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A Day Without Interstates

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Much to my surprise, last Friday became an interesting experiment in regards to the efficacy–or even need–of interstates cutting through cities such as St. Louis. On Thursday, I came out to my car, got in, drove twenty feet and realized that my left front tire was completely flat. With the help of a colleague, we placed the spare tire on the car and I was on my way–at speeds no greater than 50 mph. So to put it bluntly, instead of driving on portions of I-170 and Highway 40 to get home, I had to take surface roads out to my Exile in Chesterfield. I chose Clayton, and before I knew it, it only took me an extra five minutes to get home strictly by driving from St. Louis out to the corner of Kehrs Mill and Clarkson. Heck, I didn’t even need the interstate, I thought.

On Friday, I headed out eastbound on Clayton and took it all the way to Skinker and then up to the Art Museum. It took me only five minutes more to get there, completely without interstate. On the way home on Friday, it only took me a few more minutes than my parents, who took I-44, I-270 and Highway 40 the entire way.

It makes me wonder if the interstates are really needed for the vast majority of St. Louis residents. Are the interstates really just helping turn Lincoln and Warren Counties into suburbs of St. Louis (a ridiculous but real threat)?

2 Comments

  1. Not sure how serious you're being here, but the problem of scale would pop up pretty quickly and brutally if the interstates suddenly were to disappear. Heck, I've heard traffic on 141 going south to 44 is unbelievable in the mornings—imagine what that would be like today if they hadn't done the major upgrade from 2-lane road to 6-lane divided…

  2. That stretch of 141 is a great example the mistakes highway planners can make. There are WAY to many traffic lights for piddly little side roads in between Big Bend and I-44. 90% of those lights should be removed and replaced with outer roads and overpasses. 141 and I-44 should have been a full interchange, not the current mess of several poorly coordinated traffic lights–not to mention the flooding.

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