Arch Grounds Renovation: Are You Happy with the Plans?

Check out the project's "virtual fly-through" the redesigned project and tell us what you think.

A screen shot from the CityArchRiver 2015 video showing a virtual "fly-through" the redesigned grounds.
A screen shot from the CityArchRiver 2015 video showing a virtual "fly-through" the redesigned grounds.
Last week was a big one for the CityArchRiver 2015 project, a plan to completely rework how the Gateway Arch grounds interact with the rest of the city and the Mississippi River shoreline.

Roadwork began to reconfigure how some of the highway interchanges around the Arch will function. The project ultimately will include a "park over the highway" connecting the Arch grounds with the Old Courthouse.

As KSDK reported it last week, "The work involves access to the Martin Luther King Bridge, Washington Avenue, and Memorial Drive between Pine and the MLK Bridge. There will be daily lane closures from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. underneath Interstate 70 at the MLK Bridge."

The CityArchRiver 2015 organization unveiled a video, available here on YouTube and on this article, that takes viewers on a virtual "fly-through" the grounds as they would look once the project is completed.

It shows views from the Old Courthouse, over the new park that will cover Interstate 70, into a newly created entrance to the Arch museum and down to the riverfront.

By the way, the most interesting part of the video starts at about the 1-minute-43-second mark.

Take a look at the video and tell us what you think. Are you loving what you see, or would you be happy if it were left alone?
Dean Rosen September 01, 2013 at 12:13 PM
My recollection is that one of the biggest complaints about the Arch grounds was there was no place to eat anything and nowhere to buy anything to eat. I don't see kiosks and picnic tables anywhere in this new plan. The grounds remain as pristine and maincured as before the renovation, with no addition of "life" in the parkland. Just more of it. Afterall, this is not natural parkland, but totally man made. Still there is no attempt to add more life enhancing features other than making it easier to walk to from downtown. And making it nicer to walk to Laclede's Landing.
jkramer234 September 01, 2013 at 03:18 PM
I agree with the comment above. The new plans look phenomenal, but are still missing the picnic areas and someplace to eat - kiosks or a nice 'beer garden' or something like that.
Gary K Lee September 01, 2013 at 11:20 PM
What are they doing about parking? It looks like they are taking away the parking garage (where parking has been free) so what are people going to do when they are coming to specifically visit the arch? I find parking downtown is a hassle and I dislike it immensely. Also, taking away Memorial Drive takes away an artery for getting in and out of downtown.
Scott Simon September 02, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Nope, not happy. Just a lot of political fru-fru people are forced to pay.
Becca Christensen September 03, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Gary Lee - There is an easy solution for the parking issue. Don't drive. The revitalization of urban areas is largely dependent on public transit. There is a meto link station right next to the arch grounds. If you must drive a car, drive to one of the metro park and ride stations (Clayton, Brentwood, etc.) and ride the train downtown. Dean Rosen - Making it easier to walk to from downtown is kind of the whole point. Tourists staying in a downtown St. Louis hotel, especially without a car, will find it easier to access the area's most famous landmark, also it connects the arch grounds with the Old Courthouse, City Garden, etc., creating a much larger walkable tourist attraction. Agreed that food kiosks are a must. However, I don't think that this is the planning stage necessary for discussing such. We already have a number of food trucks and street food carts that circulate downtown on weekdays. I'm sure street food vendors will pop up during peak tourist times once the grounds are finished.
Gary K Lee September 03, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Hi Becca, the don't drive suggestion works for some people, but what about elderly and handicapped people? I have family members who experience great pain walking any significant distance. There are also West/South/North County people for whom the Metro is a foreign idea and they may just say "forget it". I have no quarrel with making an area more pedestrian friendly, but I also remember what happened to the old 14th street stores by Crown Candy when the street was closed off. Why not make the parking garage underground so that we have the green space but also the parking? I think the plans should be both pedestrian friendly but also workable for those who might be driving their out-of-town guests around the city.
Becca Christensen September 03, 2013 at 05:55 PM
If enough able-bodied people would take public transit it would leave plenty of parking for those who cannot walk far. For those to whom Metro is a foreign idea, if that keeps them out of downtown, I say too bad for them. They're missing out, but it's their loss. The point of this project is largely to attract tourists who will spend money at downtown businesses, not to appease backward suburbunites.
Becca Christensen September 03, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Excuse me, I neglected to address your last point, that of folks from outlying areas driving their out-of-town quests around the city. Again, they need to take public transit. If they aren't comfortable, for whatever reason *cough, cough, probably racist*, with taking the Metro, then good riddance. These people are, I hope, few and far between.
Ann Book September 05, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Wow. So if a person prefers to drive instead of using inconveniently located public transit, he/she is racist? What the heck?
Gary K Lee September 05, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Ann, I saw it as trolling and it diminishes the validity of the rest of the person's argument. Overuse of certain words when they really don't apply or barely apply is like the boy who cried wolf. After a while when the word really applies people unfortunately ignore it. I've had plenty of negative experiences with public transit. When I used the bus system regularly I thought it was designed to encourage people to buy a car. It worked that way with me--for example, buses were late so I'd miss the connecting bus that ran only about once an hour, making me late for my job. These days in my field of business I'm hauling equipment and at times parking downtown is a hassle for me. It's totally impractical to haul it on public transit. People may have various reasons to use a car. With this design I'm concerned about the ease of accessing downtown--right now I take I-44 to I-55 to Memorial Drive--and I wonder about accessing the Old Cathedral parking lot.


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