by Michael R. Allen
Renderings of the proposed Bottle District show that it will be pretty spotty on connectivity to the street grid. The aerial map shows that east-west streets through the site will not connect to Broadway, although walkways may follow the street lines to connect to Broadway.
This lack of connection will further the wall-like effect of the hulking America’s Center/Edward Jones Dome complex, which acts as a barrier between east and west between 7th and 9th streets and north and south between “Convention Plaza” and Cole Street. On top of this, the Dome is separated from the very wall-like I-70 overpass by only one (empty and unused landscaped) block. With the Bottle District project immediately north of the Dome, the wall effect will be severe.
With the Mississippi River Bridge proposed to the immediate north, this area could become a very scenic but ultimately difficult to navigate area. Visually, it may not seem intuitive to cross this area even on foot, and so people may not even try.
The burgeoning near north side needs greater connections with downtown. The last thing St. Louis needs in its downtown area is another superblock development. The developers need to redesign the plans to connect streets through the Bottle District.
That said, the architecture of the Bottle District raises other issues that I will address in a later essay.