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Monday, September 19, 2005

Bottle District: Another Wall?

Renderings of the Bottle District show that it will be pretty spotty on connectivity to the street grid. The aerial map shows that east-west streets through the site will not connect to Broadway, although walkways may follow the street lines to connect to Broadway.

This lack of connection will further the wall-like effect of the hulking America's Center/Edward Jones Dome complex, which acts as a barrier between east and west between 7th and 9th streets and north and south between "Convention Plaza" and Cole Street. On top of this, the Dome is separated from the very wall-like I-70 overpass by only one (empty and unused landscaped) block. With the Bottle District project immediately north of the Dome, the wall effect will be severe.

With the Mississippi River Bridge proposed to the immediate north, this area could become a very scenic but ultimately difficult to navigate area. Visually, it may not seem intuitive to cross this area even on foot, and so people may not even try.

The burgeoning near northside needs greater connections with downtown. The last thing St. Louis needs in its downtown area is another superblock development. The developers need to redesign the plans to connect streets through the Bottle District.

That said, the architecture of the Bottle District raises other issues that I will address in a later essay.


Matt B. said...

One of my main critisisms of the project from the begining has been the nothion that it will be a pedestrian mall.

Haven't decades of experience shown that these do not work.

Say what you will about suburban developers but Pace got it right with the Boulevard development across from the Galleria. This "main street" shopping center could have very easily been made a pedestrian mall. Instead they allow auto traffic through the center. They even have on-street parking which really adds to the urban feel and street activity.

If they can get it right in the burbs, they need to get it right in the Bottle District. A development of that size without out traffic will seem mostly empty 95% of time with foot traffic alone.

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

Let's see. Famous unsuccessful areas that prevented the flow of traffic in a large large area on the Near North Side...hmm.............


The remaining housing projects between Downtown and Old North make it hard to traverse that area. The incredible amount of demolition up there also creates its own barrier. The current design for the bottle district is only going to make matters worse. I hope the lack of traffic circulation (and thus of eyes watching out and consequently preventing crime) doesn't mean it will be too dangerous to walk the short short distance between home and work when we're up there.