by Michael R. Allen
In 1902, St. Louis Mayor Rolla Wells appointed a commission to make recommendations for establishing a circumferential boulevard. The commission, led by landscape architect George Kessler, delivered a report calling for a wide and well-landscaped road connecting Carondelet, Tower Grove, Forest and O’Fallon parks, the major north side cemeteries and the north and south riverfront areas. Wells signed an ordinance in 1907 enacting the plan, but its realization was never full. Parts of the Kingshighway system exist, such as the southeast extension along Christy and Holly Hills boulevards as well as the northern memorial parkway from Martin Luther King Drive to Penrose Park.
Yet where Kingshighway was partially or never realized, the road is noisy, sometimes ugly and difficult to traverse on foot. Alas, that is the case at Tower Grove Park. There are traffic signals at Magnolia and Arsenal streets, but no intervening signal or stop sign for the rest of the western length of the park. Residents of Southwest Garden to the west have a tough time walking into Tower Grove Park.
Tower Grove Park’s other three sides do not have this problem. Stop signs on Magnolia and Arsenal streets allow for multiple safe crossings. On Grand Avenue, a busy north-south artery, there is a crosswalk and signal south of the main entrance at Pestalozzi street. Residents of neighborhoods on the north, east and south sides of Tower Grove Park can enter on foot without dodging traffic or having to walk to a park corner.
Dana Gray, Executive Director of the Southwest Garden Neighborhood Association, makes the case for a crosswalk in this video.