Another favorite project announced in 2016 that was completed in 2017 was the River des Peres Greenway extension from Slay Park to the Shewsbury Metrolink Station.
I sat down with Elizabeth Simon from Great Rivers Greenway to get the details on the project. That blog is HERE. What really appealed to me on this project was the reduction of a traffic lane on McCausland/Wabash in the southbound direction.
Having lived in the far south neighborhoods of St. Louis for many years, I used to commute on this route daily. It was like the Indy 500, you had to keep up with pace or become a danger.
But that's not all, this 1.5 mile extension is a much needed addition to get us one step closer to being able to ride on a protected trail from the Mississippi River in South County all the way to Forest Park.
The completion of this extension gets us from the River to Slay Park in the Ellendale Neighborhood. Now we just need to get that next extension all the way north to Forest Park via McCausland...another road that need a lane diet. It is travelled at equally high speeds during rush hour.
So let's take a look at this new extension, starting at Slay Park. When I blogged on Slay Park back in 2013, I was critical about the condition of this small park. Good news is that the fence along the drainage ditch along the east side of the park has been replaced. Further, some volunteers planted small trees that were much needed to provide some shade. This field is a CYC soccer field in the conference that draws St. Louis and County teams. The field is in terrible shape and just needs one grading, and a couple years of aeration and over-seeding. This is not a complicated thing and the park's department needs to make the fields that are actively used a priority. This is ridiculous and we deserve better for the rising taxes we have to pay.
So, Slay Park is looking better than it did in 2013, but needs a decent field. The greenway extension is another reason to invest in this park since it will be a stopping point with a rest area/bathroom.
McCausland Avenue turns into Ellendale Avenue right at the park. There is a cross walk with signal at the park to make crossing Ellendale Avenue safer.
Then, you proceed south and west along a protected path that runs beside the street. The single lane is a vast improvement, slowing traffic speeds on the side adjacent to the trail.
When you get to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train and I-44 bridges, the posts and walls were painted in the recognizable Great Rivers Greenway font and green colors to identify the area to passers by.
Passing under the bridge, you come to a residential area where speed humps were built to keep the path at grade and provide a visual reminder to cars.
I spoke to a resident raking leaves, and she indicated most residents are in favor of the trail, some are getting used to the one lane of traffic which she said makes it harder to make a left turn out of the residential streets to the west of the trail. Overall, though, she thinks it adds value to the neighborhood and she said it is good to now see cyclists in this part of the city.
There is a single crosswalk between Lindenwood Place and Mardel Avenue.
There are designated parking lanes for residents on both sides of Wabash Avenue.
The extension ends on Lansdowne Avenue at the Metrolink terminus of the blue line.
There is a spot designated for a future "node" at the southeastern section of Lansdowne and Wabash. This will include a resting area with trees, trash receptacles and possible interpretive signage and public art. Information could include historic facts of the area, the significance of the River des Peres as a watershed, bird migratory patterns, etc. The installation of public artwork is part of the plan for the future and would be a unique element for the River des Peres Greenway.
The trees have not yet been planted, but knowing the contractors that Great Rivers Greenway works with, they will plant nice, native species and place them properly. In fact, I was able to determine that White Oak, Willow Oak and London Planetrees will be included. In my previous interview with Ms. Simon from GRG, a total of 39 trees will be planted.
Looking forward to seeing more and more people riding this part of the city and eventually connecting to Forest Park.