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New Tucker Blvd Streetscape Needs to be Continued From Washington Avenue to Spruce Street

August 20, 2013 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Transportation 10 Comments

The project to redo Tucker Blvd from Cass Ave to Washington Ave is nearly complete. The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will be open in early 2014, bringing many into downtown along the rebuilt Tucker Blvd, but the rebuild stops at Washington Ave, because that’s where the old passenger rail tunnel stopped.

Looking west across Tucker from the NE corner at Olive. Too wide, no directional ramp.
Looking west across Tucker from the NE corner at Olive. Too wide, no directional ramp.

The public right-of-way (PROW) north of Washington Ave is a generous 80 feet wide, the new streetscape is fresh looking, with 2 lanes in each direction plus parking protected by curb bulbs. The half mile from Washington Ave south to Spruce St the width nearly doubles to a massive 150 feet. It has too many lanes — seven total travel lanes, a center turn lane, plus two parking lanes. See map.

Pedestrians crossing Tucker against traffic at Washington
Pedestrians crossing Tucker on the south side of Washington Ave, the wide side

This half mile stretch of Tucker Blvd looks dated and functionally it’s awful as a motorist and as a pedestrian.

SLU at least did directional ramps in front of their new law school building, but the crossing distances are excessive. Bulbs at the ends of the parking lanes will reduce crossing widths.
SLU at least did directional ramps in front of their new law school building, but the crossing distances are excessive. Bulbs at the ends of the parking lanes would reduce crossing widths.
Example of curb bulb behind a parking lane, Tucker & MLK in front of the Post-Dispatch
Example of curb bulb behind a parking lane, Tucker & MLK in front of the Post-Dispatch

Plus in a busy central business district the minimum width ADA ramp is way too narrow for all the pedestrians, strollers, wheelchairs, & [mobility] scooters. Just north of Market St the future Gateway Mall “hallway”, the wide sidewalk planned to connect the mall from Broadway to 20th can be planned for.

The Gateway Mall master plan calls for this "hallway" to run from Broadway to 20th
The Gateway Mall master plan calls for this “hallway” to run from Broadway to 20th, only two blocks exist currently, in Citygarden shown here
Looking south across Clark St toward the soon to be former police headquarters on the west side of Tucker.
Looking south across Clark St toward the soon to be former police headquarters on the west side of Tucker.

Of course, many other streets throughout the city also need a road diet. I know, there’s no money for any of them. We need to figure out which ones need a diet and what we’d like to do. Then work to fund them.

Funding rarely comes first…

— Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    Scooters, like bicycles, should not be ridden on the sidewalk. They belong in the street, like other vehicles.

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      I just added [mobility] before scooters to clarify what I meant.

  • Eric

    No need to decrease the number of travel lanes on Tucker. Just add bulbs, and extend the center island so pedestrians can use it as a refuge.

    Isn’t Tucker exactly the kind of urban boulevard we want instead of freeways?

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      More lanes isn’t necessarily better. The new Tucker north of Washington Ave will handle much more volume with 4 total lanes.

      • Eric

        Is that really true? Even if it is, north of Washington the crossing streets are low-traffic and fewer left turns are needed, so the volume per lane can be higher. That’s not the case south of Washington.

  • Wump

    it should be extended to lafayette

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      The viaduct over the railroad tracks is a logical breaking point.

      • Wump

        the viaduct needs to be made more ped friendly, it shouldn’t be such a chore to walk downtown from LaSalle, Soulard, The PJ’s (though there is a nice walkway down Tucker there), and Laf Sq.

        • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

          Agreed!

  • moe

    Interesting that SLU’s sidewalk ramp is at the intersection. How is this going to help their students? Are there no handicap law students? When they and the abled are dropped off, is the bus going to be blocking the intersection? I would have thought they would put another ramp at their drop off point.

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