Biking is relatively easy across most of the City of St. Louis. The street grid makes it easy to get around and easy to find a street with light vehicular traffic… most of the time. Other times, biking within the city can a frustrating affair when one comes upon one of the 262 points where the street grid has been severed.
Many of the 262 street closures within the City of St. Louis were done with the benign purpose of reducing vehicular traffic on residential streets. Many of them, also, had a not so hidden subtext to shield wealthy neighborhoods from nearby crime and urban decay.
Street closures within the city are generally set in three common variations. The most elaborate street closures include small gardens and decorative fencing within the former street space. Slightly simpler, some closures simply convert the streets into two large bulbs separated by five feet of grass and concrete. The most basic street closures are performed by simply placing a series of large concrete planters, often made out of ugly concrete sewer pipes, within the street right-of-way.
Of the three common variations of street closures, only the ones with concrete planters generally allow cyclists to go through without using the sidewalk. The other types of closures almost always lack any sort of cut-through passageway for bikers or even a ramp to access the sidewalk. If ramps are found, they are often crudely built, such as the one pictured on the left.
Anyways, to avoid rambling any further, most streets within the City of St. Louis have been closed for one of two reasons: to reduce or hinder vehicular traffic or to ward off crime. These barriers, however, were not erected to keep bicyclists off of neighborhood streets, though that is their effect. Bicyclists will not harm the quality of life these street barriers were erected to protect. Also, bicyclists should not have to zig-zag across city streets to find a continuous route.
All new street closures must include accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists to get through, where possible and reasonable. For an example, please see this short film from Streetfilms about Portland’s use of “diagonal diverters” that keep streets free of vehicular through traffic but allow bikes to get through.
St. Louis Bike Plan Open House
Today and tomorrow, Great Rivers Greenway is hosting open houses for the St. Louis regional bike plan. Please attend or sumbit comments if you wish to help shape the future of cycling in the St. Louis area.
|Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
4:30 to 7:00 pm
Maryland Heights Community Centre
2344 McKelvey Road
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
|Thursday, October 14th, 2010
4:30 to 7:00 pm
The Heights, Richmond Heights
8001 Dale Avenue
Richmond Heights, MO 63117