Monday, June 12, 2006

Lemay Ferry and Lindbergh

Lemay Ferry and Lindbergh

For more than a year, MODOT rebuilt the intersection of Lemay Ferry Road and South Lindbergh Boulevard in the heart of South St. Louis County.

The reconstruction, completed in October 2005, was anything but urban. It resulted in the demolition of numerous small commercial structures and the dramatic devaluation of their property by completely eliminating their curb-cuts onto those roads, to allow for a slight widening of both roads. The widening included dedicated right-turn lanes, and two dedicated left-turn lanes for each approach to the intersection.

Traveling through that intersection for the first time in a few years, I was struck by just how many businesses that fairly minor rebuild project may have killed. The Long John Silver's was demolished, as was an auto parts store (the former location of 9-0-5 Liquors) on the corner. Not demolished but closed are the old McDonald's and the Uncle Bill's Pancake House (formerly Dohack's Restaurant).

And, strangely, even the 1950s Mehlville Fire Protection District Engine House #1 has closed, replaced by a controversial new facility about one mile north on Lemay Ferry. Some years ago, the MFPD had purchased some property on Union Road to built a new House #1, but never did. The grand opening for the new House #1, at 3241 Lemay Ferry, was held on Saturday, June 3rd, 2006.

And now, we discovered, the Wendy's location in front of the K-Mart plaza (formerly Venture plaza) has closed, with "For Lease" signs up. We ended up picking up lunch on Sunday instead at the Arby's just down the road - which benefits because it has a 'secret' back way in via the employee parking / dock area between the massive K-Mart building and the so-called Lindbergh Building (a mid-rise office building constructed on spec in the 1980s by Carondelet Savings & Loan for their new headquarters just a few years before they went belly-up).

Because of the median dividers and heavy traffic, this has always been a difficult corner to navigate. But it seems the businesses in the vicinity suffered dramatically as a result of this construction.

I suspect a TIF plan may be in the works for this high-traffic intersection -- the traditional heart of the Mehlville area -- in the near future.


Anonymous said...

Or a TDD.


urban Review said...

It has been several yeas since I was in that intersection, I had no idea it was getting redone. I cannot imagine having that as part of my daily existence.

How about those medians dividing the street. E-W Gateway wants to give us those down the middle of Gravois.

Anonymous said...

It's called "access management" and it can kill small auto-oriented businesses requiring numerous curb cuts like those mentioned. You'd think an "urbanist" wouldn't cry over closed drive-thrus, whether in South County or along Gravois in South City.

But while the intersection improvements at Lindbergh and Lemay Ferry help move more motor vehicles through an already auto-only environment. Transit medians on Gravois could be combined with narrower through lanes for vehicles and wider sidewalks, providing both traffic calming and an enhanced pedestrian environment.