Forest Park Parkway - Ideas/Updates

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
i've often wondered what could be done to make it more than a mini highway, especially seeing its prominent location and all the great neighborhoods it goes by. It creates a very sudden deadness and lack of vitality all along it's length the minute it begins near Forest Park and westwards till it reaches 170.



The fact that it's been closed down all these months and traffic hasn't become a complete living hell on parallel streets (ok, maybe Delmar has gotten more traffic, but that's probably better for the budding businesses east of skinker) suggests that the perfect time to reimagine the street and retrofit it so that it is more aesthetically pleasing is now. I think one thing that could easily be done would be to make it into what it's supposed to be: a Parkway.



If the city just remodeled it so that it had a green median with grand trees and perhaps even a bicycle/jogging path down the median, along with rows of grand trees on either side of the street it would be a vast improvement. It would probably require the street to lose some lanes, but like i mentioned before, it's completely closed as it is and it hasn't caused a traffic apocalypse, so why not downgrade its traffic capacity while making it a beautiful and green transportation corridor?



Thoughts or alternative ideas?
It looks like the portion of Forest Park Parkway behind Lindell is open. It appears to run from DeBaliviere past Skinker. I saw a car using it when I came home today.



The remaining part looks like it is moving along quickly.

it goes from des peres to debaliviere, not quite to skinker.

This idea would be hard to accomplish, since the Green Line is going to run down the middle of it past the big bend tunnel...



From the Cross-county site:



East of Big Bend the alignment descends into a new tunnel under Forest Park Parkway, passes under Big Bend, remaining underground until it surfaces just south of Forsyth Boulevard. The alignment surfaces between the east and westbound lanes of Forest Park Parkway, continues west in a new median of the Parkway and bridges over Hanley Road and Brentwood Boulevard. West of Brentwood the alignment rises up and bridges over the eastbound lanes of the Parkway and turns to the south to run along the east side of Interstate 170.

The DeBaliviere-Des Peres section of the Parkway is open for local traffic only. It is intended to help Skinker-DeBaliviere Neighborhood residents access their neighborhood, now that DesPeres has been permanently closed south of the westbound Parkway lanes, in order to avoid an at-grade crossing with MetroLink running here in the Parkway median. What will be only the westbound lanes of the rebuilt Parkway are now being temporarily used as a two-way neighborhood connection. Previously, residents could take Des Peres Avenue to/from Lindell. Thus, with that connection closed, the Parkway detour still provides access, at least off the Parkway to/from DeBaliviere.

Noticed that westbound Forest Park Pkwy had opened at Euclid as of this morning.

Forest Park Parkway has always been my favorite artery in the city. I don't think lining the Parkway with big lush trees would be good, because it would block the incredible views of the city! It's a great cross-section of St. Louis. It's a thoroughly urban drive through viaducts, passing the park, the fire escapes of Skinker-DeBaliviere, a glimpses of the MetroLink, rooftops of U. City apartment buildings, and sweeping views of the downtown Clayton skyline. Blocking these spectacular views with trees would be a crime.

I agree Gasm - leave the Parkway alone. I had to laugh when reading Gasm's post, because I thought the Forest Park Parkway was my own private pleasure. I didn't realize anyone else saw it the way I did. It is a visual treat. One of my daydreams is to have a condo with oversized French doors overlooking the Metrolink station & tracks and the parkway. Then I could watch the steady stream of people, trains, & cars. It would make me happier than a view of the beach or skyline.

I think there are a lot of us...until they closed it I used it almost exclusively to go into the city.

^Agree!

i say, why open it again? we have lived with out it for how long now, 2 or so years. the only complaint i get is a friend of mine used to take it to get to my house from clayton, now she has to go down delmar. real bummer there. and if you are going to go to clayton from my neighboorhood, you don't need to drive anymore. or vice versa. i think by having the metro line there will cut the number of people driving on it that we don't really need it anymore as proved by not having it with no metro line. that's my 2 cents.

I kind of agree, but the money has already been spent to rebuild it, so it better completely reopen.



I never really thought about the Parkway the way you describe it, Gasm, but now that I think about it, it is a really neat drive drive. Such varied, but urban surroundings.

I've often wondered if the Parkway west of Kingshighway is an old streetcar line. I have an old map of STL in my office dated 1948 and it shows Forest Park Avenue ending at Kingshighway.

Yes and the rock Island railroad also ran alongside of it.

The Parkway (and Cross County too) will be a crucial asset during the reconstruction of 40. Luckily, both the Parkway and new MetroLink extension will open this year, while 40 won't close, even if only partial closure, until next year. Once 40 begins, you can just imagine what would happen if we didn't have these crucial alternatives between the City and Clayton.

Bricksandmortar--



The Streets and Streetcars of St. Louis has some great photos of the streetcars riding alongside Forest Park Parkway. I don't have the book in front of me now, but from what I can remember, the tracks ran in the alley just north of the street.



I'm having trouble finding it now, but a couple months ago I came across a website that showed the original streetcar line vs. the present-day MetroLink line, and their routes were virtually parallel.

^Thanks, I just stole a copy from my neighbors desk at work. That's such a great book, I can get lost in it for hours(but that's another thread).



According to the book, Forest Park Parkway west of Skinker(fka Millbrook) was built over the old Rock Island RR right of way. Once the streetcars were abandoned the street was widened in the mid 70s. FPP east of Skinker was built in 1963 along the same railroad right of way.

It looks like Forest Park Pkwy heading East from DeBaliviere is now open. Does not appear to be open heading West.

Actually I drove it last night and it's open in one lane each direction from Skinker to Euclid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Do you know what this means for me since I live in the Skinky-D???

Sorry, I meant to say FPP is open in one lane each direction from Euclid to Des Peres Ave, not Skinker. False alarm, sorry guys!

The 'Skinky-D?' That's one of the better one's I've heard!

This just in from the post:



Forest Park Parkway to reopen by May

By Shane Graber

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

02/06/2006



Forest Park Parkway will reopen long before Highway 40 construction work begins, according to transit agency documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch.



The westbound side of the parkway is expected to open by April of this year, a letter from Metro CEO and President Larry Salci said. The eastbound side is expected to open by May.



The letter was sent to St. Louis County Councilman Kurt Odenwald. Until now, Metro has only committed to a spring opening of the parkway. Highway 40 construction is expected to begin by January 2007.

HWY 40 construction is going to SUCK. S-U-C-K. SUCK.

St.Louis UAB alumni wrote:
HWY 40 construction is going to SUCK. S-U-C-K. SUCK.




Solution: Downtown J-O-B. Downtown L-O-F-T. Sell C-A-R.



I got the job in Janurary, reserved in Ely (10 blocks away), and will sell the Mazda before moving early '07. I just hope it's early enough. I can't say the new 64 was the reason, but it was a motivator.

Unfortunately I'll have a reverse commute that will prevent me from going totally carless :x , but I do plan on using Metrolink/bus/vanpools to get to work whenever possible.