Ever since the City of St. Louis approved a sales tax to fund public greenways in 2000, citizens and planners have imagined a bike and pedestrian path along the city’s main east-west corridor. Last week, that vision was brought to life as Stoss Landscape Urbanism was selected to design the Chouteau Greenway. Their proposed strip of green space and walkways will stretch from the iconic Gateway Arch at the city’s eastern end to downtown, from there extending to Foster Park, which sits adjacent to Washington University in St. Louis on the city’s western edge.
Stoss, a Boston- and Los Angeles-based firm, was selected to complete the design in a competition hosted by St. Louis-based non-profit Green Rivers Greenway. A jury of nine local and international planners, architects, and designers selected Stoss’ design, “The Loop + The Stitch,” pointing to the firm’s flexibility based on community input as central to their decision.
Although the greenway’s main vein, “The Loop,” will traverse universities, civic space, and parks, Stoss’ proposal also includes connection to the north-south axis of the city; that part of the greenway, “The Stitch,” links “neighbors to neighbors and the visitor to the everyday authenticity of St. Louis.” As Stoss explains of the project, “There are neighborhoods both north and south and stories of the city that deserve attention and unearthing, that are crying out for equitable consideration and meaningful engagement.”
All competition entries were reviewed by both the Chouteau Design Oversight Committee, a group of local partner organizations, and the Chouteau Community Advisory Committee, a group of forty St. Louisans who gave input on the projects throughout the competition. The finalists’ designs were made public at exhibitions at libraries and libraries and community centers throughout the city, and anyone could fill out a survey giving their feedback. Green Rivers Greenways received over 2,000 responses.
The project emerges as numerous other cities worldwide undertake intermodal connectivity projects, from rail-park conversions to bike highways. Stoss emphasizes their design as more than just a walkway; widenings at various points along The Stitch + The Loop will provide recreational space in addition to the mobility that the bike and pedestrian lanes will encourage. The first leg of the greenway between Boyle Avenue and Sarah Avenue will incorporate a MetroLink light rail station, funded by a TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.