Friday, January 27, 2006

Crazy Crittenden

Crazy Crittenden

Crittenden Street is an unusual street partly because most of it is very narrow, and because for most of its length very few houses actually front on it. It appears to be a glorified alley, running east-to-west one short block north of Arsenal and south of Pestalozzi.

The exception to this rule is the last two blocks, from St Elizabeth Place (at the historic front entrance to St Elizabeth Academy, located on this site continuously since 1882) to South Grand in Tower Grove East.

The eastern terminus of Crittenden is 18th Street in Benton Park, adjacent to the I-55 off-ramp for Arsenal Street. From 18th to Indiana, it's about the width of a normal street, although some sections lack a sidewalk on one side.

West of Indiana, and straight through to Oregon in Benton Park West, Crittenden is about 1/2 the width of a normal street, and completely lacks sidewalks. It is informally barricaded at the alley between Ohio and Iowa within the SSDN campus. However, I've seen many cars drive around that, since a paved parking pad is adjacent to the street there.

Some time ago, the block from Oregon to Gravois was vacated to allow for a larger play-yard for the school now known as St Frances Cabrini Academy. It picks up again as a wide spot in the road off Gravois at Nebraska.

The next two blocks are similarly narrow, but with narrow sidewalks. Here, entering into Tower Grove East, the pavement is still brick. Between Pennsylvania and Minnesota is the former Grant Elementary School, currently being renovated into apartments. I saw a cute little cat on this block last night, but (s)he wouldn't talk to me.

Then, Crittenden mysteriously disappears, reappearing again as a very different kind of street in those last few blocks near Tower Grove Park.

Crittenden is a curious little street.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On numerous blocks in North Hampton, there are these mysterious walkways that fall on the mid-point of a block. Like Crittenden, they break up an otherwise long block with actually public right-of-way. But unlike Crittenden, these rights-of-way are extremely narrow and hence only public walkways.

If Crittenden is too narrow as a street, but too wide for a walkway, maybe the City should consider completely vacating the blocks between Jefferson and Gravois, or Benton Park West. Under such rules, the land is then split equally down the centerline of former right-of-way between the two adjoining parcels, but I think it would be better if new lots for infill construction could somehow be created. Of course, doing so would create longer alleys for the north-south streets intersecting Crittenden in Benton Park West.