Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Gateway Geyser and Mississippi River Overlook

Today, for the first time, I was driving across the Eads Bridge and actually saw the Gateway Geyser in full operation! It must have been about 1:10 pm, since it only operates twice daily (12:00 to 12:15 pm and 1:00 to 1:15 pm).

Sadly, I was not able to get close enough to take a photograph until it had already stopped running.

But I did manage to drive alongside of it -- it is fenced off with signs that say "No Trespassing." Also, I saw the construction workers still building the adjacent Mississippi River Overlook.

Here's the official website. No photos there, either. ;-(

Here's a map.

And here's a YouTube video from Channel 9.

The overlook and geyser combined make up what is known as Malcolm Martin Memorial Park (MMM Park), owned and operated by the Metro East Park and Recreation District -- the Illinois counterpart to Great Rivers Greenway, both created by the passage of a sales tax by voters in November 2000.

At present, the overlook is still surrounded by construction vehicles, but hopefully by the end of summer you'll be able to visit. It promises to offer an impressive view of the St. Louis skyline.

To get there...

From MetroLink:
  • Exit at East Riverfront station. Take the elevator or stairs to ground level.
  • Walk south along Front Street, past the sprawling Casino Queen complex and the imposing Cargill grain terminal
  • Turn left onto W. Trendley Avenue. By now you should be able to see the overlook. The geyser is a few hundred yards further east.

    By bicycle:

    Take the Eads Bridge (south side of bridge only), then the ramp down to the MetroLink platform, and follow the pedestrian instructions above.

    By car:

  • Drive east across the Eads Bridge. As you go around a slight curve, downhill, on the Illinois approach ramps, turn left at the first traffic signal (River Park Drive).
  • Continue west along River Park, past both casino entrances, to the stop sign. This is Front Street.
  • Turn left on Front Street. Follow the pedestrian instructions from there.

    It's actually not as hard to find as I'd thought. After all, once you get off the Eads Bridge, Front and Trendley are pretty much the only streets that still exist. Not that that is a good thing, but it certainly makes navigating a bit easier.

    Unfortunately, the pavement on these streets can be treacherous. Aside from a portion of the Casino Queen frontage, there are no sidewalks. And there are huge potholes and occasional missing drainage grates in places, which I imagine could twist an ankle and/or break a bicycle wheel. Even in a car, it's pretty bumpy -- although not quite as bad, actually, as some other areas in EStL, where there are blocks and blocks of nearly empty property and decades of deferred maintenance.

    We think things are rough in North City. Well, take a look at the East Side. It's not that nobody cares. But who has the resources to fix all the problems?

    Maybe (just maybe) places like the Malcolm Martin park can get people to start thinking about the possibilities on the East Side, rather than always just focusing on the negative.
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