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Sunday Poll: What Is Your Opinion Of The South Grand ‘Great Streets’ Road Diet?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Today’s poll topic comes as a result of a recent discussion with a friend on Facebook over South Grand’s streetscape project. I’ve heard differing views from others as well, so it seemed like a great poll topic.

The exact question is:  “Now that it has been in place a few years, what is your opinion of the South Grand ‘Great Streets’ road diet:”

The poll, open until 8pm, is at the top of the right sidebar. The answers are provided in random order.

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "25 comments" on this Article:

  1. guest says:

    My opinion of the S. Grand Great Streets Road Diet? That MODOT and the City of St. Louis Streets Department should take a queue about the importance of engaged communities when it comes to planning road improvements. We could use similar engagement around the future of streets like Gravois, Jefferson, Natural Bridge, and even Hampton Avenue. In their current configurations, these streets are generally not amenities for their neighborhoods, but rather traffic sewers built for much higher than needed capacity. Time to think about how other main roads in St. Louis neighborhoods can become connecting corridors rather than expeditious routes in and out of the city for cars. This is an issue around which city-centric leaders can build a movement.

     
    • JZ71 says:

      And you never, ever, leave “your” neighborhood and venture thru / trespass thru other neighborhoods?! You’re right, transportation, of all types, impacts neighborhoods, but as long as we remain a mobile society, commuting to jobs in other neighborhoods, receiving deliveries via UPS and FedEx (of our online purchases), shopping at both small, local stores and big box stores, and going to concerts, sporting events and local festivals, throughout the area, your travels, just like mine and everyone else’s, are going to impact many other people, negatively, every day. It’s called a trade-off. You put up with the negatives to enjoy the positives. Traffic is not going to disappear just because you make travel more difficult on one corridor, it’s going to shift to other corridors, negatively impacting THOSE people – your “win”, their “loss”!

       
      • guest says:

        We have a grid system to distribute traffic throughout the grid, not concentrate it into traffic sewers. Many of our streets are designed with far excess capacity for cars, encouraging speeding, making for a traffic sewer that negatively impacts neighborhoods and commercial districts. How does putting those streets on a road diet cause a problem?

         
        • JZ71 says:

          Macro versus micro – I’m old enough to remember a time before freeways, and congestion was a lot worse. You may not care about getting from point A to point B quickly and efficiently, but most people do. And as for your characterization of Gravois as a “traffic sewer”, remember that Gravois predates any of the cross streets / urban grid that was imposed on the area in the late 19th century and the first part of the 20th century. It’s been the primary traffic corridor, for many neighborhoods, for many, many decades. Expecting to significantly diminish its importance in the regional transportation scheme is simply wishful thinking / NIMBY at its finest!

           
          • guest says:

            JZ, look how close the buildings are along Gravois. Know why that is? Road widening after road widening. Don’t you think it’s time to narrow it again? Going from a city of 840,000 to one of the 310,000 means we no longer need the same road capacity. Nothing NIMBY about presenting data.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            I have no issue with losing the third (or fourth) through lane, in either direction, on Gravois, closer to downtown, especially if turn lanes are added. However, west of Grand / south of Potomac, there really is no “excess width” to be messed with; if anything, in many spots, the road is already too narrow.

             
          • tbatts666 says:

            In my opinion safety is more important than speed.

            I have been hit by a car on gravois, and had way too many close calls. So it is important to me. My life is important to me.

            So whatever we can do to slow traffic, and improve pedestrian safety is good in my book. Maybe some other people prioritize speed over safety, but whatever.

             
          • John R says:

            It is plain as day that speed kills… kills not only humans but also commerce.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            If “speed kills”, let’s do like NYC and just lower the speed limit, citywide to 25 mph on EVERY street! http://www.nyc.gov/html/visionzero/pdf/library/25-MPH-FAQ.pdf . Or, better yet, how about going a step further, down to 20 mph? Or even 15 mph? You know that you can never be too safe!

             
          • John R says:

            I’d love to have 25 mph on every street…. makes a big difference with safety and builds communities.

             
          • guest says:

            Actually, I think 18 mph would be ideal on neighborhood streets. Generally speaking, no house in the city is more than 2 blocks from a major connector street/snow route. On those, make the limit 25; and then max out on the major arterials to 35 mph. Everybody wins. Setting the neighborhood limit gets the point across – 25 is too high, just under 20 is perfect. This is especially true on the narrowest of one-way streets. And to keep speeds at 18 for a distance of 2 blocks once you’re inside a neighborhood is no skin off anyone’s back and is an instant way to improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents: quieter streets/traffic, safer for pedestrians, cars, etc.

             
          • John R says:

            35 mph is too fast for city arterials. Dropping from 35 to 30 would be a step in the right direction but getting down to 25 yields significant safety gains and still keeps things moving. Also, as far as Gravois goes, MODOT says the project will slow down speeds, but I think design changes are intended to match up the posted 35 mph speed limit with actual driving speeds.

             
          • John R says:

            … rather than changing the posted speed limit.

             
          • The design speed of our arteries is very high, 50+. The design speed must be reduced to lower speeds.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            You’re right, most drivers (the 95th percentile) drive at a comfortable speed (that they perceive to be “safe”), unless they know they’re in a known speed trap and/or see marked police vehicles. Changing the design will impact speeds, either up or down, way more than changing any posted speed limit. But the real question is what is “safe” or “too fast”? Any movement has a potential for collisions, and any limit trades off the reality that there will always be a relatively small number of collisions, injuries and, unfortunately, deaths. Life is full of risks, and none of us is going to get out of here alive. Unfortunately, much like politics, everyone has an opinion, and we leave it up to the government to balance the conflicting priorities of all citizens.

             
          • John R says:

            Science says 25 mph collisions are much safer for pedestrians than 30 mph ones… and I believe they are better for commercial districts as well. I wouldn’t mind if we had had a limited access parkway like Forest Park Parkway going North/South (especially if it had a Metrolink along the corridor!) but doing what we can to make our arterials more like S. Grand than higher-speed throughfares is important to building stronger, safer Saint Louis communities. ,

             
          • John R says:

            Right,,, I think the design changes are intended more for the present 35 mph as opposed to something less. Still a bit confused on whether they want to have painted bike lanes like those on Arsenal, etc.

             
          • dick says:

            Try cherokee st

             
    • John R says:

      The decision to delay the Gravois work is a perfect opportunity to introduce a Great Streets, community-oriented process.

       
  2. Cheryl Hammond says:

    Steve,
    I’m interested in your opinion of the road diet which just took place on Union starting at Lindell. I’m not sure if it is a work in progress or finished. I think Union at this location was way too wide, but the solution is nothing like S. Grand.

     
  3. Daniel Layton says:

    I have mixed feelings. On the one hand it is definitely safer for pedestrians since car speeds are lower. On the other hand, the crosswalks are a mess. It’s very difficult to cross the street conveniently. You either end up waiting at an intersection with a light with what have to be nothing more than “placebo buttons” that do nothing to change the light in favor of a pedestrian, or you wait at an intersection without a light forever, and ultimately end up walking 200 feet down so you can wait for the light to change. Compared to similar pedestrian heavy districts in non-suburbanized cities, South Grand still heavily favors cars over people.

    It’s also arguably less safe for cyclists than it was before since there is no way for a car to safely pass, leading cars to drive dangerously close to cyclists in my experience.

     
    • KevinB says:

      Posted this in urbanstl already under their Grand South Grand topic, so I’ll give the short of it: came back to STL for the weekend with my fiance (with whom I live in Chicago) and, as always, tried to expose her to STL so she’ll eventually agree to a move here. Of all the places we went and things we did, Grand at Juniata had the best effect on that Chicago girl. Took the Grand bus down from midtown, went to Rooster, had a 45 minutes wait (which was a positive!), saw people walking dogs and strollers, theater in the park, etc.

      If more of the City were like THAT, I could probably start looking for houses back in STL right now.

       
    • tbatts666 says:

      Right!

      The road diet on south grand probably saved my butt in a bike crash though. I was biking to gelateria and A parked car pulled out and tossed me into the turning lane. Luckily the approaching cars were able to stop. If traveling speeds were faster I may have not made it out alive. So I might owe my life to this road diet.

      That being said the design is still mostly auto oriented. They need to narrow up the lanes more. Convert all the intersections to traffic circles. Put in curb bulb outs for pedestrians and eliminate the turning lane. Charge market price for curb parking. And maybe get some separated bike infrastructure. Convert south grand to slow, but continuous moving, flow.

      In the meantime they should at least prosecute people who don’t yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.

      Bikers on south grand should practice lane control. Just ride where the sharrows are.

       
    • dick says:

      Compared to what? South grand is,very pedestrian friendly, much better than before, your comparison of South grand to some invented idea in your head of some mythical city isnt helpful. Do something, quick bitching

       
  4. John R says:

    Hands down a success…. the level of commercial occupancy and overall vitality that exists now is perhaps at its highest point since its streetcar hey day of yesteryear and I think a fair amount of the recent growth can be traced back to the Great Streets project; the slower auto speeds and larger sidewalks/improved walkability I think in particular have been helpful and the addition of Ritz Park has also been a nice amenity. Hopefully we’ll see some quality infill before long along Grand South Grand. The landscaping has been decent and advances sustainability but I hope that some appropriate, durable street trees can be added to bring a bit of greenery and shade.

    Moving forward, my recommendations would be to continue the Great Streets treatment all the way down to Gravois/Chippewa. (North of Grand South Grand needs consideration as well but the landscaped median presents unique challenges/opportunities.) In addition, Metro needs to continue to make improvements to the 70 line with the goal of making it more BRT-like, including taking a look at signal prioritization and a 70 Express that would make limited stops and have quality stops, perhaps even with pre-boarding.

     

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