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Shrewsbury Mayor on South County Connector: Doesn't Want a Big Slab of Cement

The South County Connector would take traffic off Shrewsbury Avenue, but Mayor Buckley said it needs to be done right.

About 70 area residents gathered Wednesday at the Shrewsbury City Center to learn about the South County Connector, a proposed 4-lane road through Shrewsbury and Webster Groves as it connects Hanley Road in Maplewood and the River Des Peres Parkway.

Trailnet, the group known for promoting bicyling and hiking in St. Louis, hosted the meeting.

The group's Marielle Brown said the 4-lane road would be from 1.5 to 2 miles long. At intersections it would be up to seven lanes wide. It would be elevated through several points, with a full interchange at Interstate 44.

A 75-day public comment period on the project’s draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) began in early May. The design phase would begin if the county approves the EIS.

Shrewsbury Mayor Felicity Buckley said Shrewsbury has a difficult traffic issue, and closing Shrewsbury Avenue and having traffic shuttle directly from I-44 to River Des Peres Parkway and metrolink would help.

"But if it’s going to be done, it needs to be done right, and right should entail green space and medians and not just a big old slab of cement from here to kingdom come," she said.

A Shrewsbury resident who once lived in Webster Groves said the reason Webster Groves is a nice community, is because they resisted the extension of 170 going through Webster Groves for over 20 years.

He had a prediction too.

“It’s about the first phase of the I-170 extension,” he said. “It was going to go right through Webster right down Elm, now we have the same thing here in Shrewsbury.”

Maplewood resident Chris Allen doubted the return on investment for the $110 million project.

“Charlie Dooley’s office can’t tell me the answer. In the corporate world, return on investment is first; you don’t have return on investment you don’t get the money,” he said.

Jonathan Boesch, special assistant to the St. Louis County executive, was there, but had no comments to be published.

The St. Louis County traffic and highway department will hold a public hearing for the Draft EIS on May 30 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Shrewsbury City Center.

Daniel Meyer May 09, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Not having I-170 south is one if the most disappointing parts of St. Louis.
Chris Mallie May 10, 2013 at 12:49 AM
The impetus for the S. County connector is ultimately due to the flow of people from Jefferson County to Clayton. Yes, it would be used by StL County residents as well, but if you look at the traffic projections driving the connector, it's coming from the growth in the southern exurbs. I feel very strongly that StL County residents shouldn't bear the burden through the loss of neighborhoods, population, or overflowing residential streets. It's good that the River des Peres alternative overwhelmingly 'won' because it will affect the fewest residents in stable areas. But we need to stay vigilant. Mayor Buckley is right. Glad Trailnet is taking the lead here.

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