Streets And Trafficways

Four Basic Types Proposed

840,000 people in St. Louis owned 165,000 automobiles and trucks in 1946. By 1970 it is estimated that there will be about 230,000 automobiles and trucks. This figure does not include streetcars and busses or the many thousands of new cars and trucks in suburban areas, all of which are potential users of city streets. The annual traffic in St. Louis will be increased from 1,531,000,000 to 2,403,000,000 vehicle miles by 1960 (Estimate by Missouri State Highway Department, Highway Planning Survey.). This is a lot of traffic. It cannot be accommodated on our present street system. It will require new and enlarged adequate flow channels as well as a high degree of regulation and control.

Traffic originating in residential areas throughout all parts of the city moves: (a) to the central business district or (b) to numerous objectives in various parts of the city, such as industries, parks, business sub-centers, schools, or to other residential areas. Traffic from various parts of the metropolitan area and from more remote points moves to the central business district of St. Louis and to numerous other objectives within the city. More than 100 truck terminals surrounding and closely adjacent to the central business district are points of origin for motor truck lines which daily carry large volumes of freight. These are but examples of a multitude of daily traffic movements in the city.

Since 1916 St. Louis has expended over $40,000,000 in opening, widening, connecting, and extending the system of major streets. Much has been accomplished in converting a horse and buggy street system to automobile needs. As the total volume of traffic increases, however, certain new needs arise. An example is the desirability of grade separations at extremely heavy intersections, such as at Grand and Market and at Kingshighway and Lindell. Likewise there is a need for complete separation of grade where traffic volume is sufficiently heavy to justify the cost involved. The Federal Government, which has helped finance our splendid system of national highways, has recently revised its policies and Congress has appropriated substantial funds to aid the cities in the construction of express highways and for facilitation of traffic flows from certain selected state highways through metropolitan areas to the central business districts of large cities. Past and present experience reveals the need for four types of major streets and trafficways as follows:

  1. Secondary Streets (4 Lanes)
    Most St. Louis streets were laid out with a width of 60 feet. A considerable volume of traffic can be accommodated in a 60-foot street with a 40-foot roadway, especially if curb parking is restricted at times of heavy traffic flow. Such streets as Nebraska, Compton, and Goodfellow can pr6bably continue for many years to accommodate a considerable volume of traffic flow without widening. All local residential areas require access and must be served either by wide major streets or by these secondary streets which thereby become important integral parts of the major street plan.
  2. Major Streets (6 Lanes)
    Grand Avenue, Chippewa Street, and Easton Avenue are examples of important cross-town routes which accommo date a considerable volume of traffic including mass trans portation facilities (i.e., streetcars or buses). Their general width of 80 feet permits a 54 or 56 foot roadway to accom modate six lanes of traffic. There is need for quite a number of such routes where traffic volume is insufficient to warrantgreater width of the street except by expensive widening of the street.
  3. Major Streets (8 Lanes)
    These are the main traffic ways, as for example Gravois Avenue, Market Street, Natural Bridge Road, Lindell Boulevard and Kingshighway. They are the dominant structural elements of the street plan. Their traffic capacity is unusually high since they permit three or four lanes of moving traffic in each direction. It is impractical to provide for streets with wider roadways because of weaving and complications encountered in traffic control.
  4. Express Highways
    When traffic volume becomes so great that it cannot be accommodated even on eight lane surface highways it becomes necessary to provide for uninterrupted traffic flows through grade separations in the form of depressed roadways in wide right-of-ways or by roadway elevation. An overall right-of-way width of 200 feet is generally considered a minimum standard. This is far more costly than street widening but a limited mileage can be justified where there is sufficient traffic volume.
  5. Express Highways-Interstate
    This is an expressway, which is on the Federal Interstate System to be constructed in part with Federal aid funds, in part with State Highway funds, and with some limited local cost participation.

Plate Number 18 shows the widths of roadways, sidewalks, planting strips and the placement of street lights and street trees for each of the above basic types of major streets and traffic ways.

The new Major Street Plan, Plate Number 19, has a total mileage of 301.7 which is 28 percent of the total 1100 miles of streets in St. Louis. The mileage in each of the five major classification is shown by Table Number IX.

Table Number IX
Mileage In Major Street Plan, January 1947
Type of Street Adequate Width a) Proposed Widening Proposed Extensions & Connections Total Mileage
Interstate Highways 8 or 10 Lanes 0.64 3.68 17.46 21.78
Expressways 6 or 8 Lanes 3.33 13.73 6.08 23.14
Major Streets 8 Lanes 36.51 23.98 1.21 61.70
Major Streets 6 Lanes 84.70 56.08 3.58 144.36
Secondary Streets 4 Lanes 48.20 1.10 1.44 50.74
Total Mileage 173.38 98.57 29.77 301.72

a) Includes both streets constructed and streets provided for by ordinance to be constructed.

St. Louis has never established building lines on major streets to require new building construction to set back to future street lines. Numerous American cities established such building lines many years ago for purposes of economy and to assure sufficient street capacity to meet future traffic needs. Building lines should now be established on all major streets of inadequate future width.

Because of the extremely heavy traffic between the business district and the western part of the city a new express highway is recommended which would follow approximately the line of Pine, Chestnut and Laclede to Grand Avenue, thence along Forest Park Boulevard to Kingshighway, thence along the west side of the Wabash Railroad through Forest Park to DeBaliviere Avenue and thence along the old Rock Island right-of-way to Skinker Boulevard. This would be a distinctly local expressway.

The Interstate Express Highways on the Federal system are U. S. 40 both east and west from St. Louis, and U. S. 66 both southwest and northeast from St. Louis, and U. S. 50 eastward from St.Louis. Recommended locations for these Interstate Highways have been the subject of much careful study and discussion with State and Federal officials, as well as with local groups. The proposed routes are shown on the Major Street Plan.

Federal funds will be available for improvement of certain major streets, which provide access between the interstate highways and all principal sections of the city. These "Urban Distributing Routes" may be either surface streets or they may eventually be separated grade expressways when the volume of traffic using them becomes sufficiently great. Three north-south routes (1) 18th Street, (2) Morganford-Tower Grove-Whittier-Adelaide, (3) Mc-Causland-Skinker-Hodiamont; and two east-west routes (1) Natural Bridge Road and (2) Gravois Avenue will be Urban Distributing Routes of the Interstate System in St. Louis. There will also be a loop surrounding the business district consisting of 3rd Street, Mullanphy Street, 18th Street and Chouteau Avenue. See Plate Number 20.

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