Concrete barricades limiting reckless driving in downtown St. Louis shifted, may be gone for good soon

ST. LOUIS – Street barricades to combat reckless driving and gunfire in downtown St. Louis are now on the move.

Critics say the large concrete block barricades are eyesores that make downtown St. Louis look “threatening.”

Fox 2 has learned that city workers have started moving them and the barricades altogether could be on the way out.

With fans now back at Busch Stadium for cardinal baseball, barricades have been pushed back along Broadway east of the baseball stadium to allow for two lanes rather than a single lane that is still the “facility” nearby 4th Street.

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The barricades were a response to the ongoing lawlessness in the downtown streets, apparently drawn to the vacuum left by the Covid-19 shutdown.

“Something had to be done, but I don’t think the right solution was found,” said Tiana Jones, owner of Luxe Fashionn clothing store on Washington Avenue. “There is police work. There just has to be more of it. “

Barricades are still being moved every weekend to switch from two-lane to no-lane vehicle traffic on Washington Avenue between the 14th and Tucker outside her store, she said, choking her business.

Still, local residents and business owners say the barricades have done their job.

“While we know they’re not pretty, they were effective for what we saw last year,” said Kelli McCrary, executive director of the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District.

“You worked,” said Todd Waelterman, director of operations for the City of St. Louis. “They made sure people didn’t drag racing. You got rid of drag racing and the really wild things that happened on the street. “

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“I’ll only be happy if you move the barricades,” said Jones.

“We are actively looking at how to make adjustments and implement another option,” said McCrary.

“All of the stuff we got out, we know it’s ugly,” said Waelterman. “We’re looking at more of a gating system … we’re a very fluid operation and we’re ready to pull them all when the time comes.”

It was expected that around 50,000 people would be visiting over the weekend, only 25% of the roughly 200,000 “prepandemic,” said Waelterman.

In response, there is likely to be a greater shift in the barricades in the coming days as plans are developed with residents and business owners to take them off for good.

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