ST. LOUIS • Days after a public meeting in April on the future of Gravois Avenue veered from cordial to critical, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced it would hold off on an idea that would limit access to the thoroughfare from several city streets.
MoDOT’s original proposal was to close access to Gravois from 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.
MoDOT left open the possibility of closing more streets in the future. The reason, in part, representatives said, was to improve traffic flow on a street saturated with entry points.
The closings are still on the table but MoDOT representatives say they want more public input before moving forward.
“I think they realized they needed to start over with respect to having a bigger voice from the community,” said Alderman Christine Ingrassia, 6th Ward.
Residents came out to speak their minds Tuesday night at the Five-Star Senior Center, 2832 Arsenal Street. The meeting was organized by a group called the Greater Gravois Initiative. A MoDOT representative, city staff and aldermen attended.
There were common themes that came out of working groups: making streets more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly, encouraging investment in the street’s urban fabric, improving public transit and adding bike lanes and traffic circles.
In an acknowledgement of the speed with which residents say motorists drive down the street, a poster created by a working group read “Biking on Gravois is terrifying.”
One of the ways to attract business, residents said, is to slow the traffic, so that motorists can actually see the streetscape instead of zooming by.
Many of the ideas were long-term goals, said Catherine Gilbert, 24, a Benton Park resident who helped organize the forum. In the interim, she said, short-term improvements funded by grant money would include restriping and resurfacing the street.
“Since we have this pot of money, let’s use it in a way that’s going to help us prepare for future things,” Gilbert said.
MoDOT would like to see finalized input on the plan by September, so that it can hold community meetings in the fall and start work by spring 2016, Gilbert said.
Another public meeting is scheduled for Aug. 13 at the same senior center.