Heard About the City's Plan to Shut Down Four Miles of Roadway May 1?


Click image for larger view of route.
  • Click image for larger view of route.
This blogger hadn't. That is, not until I called Mayor Francis Slay's office (on a different matter) and ended up talking to Helen Yane.

Yane serves as the coordinator for the mayor's Open Streets initiative that plans to temporarily close several large St. Louis thoroughfares this summer and open them up to pedestrian traffic.

The first event is scheduled for Saturday, May 1, when the city will close a four mile path running along Locust (from 6th Street to Grand Center) and Lindell (from Grand Center to Kingshighway).

Yane tells me that the Open Streets program initiated in Bogota, Columbia, and served to greatly reduce car and noise pollution in that city. Similar events have since been held in Portland, Oregon, and New York City. The goal is to open up streets to more pedestrian and recreational use, such as bicycles.

Another Open Streets event in St. Louis is scheduled for June 13 but Yane says it might not be on the same route.

"We've been getting some resistance from business owners along the route," confides Yane. "I'm trying to reassure them that in other cities these events have actually increased business through foot traffic. But a few of them are telling me they're going to call in on May 2 to complain."