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Old 01-03-2015, 01:58 PM
 
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This road clearly wasn't designed to carry 4 lanes of traffic. Are there any plans in the works to improve this road? My fear is that the improvements to the adjacent bike trail essentially eliminated the possibility of widening this road.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:23 AM
 
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If the reviled South County Connector has been well and truly tanked, it might be more likely that some small improvements to the boulevard will be prioritized? Other than that, I have no idea.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:48 AM
 
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What's so awful about it? Every time I've been on it, traffic has been a breeze. I haven't been on it during peak usage (more like 9am), but roads shouldn't be built for how they are used for 10% of the day. That's what got us into the sprawl mess in the first place.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago76 View Post
What's so awful about it?
It's too narrow for 4 lanes of traffic. Speed limit is 40. Most people go 50 or even faster. If 2 cars riding abreast pass two cars going in the opposite direction there is no room for error. There is no shoulder. There's the right lane and a 6-inch curb. Many people are not that precise when they drive making head-on collisions more possible than they should be. Plus, there doesn't have to be much rain to create major puddling, so drainage needs to be corrected. Add ice and you have quite a dangerous road. Especially when the edge of the stormwater canal is looming nearby, in some cases just a few feet away. So there's safety concerns that need to be addressed. With regards to traffic flow, there are issues up and down the road that are left unsolved. No right turn lanes. So if the lead car in the right lane is not turning right, it backs everyone else up. Left turn lanes too short - more congestion as well as danger. Cars will sometimes try to squeeze into the left turn lane to make the light.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthCitySam View Post
It's too narrow for 4 lanes of traffic. Speed limit is 40. Most people go 50 or even faster. If 2 cars riding abreast pass two cars going in the opposite direction there is no room for error. There is no shoulder. There's the right lane and a 6-inch curb. Many people are not that precise when they drive making head-on collisions more possible than they should be. Plus, there doesn't have to be much rain to create major puddling, so drainage needs to be corrected. Add ice and you have quite a dangerous road. Especially when the edge of the stormwater canal is looming nearby, in some cases just a few feet away. So there's safety concerns that need to be addressed. With regards to traffic flow, there are issues up and down the road that are left unsolved. No right turn lanes. So if the lead car in the right lane is not turning right, it backs everyone else up. Left turn lanes too short - more congestion as well as danger. Cars will sometimes try to squeeze into the left turn lane to make the light.
I could definitely see how road surfacing and the river being close are issues. The rest boils down to driver behavior. Drivers are treating the boulevard too much like an expressway. Left turns only from lanes, traffic calming to get the speeds down (cameras, landscaping, etc.). The road itself is no more narrow than a lot of high traffic roads (Chippewa comes to mind). The difference between Chippewa in the city and Des Peres is that there are a lot more intersections and a parking lane on Chippewa. This makes it dicey/complex enough to warrant a speed limit of only 30 mph...but people pretty consistently go 40-45 anyway. You are constantly worried about people parallel parking or turning right of left into neighborhoods (even when it is not permitted). Chippewa also has elevation changes that limit a driver's field of vision. Like Des Peres, it lacks right turn lanes, even at busier intersections like Hampton.

I doubt they can widen it (due to the river), so the safest bet would probably be to cut the speed limit down to 35, enforce it better, and add some of the surfacing and safety issues to reduce the probability of a car ending up in the river. It doesn't add much time on to the drive. The road is about 5 miles from Carondelet all the way north to where it terminates. Driving 50 mph vs. 40 mph only cuts 90 seconds off the entire trip.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:10 AM
 
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Yep, widening would just make people drive faster and/or increase congestion. Traffic calming is the way to go.
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:28 AM
 
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That road's been like that since who knows when. When I took high school driver's ed in the early 70's that was the road they used to get us used to "high speed driving" - speeds over 25mph and more open road, speed limit was 40mph then. And that was in those big luxo-boat Buicks and Oldsmobiles that were popular at the time, and the city was more populous. Cars tend to be a bit smaller/safer/more maneuverable now. At this point complaining about River De Pew Blvd being too narrow for 4 lanes is like telling kids it's unsafe to drink out of a garden hose.

Really, we've become that much of a nanny-state that RDP is now unsafe all of a sudden after 45 years? St. Louis has much worse problems than RDP.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chicago76 View Post
...traffic calming to get the speeds down (cameras, landscaping, etc.).
Reducing speed limits or integrating other techniques to reduce speed may create a safer road but there would be a trade-off that may not be beneficial. There's a balance between safety and efficiency that needs to be considered. It would have to be studied. And NO to cameras. Back to the original point. The trail and the road improvements should have been considered one project.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SouthCitySam View Post
Reducing speed limits or integrating other techniques to reduce speed may create a safer road but there would be a trade-off that may not be beneficial. There's a balance between safety and efficiency that needs to be considered. It would have to be studied. And NO to cameras. Back to the original point. The trail and the road improvements should have been considered one project.
Just to clear up some misconceptions:

-the trail was implemented by Great Rivers Greenway.
-any time GRG or their affiliate Bike STL does trail implementation on/near a street, they need to work with the relevant street authority (MODOT or the city, in this case, the city). This means they need to get approval from the city and review plans with road engineers. The city needs to give approval for the project, which they obviously did. Apparently, they do not believe that the road should be widened in such a way that the trail is in the way, otherwise, they would have nixed the project. People think putting trails in is easy, but trust me (having had the opportunity to work with their staff when I say this): it isn't. Trails cut across multiple municipalities). GRG needs to work with groups such as watershed managers, parks departments, cities, counties, adjacent land holders, schools, the general public, business associations, etc. No stone is unturned and there is no way that extensive discussion between GRG and the streets dept did not occur.
-Street engineers set the current speed limit of 40 mph. They take into consideration traffic volume, grade changes, road curves, adjacent use, the number and type of intersections, etc when setting the limit. You might think its dangerous, but the data probably suggests it isn't, otherwise the speed limit wouldn't be 40mph.
-The balance between safety and efficiency always enters into the equation with transportation engineering (hence 40 mph). If they wanted to drop it to 35mph, they could so without sacrificing efficiency very much at all. It would likely require some light re-timing, but a 5mph change to a long stretch of road with very few lights and intersections is negligible. We are literally talking about a 1 minute difference from one end to the other of the entire blvd length (roughly 5 miles).
-The population of SW city and adjacent suburbs is declining and the population is aging, which means less traffic. I doubt they view this as a high priority issue and with good reason. Traffic on that stretch 5 years from now will be no greater (and likely lower) than it currently is.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:35 PM
 
208 posts, read 201,555 times
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Let me make my own clarifications:
The road in its entirety does not need to be widened. Many sections are perfectly acceptable. But there are sections that are clearly too narrow for 4 lanes. Reducing the speed from 40 to 35 on the entire road would be unjustified and wouldn't alleviate the safety concerns on the narrow sections anyway. The only way to fix it is to widen the lanes at these sections of the road. But at these narrow sections, the trail is too close to make the necessary modifications while not impacting or even tearing up the trail and setting it back further from the road.

The right turn lanes would be beneficial for traffic flow in all directions and no retiming would be necessary. Cars can turn when it’s clear for them to do so. But with the construction of the stone entrances to the trail, the right turn lanes are not even possible anymore. Unless you remove the stone entrances, which of course is unlikely.
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