By 2015, a visit to the tallest national monument in the country will be a much improved experience.
So say the folks behind the CityArchRiver 2015 project, a public-private partnership effort to redevelop the area around the St. Louis Gateway Arch -- with some of the road work beginning later this summer. And the organization has just released a video showing viewers up close what the Arch grounds will actually look like in two years when the massive redesign is complete.
For starters, pedestrians will, for the first time ever, be able to walk from the Old Courthouse to the Arch grounds and to the riverfront on one continuous "greenway" path.
See also: - Gateway Arch 2015: New Details in Massive Redesign, Riverfront Plans (PHOTOS) - Photos: 50 Years After Arch Construction Began, A Look Back At Its Creation - Photos: Giant Spider Takes Over the Arch!
Here's the informational "fly-through" video, which includes some interviews with (real!) tourists who love the Arch...but do agree that it'd be nice if visitors didn't have to dart across a highway to get to it. The latter half of the footage gives a close-up view of what the final product will look like with side-by-side comparisons of its current state.
"The Arch grounds is separated from the city that surrounds it by 180 feet of noise, concrete and highway signage," Ryan McClure, communications director for the foundation, tells Daily RFT. "I watch everyday that fear in people's eyes as they cross that tangle of infrastructure."
He explains, "It's a real issue...and the solution is there. We've got the funding."
The entire transformation -- of which the park over the highway is just one part -- is slated for completion by October 2015, in time for the 50th anniversary of the Gateway Arch's completion.
The Missouri Department of Transportation will begin roadway improvements in August, he says.
The redevelopment will still allow vehicles to get in and out of downtown, McClure says, but will greatly enhance the pedestrian experience.
"We hear it all the time. It's very difficult, it's intimidating, it's dangerous," he says. "People have been saying that for decades.... This region has been talking about ways to find a solution to that problem for decades and we finally have the solution and it's going to happen."
He adds, "For the first time, the structure that defines our region will finally be connected to it."
Continue for more renderings.