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Plan to close some access to Gravois Avenue is dead

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Map: Gravois intersections targeted

This is a map of the intersections that the Missouri Department of Transportation proposed in 2015 to be closed along Gravois Avenue in St. Louis. That plan was dropped, MoDOT said Jan. 4, 2016.

A plan fiercely opposed by many residents and businesses to shut off access to Gravois Avenue from some side streets is dead.

Any street closure must be approved by the city’s Board of Aldermen, which didn’t happen, said Andrew Gates, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

So the agency decided to move forward on a road-improvement project that does not include shutting off any side streets.

“There really wasn’t much of an appetite for street closures without a bigger plan for what we’re going to do with Gravois as far as making it more pedestrian-friendly and a safer street,” said Alderman Jack Coatar, whose ward includes a portion of the road.

Alderman Cara Spencer said her ward, which includes the Gravois Park and Dutchtown neighborhoods and is about a square mile in size, has 46 single blocks of one-way streets.

She called for more data collection to determine a plan for making decisions such as which streets are one-ways and get closed, and said pedestrians need more time to safely cross Gravois than they have now.

Because Gravois is a diagonal road that cuts through the standard street grid, side streets often enter Gravois within 50 feet of each other. That means that at intersections with signals, there are six legs of traffic at one intersection instead of the normal four.

MoDOT, which maintains the state-owned road that is part of Highway 30, had said reducing the number of entrances to Gravois would help keep the flow of traffic steadier and reduce the areas where pedestrians have to cross roads along Gravois.

The streets that would have lost access were southbound Tennessee Avenue; southbound Louisiana Avenue; northbound and southbound Pennsylvania Avenue; eastbound and westbound Lynch Street; eastbound and westbound Shenandoah Avenue; and eastbound and westbound Wyoming Street.

Other streets that eventually could have been cut off from Gravois included Juniata Street, Oregon Avenue, Virginia Avenue, Sidney Street and Ann Avenue.

But that doesn’t mean controversy over the future of Gravois is done. The goals of the revised project on the road are to improve signals and repair and resurface the road — and while that work is being done, MoDOT said it can consider changes to striping and signals.

Any mention of changes to lanes on the road, including bike lanes, also has generated disagreement.

An open-house style public meeting will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 12 at the Five Star Senior Center, 2832 Arsenal Street.


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