuting should be taken seriously. They do favor and ask for more and larger FREE parking lots and bigger highways. Many of these inexperienced minds are now the third generation who have lived outside of 270.”

    Maybe it’s just the well-inside-of-270 company that I keep, but I’m in my mid-20s, and virtually everyone I know of my age is drawn significantly to walkable communities, bike paths, and public transportation over car-required environments. My question is, are the under-40s in the county that you refer to actually *requesting* these things for their communities, or are they just receiving them by default by not being pro-active enough to get involved in local politics or leave for another part of town?

  7. john says:

    Often by a combination of default and simply inexperienced. They do request that the areas they want to visit (zoo, bike paths, entertainment destinations, etc.) require more free parking since motorized vehicles are their ONLY transportation choice.

    It’s hard for a family member to breakaway from family habits… visited such a case yesterday while cycling. He moved from St Chuck to south city as he recognized the advantages of such choices. Now he and his wife are happy to have a neighborhood restaurant in a short walking distance… a new experience.

  8. Jazzy Jeff says:

    I work in Earthy City (Near Ram’s Park area) and when I can’t bicycle to work I take the bus or get a ride from my spouse. I find it to be a very car centered “hell hole” for those who don’t have or cannot afford a car. I don’t see much in the way of change (been living in St. Louis my whole life – 35 yrs now). I got the representative for Bridgeton’s card but have yet to really have the time to write them. Plus I like to spend time on trying to actually make my own local community better (North County Area / Calverton Park – Ferguson). Seems to me like it would take an organization like Trailnet or St. Louis Bicycle Federation to make some headway. There is a sign near Earth City Expressway and St. Charles Rock for a small greenway (park) section (not sure if it connects to anything (yet)? Where I ride the roads are fairly new. I ride a one narrow section that takes me to the Rock Road and then I get to Natural Bridge. I ride some back roads near the new airport expansion area. It is a fairly low car trafficked area with some nature (Red Tailed Hawks). I enjoy it and actually see other cyclists using the same route throughout the year. I do think that if a “complete streets” law finally passes these types of developments can be “retrofitted” with sidewalks and perhaps lower speed limits and signs for cyclists. Bike lanes are nice but not always possible since new “ROW” would have to be purchased. Glad there are others who think that Earth City needs improving!

  9. Kim says:

    I’m not sure how much hope there is for sidewalks within Riverport, despite how desperately they are needed. I think all the tenants in the area would need to do a coordinated letter-writing campaign to whomever owns the development (if it’s even still one management company??). Maryland Heights is slowly building sidewalks and trails that should connect the rest of the area though. They have been fixing/adding/extending sidewalks for about the last 10 years. Sometime this year, into 2010, there should be a finished sidewalk along the entire length of Dorsett Rd. to the entrance of Creve Coeur Park and then there is supposed to be a new pathway (somehow) to get safely from the top of the park to the lake level. They are also working with GRG to start design work on a trail that will start at Aquaport and connect to Creve Coeur Park. It should go down around Prichard Farm/Deer Park and that general area. Eventually it’s supposed to all hookup with the section that “Jazzy Jeff” mentioned and a few other sections planned for future development. It’s a big step for us here in suburbia, you wouldn’ t believe the opposition to sidewalks!!! The wheels grind slow, but we’ll get there.


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