One of the topics of discussion at the very crowded 28th Ward Democratic Committee meeting November 17 at Dressel's Pub Above centered on the recent closing of the Park Drive cutoff at Lindell and Union. The cutoff was originally installed for automobiles when streetcar tracks ran down Lindell Blvd. (Union Ave.??? See comments below). Alderman Lyda Krewson said that the intersection had been identified as dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists alike crossing into Forest Park. She emailed today to say that it isn't "all 'bout cars anymore...we are trying to take into account walkers, runners & bikers, without inconveniencing drivers." The road was closed temporarily as part of the City's "Complete Streets" Ordinance, which has been in effect for a couple of years. The ordinance "encourages guiding principles and practices so that transportation improvements are planned, designed and constructed to encourage walking, bicycling and transit use while promoting safe operations for all users." Park Drive is still a public street, just closed off, like many others.
The three homeowners that front the cutoff have access to their property, and emergency vehicles can enter, if necessary. Calls and emails to Lyda from 28th Ward residents have been 70% for the closure to 30% against.
The city recently painted new zebra crosswalks on all four sides, which provide a friendly notification to drivers to yield to peds/bikers. If the closure remains, Lyda hopes to have planters installed across the west end of the pie-shaped parcel instead of the concrete barricades, shown above. There isn't money in the city's budget to do much more beautification at this point. When asked at the meeting if the homeowners who front the parcel would be able to purchase the property, the Alderman replied that the cutoff would remain the property of the City of St. Louis.