Ahh, good old St. Louis civic coordination. Those who have actually bothered to read the dozens of "plans" set forth for the betterment of downtown St. Louis know that the 1999 Downtown Now! plan, like virtually every plan written since the Arch opened in 1966, advocates better connections of the Arch grounds and downtown St. Louis. Further, the Downtown Plan -- written well before much of the planning activity for the proposed new Mississippi River bridge -- notes that said bridge "provides opportunities to provide a gateway to the Downtown from the north and east, to more easily create a connection between the Arch Grounds and Downtown." So what do the current plans for the new river bridge call for? "Existing I-70 between the Poplar Street Bridge and the new interchange will be made part of Interstate 44. The I-44 designation will be extended north from its present ending point at I-55." Or, in other words, same old interstate, with absolutely no mention of achieving the long-stated goal of eliminating the aptly named "depressed section" that currently decapitates the Arch as the head of the Gateway Mall. Memo to civic "leadership": Wakey-wakey! You've got the perfect opportunity to come up with a creative fix for this perpetual mess. Is anybody paying attention?
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