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St. Louis Aims for Network of “Calm Streets”

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A rendering of a planned intersection upgrade along Louisiana Avenue (Credit: NACTO)

St. Louis bicycle and pedestrian advocates received some good news last week in the form of a $920,000 federal grant to “calm” a roughly mile-long stretch of the notorious Louisiana Avenue. The overhaul agenda includes speed humps, bumpouts and traffic circles, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Other cities, such as Los Angeles and Miami, have seen similar complete streets projects successfully improve visibility, cut down on crashes between cars and pedestrians and cyclists, and slow down cars, the main concern for Louisiana Avenue.

“One of the biggest complaints in our neighborhood is speeding and fast cars” on side streets, said Alderman Cara Spencer, whose 20th Ward includes much of the stretch, according to the Post-Dispatch.

The East West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG) Board of Directors approved the grant last week, according to NextSTL. City officials hope to extend the Louisiana Avenue upgrades beyond the planned mile, and use the thoroughfare as a model for other city streets. The end goal is a slowly evolving network of throughways with low traffic volumes and speeds being build piece-by-piece as the city promotes walking, biking and public transit.

In 2015, St. Louis hired its first bike and pedestrian coordinator and began work on some particularly thorny streets and intersections with features like protected pedestrian crossings, fresh crosswalks, better signage and bike lanes.

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