Great Rivers Greenway rejects Maplewood proposal

The Deer Creek Trail extension, through Maplewood, has been effectively cancelled by Great Rivers Greenway after delays by Maplewood’s city council in approving the project jeopardized a federal grant of $1.5 million awarded to GRG to build the trail.

This month, GRG was already beyond a federal deadline to show progress on the project, waiting for Maplewood’s decision to OK the route alignment, according to St. Louis 24th Ward Alderman Scott Ogilvie. GRG’s preferred route was along Greenwood Boulevard.

Maplewood council members at a meeting on Feb. 12 OK’d the northern route, along Greenwood, following City Manager Marty Corcoran’s suggestion that he would send a letter to GRG with the city’s stipulations.

Among those stipulations were, if possible, routing the trail underground at Oxford and Big Bend, multiple design solutions for safety at the Greenwood/Sutton intersection, and parking and trail width requirements.  See Maplewood’s letter to GRG here.

Great Rivers Greenway responded on Feb. 20 that ‘the project is not ready to progress on the original timeline within the original scope of the project,’ and considering Maplewood’s requirements outlined in the letter they will decline the federal grant and release the project from the grant deadline. See the GRG letter to Mayor Greenberg and the city council.

GRG said in the letter that if Maplewood wants to reconsider its demands and proceed with a new planning effort to contact them no later than April 30, 2018, and that any issues in the Maplewood letter needs to be resolved before that date, ‘otherwise current funding will be reprogrammed for projects that are ready and waiting to move forward..’

See also: Great Rivers Greenway giving Maplewood a 2nd chance


16 thoughts on “Great Rivers Greenway rejects Maplewood proposal

  1. I do not know the full extent of what has to be done to build this mile long stretch but it seems like $1.6 million is a lot of money for a mile of bike paths. What are they doing exactly for that amount of money? I do not think they are buying out a lot of homes or businesses are they? Pavement and some landscaping, some roadway striping at crossings, crossing signs?

  2. I live, walk, and bike (enthusiatically but cautiously) in the area, and I’m not really sure what problem(s) this greenway was intended to solve. It is not hard to get around by bike (or on foot) on these streets as they are (except for the hills perhaps, and the proposed routes were going to be hilly). That’s in sharp contrast to the Wabash Greenway, where before it was built, I once considered biking there at a busy time, decided that I would probably die, and went back home instead. I don’t understand the kerfuffle about crossing Big Bend at Oxford. I do it pretty frequently by bike now, to get to and from the Deer Creek Greenway into Webster Groves. It’s true that that intersection should be improved for non-motorized users, since right now there are only pedestrian signals on three sides, which is a hassle. An under- or overpass is ridiculous overkill, but I pretty much feel that way about the project as a whole.

  3. Concern over Greenwood Greenway running along Greenwood. Railroad tracks cut us off, River Des Peres cuts us off, McCausland/Wabash cut us off. We really are an “Island” with only one major street, Greenwood, to get to our homes via the Canterbury underpass or over Sutton at Greenwood.
    McCausland/Wabash can only quickly reach us via Canterbury since many side streets were cut off due to the greenway. And that is city which is rarely called for by Maplewood emergencies.
    The McCausland/Wabash Greenway cut off several side streets which caused more traffic to use McCausland to Canterbury, Wilmington to St. Elmo, Manhattan to Kensington, to become much busier residential streets.
    Along Greenwood it is zoned light commercial which means there is traffic on that street mainly during working hours but some business at night. During the day, commercial trucks are unloading and loading along that stretch and you may have to wait a little or for now, be able to go around. It’s an inconvenience rather than a problem, right now.
    If commercial trucks, trash trucks, anything is blocking the street, people will take an alternate route which is going to be Kensington, Sussex, even more for St. Elmo, Piccadilly, Commonwealth, Cambridge, Oxford & Manhattan, the residential streets in our “Island”. The residential streets are FULL of KIDS! We don’t need more traffic on residential streets; keep traffic to the zoned commercial area which is Greenwood and zoned commercial, not residential!
    People who work along Greenwood, or coming as customers, utilize a lot of the parking that is available in this light commercial area along the tracks. If parking isn’t available on Greenwood, then they will park on the residential side streets which mean residents have limited parking & be subjected to more traffic, people & trash impeding their residential area.
    As for the one person who said cars were doing 50 along Greenwood, did you have a radar detector to know this? Yes, there is that occasional idiot but for the most part, no, cars aren’t doing 50. The Police Department would have the facts on this. And anyone who knows Maplewood knows the police do monitor and catch more people running stop signs at Canterbury than speeding along there.
    Greenwood serves its purpose, to provide an egress to the residents in the Greenwood area “Island”. If you change it, like McCausland/Wabash, people will take alternate routes and will be speeding and running stop signs thru our residential area and not looking for children. Canterbury, St. Elmo & Kensington prove this. They have become very busy morning and evening rush hour streets to avoid using McCausland/Wabash. I’m one of them!
    If there is an emergency, we want to know that emergency vehicles can get to our “Island” without hesitation which is via Greenwood. Greenwood is for commercial use, not a greenway that will cause more residential traffic. Wabash is a lesson learned in what not to do. Don’t cut us off!

  4. Building an underpass sounds like it would have been a bit much anyway. Could have just made a safer crosswalk. And, in the process, demolished that junky little liquor store at Oxford and Big Bend. What an eye sore!

  5. Council, stand up for transparency. The city manager making up his own (and frankly embarrassing) plan after such effort for public input is disheartening. We elect members of the council to make decisions on our behalf. The city manager isn’t one of them. There’s a right and wrong way of doing things. This is an excellent example of the latter.

    • I’m not sure I understand the concern in this case about transparency in this case. From what was reported here on 40South a week ago, it sounded like the city manager made the recommendation publicly during the meeting. Also, the city manager is approved by the council (therefore an indirect appointee of the citizens) to handle the day to day operation of the city. He arguably holds the most responsibility in the city and requires a bit of freedom to make decisions since the council only votes once a month.

      It was also reported that there was a lot of negativity voiced during the council meeting. While there might have been plenty of support in previous meetings or in other venues, the council may have been trying to negotiate. Frankly, why shouldn’t they? They haven’t lost out on any money yet. What harm was there to ask for the project to be done in a way they felt was best for all of its citizens?

      • Joe, at the meeting, the manager’s recommendation that he submit a plan with stipulations was unsolicited by the council and the stipulations weren’t presented in a public forum. For me that’s a transparency issue. You’re right, the city manager is responsible for day-to-day operations. In this case, he acted like another member of the council, at least in my opinion based from where I was sitting. The vision of our city should be set by residents. For me, how the Greenway was ultimately decided on by council undermined that.

  6. I agree 100% with all of David’s comments. Those were my exact thoughts (albeit expressed with much more anger and exasperation) while reading this article. Shame on you, council members. Get it together, or get out of the way!

  7. I am truly disappointed by our city council. It appears they have dragged their feet and then made unreasonable requests via our letter (who is going to pay for the underpass under Big Bend — have you ever ridden Grant’s Trail which crosses multiple busy roads but does so in a safe manner using traffic control mechanism) resulting in a likely lost golden opportunity to improve our City.

    We have an incredible opportunity to improve our city (Maplewood) utilizing outside resources (a federal grant and CRG funding) to the tune of $3M. This greenway will better connect our City to our neighbors, encourage more biking and use of our outdoor space, and further entrench us as a leader in St. Louis as a Green Power Community.

    This is reminiscent of the debate over the Craft Beer Cellar in 2016 where the Maplewood City council took too long to act – before ultimately approving the liscense – only to see the deal fall through because no landlord can rightfully sit on a vacant property from July through September while our city leaders debate. That was a missed opportunity for our City and I view this as another missed opportunity for our City.

    I was not able to attend the Council meeting but amongst my neighbors, I have only heard support for building this greenway.

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