Metro Highway Beautification

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
Surely I'm not the only St. Louisan who hasn't lamented the complete lack of any attempt by MODOT to enhance the aesthetics of our major interstate interchanges in the metro area. I have attended numerous public forums with their representatives and they all look baffled when asked about this topic. Anyone who has seen the lovely landscaping and artistic elements incorporated into the design of these places in other cities knows what I'm talking about. I believe it's way past time we as citizens demanded better for St Louis. In posts to follow, I will offer some bold ideas for our major interchanges, but would love your feedback on this topic!!
It's sad really. I travel to Wichita for work time to time and I always forget what highway it is that goes through it but it has amazing landscaping. A shame MoDOT doesn't seem to care at all about it
I hear ya but do you shell out thousands for landscaping when you have a leaking roof and cracks in your basement?

Many will agree but say "find the money to fix pot holes, resurface, and replace crumbling bridges first."
moorlander wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:46 am
I hear ya but do you shell out thousands for landscaping when you have a leaking roof and cracks in your basement?

Many will agree but say "find the money to fix pot holes, resurface, and replace crumbling bridges first."
I'd be happy if we could start with mowing the grass more than four times a year. I get not mowing more than a strip along the shoulder in rural areas, but more is needed in suburban and urban areas. That alone would make it look like someone cares a little. Such a small thing in the overall MODOT budget to try to save money through.

Enhanced landscaping is definitely a goal to shoot for once the system on the whole isn't falling apart. There are plenty of examples around the region of more than the bare minimum grass and maybe a couple trees, but that is almost always where a local municipality or corporation has taken on the maintenance. Planting more trees and intentionally designing landscaping to handle stormwater runoff would have big environmental impacts. Even something simple like tearing out grass and planting more prairie and native plant areas would beautify while reducing the cost of mowing.
i'd be happy if they'd just pick up the trash a little more frequently. i've lost count of the number of mattresses, tires, broken furniture and car parts i pass every day. it's embarrassing.
MattnSTL wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:23 am
Planting more trees and intentionally designing landscaping to handle stormwater runoff would have big environmental impacts. Even something simple like tearing out grass and planting more prairie and native plant areas would beautify while reducing the cost of mowing.
I would like to see this on 44 between Kingshighway and the city limits.

Would be a good project for Rally STL, if it still exists.
Agreed that simple trash pick up, sweeping up debris, spraying for weeds, and mowing even every other week would be a HUGE help.

If you've ever tried getting onto I 55/44/64 from any of the side streets in East St. Louis, you know how bad it can get. Literally torn bags of trash just lying around.
First, the leaky roof first analogy is a false caveat. Every house of a certain age needs almost constant repairs, and yet these generally do not preclude homeowners from maintaining their yards or flower beds. The real issue is that MODOT has never incorporated aesthetics into its core mission. The single, somewhat feeble attempt to do so during the I-64 upgrade east of 270 happened only because citizens insisted on it. Still, despite some truly fabulous design proposals, they settled on the modest, marginally enhanced overpass signage motif. Beautification just isn't in their DNA, and won't be until people outside this myopic agency assert that we expect to behold more than just gross spartan functionality during the considerable hours spent day after day traveling along our region's commuter routes.
Opendorz wrote:First, the leaky roof first analogy is a false caveat. Every house of a certain age needs almost constant repairs, and yet these generally do not preclude homeowners from maintaining their yards or flower beds.
When money is tight it most certainly does. For well to do homeowners there is enough money to go around.

I'd love to have beautifully manicured highways but how do you justify the cost when our roads are sh*t, riddled with potholes, and no many bridges are in disrepair?
Moorlander, one option is participation and funding by the municipalities at key interchanges. Creve Coeur at 270/Olive is a wonderful example. Or even corporate support which enhanced and maintains the NE quadrant of 270/Manchester. Surely Des Peres with its wealth of retail tax revenue could do the same for the rest of this interchange, but probably not without public pressure. I think the 2%ers in Town & Country should be ashamed at the wasteland appearance of 270/64. As a resident of this region, I know I am.
When you're trying to maintain the 7th largest system with 47th biggest revenue pretty interchanges aren't a priority. Thats usually left to munis and companies if they choose to.

Trash pick up- about $5,700,000 a year is spent on picking up trash
^ well, that $6 million clearly isn't enough. seems pretty obvious that we either need to raise taxes on drivers and freight carriers, institute tolls, or shut down parts of the system. the size of our system per capita is idiotic. another reason Mizzurah is a dump.
Anybody remember when MoDOT tried to beautify I-70 within the city by cladding bridge columns in faux brick wraps... but only on the outside half of the column?

Image
urban_dilettante wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:35 am
^ well, that $6 million clearly isn't enough. seems pretty obvious that we either need to raise taxes on drivers and freight carriers, institute tolls, or shut down parts of the system. the size of our system per capita is idiotic. another reason Mizzurah is a dump.
Size of the system is because Missouri Legislature long long time ago gave 12,000 miles of county roads to the state DOT to maintain.

Also if the gas tax was indexed to inflation in 1993 (last raised to 17 cents) if would be around 28 cents today and additional $350,000,000 per year for transportation ( 70% going to MoDOT, 15 to Counties and 15 to cities)