by Michael R. Allen
This video — I apologize for the shakiness — captures what I hope is my last walk under the Locust Street sky bridge at St. Louis Centre. I can think of no place downtown that fills me with greater dread, and I am anticipating the demolition of the bridge here more than the bridge over Washington. While the Washington bridge blocked the more prominent and cohesive view, it also crossed a street with enough existing pedestrian traffic to absorb some of its ill effects. The Locust bridge may well have been a wall to grade level for its chilling effect on downtown. With the Railway Exchange Building sale closed, the demolition of this bridge is now ready to go.
Of course, the shift in obscenities from an enclosed downtown mall to a parking garage is a downward fall. Any grace in the loss of the sky bridges is at least partly mitigated by the unimaginative new use of St. Louis Centre. I know it took some imagination for the city to extricate itself from the Pyramid’s tax increment financing program for the One City Center tower, a truly atrocious deal, but better solutions may have been at hand. What’s done is done, and with the heavy, ugly bridges both gone, downtown will be much improved. A garage at the mall can — and should — be undone.