Much has been made about plans for the Arch grounds lately. Mayor Slay, Senator Danforth, the National Parks Service and even college students have all weighed in with their ideas.
First of all, any plans for the Arch grounds basically ignore the real issues that downtown faces right now. It's just another in a long line of "silver bullets" that are intended to "save downtown."
Downtown needs to:
1) Attract and retain businesses
2) Attract and retain residents
Pumping money into the Arch grounds will not address either of these issues.
So, if it is determined that something absolutely must be done, my solution is simple, albeit pricey:
- Eliminate the downtown section Highway 70 from, say Poplar to Cass.
- Fill in the "depressed section," which will free up a little extra land for development.
- Tear down the elevated section of highway that severs Laclede's Landing from the rest of downtown. Re-establish the street grid.
- Create an at-grade parkway on the current site of Memorial Drive with traffic calming measures and safe, accessible pedestrian crossings.
To me, anything else really doesn't truly address the connectivity problems that Highway 70 poses.