So the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic wants to build its long sought South County Connector, a $110 million dollar project that would build a new road between Hanley Rd and River des Peres Blvd. Following the release of the draft environmental impact statement, the project has elicited a fair amount of criticism and condemnation from the City of Maplewood, Great Rivers Greenway, Trailnet, and St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie. Great Rivers Greenway expressed some of their concerns in a recent interview on KMOX.
Great Rivers sent a note of its own to the highway department, saying the Connector could neutralize $27 million in investments the organization has made to pedestrian and bike infrastructure on the River Des Peres Greenway and the Deer Creek Greenway.
“We would really like to see a connection that incorporates pedestrians, bicycles and motor vehicle use,” Susan Trautman, executive director of Great Rivers Greenway told KMOX. “The South County Connector could be a really great example of multimodal transportation where people can walk, ride their bikes, use their cars.”
But [St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic spokesman David] Wrone pours cold water on her comment.
“We want to provide a much need boulevard for cars and trucks,” he said, while also stressing that “bike ridership is important to us.”
“But I want to say we are in the business of providing safe and efficient necessary motor vehicle driving pavement. We’re a highway department, not a bicycle department.”
Words fail me, again.
It was a year-and-a-half ago that the County spokesman first left me speechless.
As a matter of policy, we don’t build dedicated bike lanes. St. Louis County salutes the bike-riding community, but we manage our system in the knowledge that motor vehicles comprise the vast majority of our customer base. The ground and money aren’t available to provide ‘Bike Only’ travel lanes.
And not long before that comment, there was the reasoning the department gave for removing Delmar Blvd through The Loop from the County’s arterial road system.
David Wrone, a spokesman for the highways department, contended that Delmar through the Loop “is a destination for many, many people. It has metamorphosed into a municipal road. It’s University City’s Main Street. You have so many pedestrians and parked cars and soon we’re going to have a trolley. It’s not an arterial road.”
“Our arterial roads are designated as such because they move a lot of traffic as quickly as is prudent.”
Click here if you would like to sign a letter asking County Executive Charlie Dooley and Councilman Pat Dolan to withdraw the South County Connector DEIS.