Sasaki Associates has been working with the City of Clayton, recently, to update and revise their central business district master plan. Among the many recommendations made in the draft report released last month are improvements to pedestrian space in downtown Clayton via the addition of plazas and the narrowing of many streets.
For the North Central portion of downtown Clayton, the first guiding principle is to
decrease auto-domination and enhance
pedestrian scale on key pedestrian streets. Following that guiding principle, one of the best recommendations made in the report is the narrowing of Central Ave between Forsyth and Maryland. The report proposes that Central Ave should be converted from 4 to 2 lanes plus parking. The extra width would allow for significantly wider sidewalks that could accommodate outdoor dining where there currently is little to none at all. Similar narrowing would likely be done on Meramec Ave, as well.
In addition to Central Ave and Meramec Ave, Forsyth Blvd has also been proposed to be narrowed from 4 to 3 lanes between Brentwood Blvd and Bemiston Ave. A new plaza would, also, be created in front of in front of the County Police Department building as a kind of civic gathering place.
One of the few disappointments with the revisions to the master plan are that some of the recommendations don’t go far enough. South of Forsyth Blvd, for example, Meramec Ave is a ridiculous 5 lanes wide and screams for a road diet treatment. There is no reason roads should be designed to accommodate a one-hour rush while laying dormant/dead the rest of the day. The same goes for Central Ave. And Forsyth Blvd should be narrowed from Maryland Ave all the way to Forest Park Pkwy. The only roads in downtown Clayton that truly warrant 4 and 5 lane widths are Brentwood, Hanley, and Maryland.
Overall, there are many great ideas for downtown Clayton contained in the draft revisions to the downtown master plan that I have not discussed here. Go take a look and read for yourself.