I know that many people, including business owners along Natural Bridge Avenue, have spoken out and criticized the “road diet” that has considerably narrowed the major thoroughfare through a multitude of North St. Louis neighborhoods. There were concerns that it would negatively affect business, and I would not ever claim to know how to run a business in a low income neighborhood. I do know that the bad publicity from multiple high speed collisions that killed innocent, hardworking and law-abiding citizens will do more to keep customers away than a road diet any day, though.
The road diet also allowed me the opportunity for the first time to really look at the beautiful houses along the south side of Fairground Park, which is a large greensward in North St. Louis.
While there is some abandonment, the vast majority of the housing, which is a mix of single family houses but mostly two-family flats is in great shape. High speed and reckless traffic did nothing to help the homeowners along this stretch of Natural Bridge.
Since Natural Bridge Avenue is technically State Route 115, MoDot was in charge of the of the road diet. Apparently they forgot to budget for landscaping in the median, as it was weed-choked for the stretch I visited.
To put it in simple terms, this street used to be absolutely terrifying to drive on, and I would never, ever travel on it, but now I can visit and enjoy the architecture. The “hot heads” have been defanged by the changes.