ST. LOUIS – Street barricades put in place 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 city workers have started shifting them around and the barricades may be on their way out, altogether.
With fans now allowed back at Busch Stadium for Cardinal baseball, barricades have been pushed back along Broadway just east of the ballpark to allow two lanes of traffic instead of funneling everything through a single lane, which is still the “set-up” on nearby 4th Street.
The barricades were a response to continued lawlessness in the streets of downtown seemingly drawn to the vacuum left by the Covid-19 shutdown.
“Something did need to be done but I don’t think the right solution was found,” Tiana Jones, owner of Luxe Fashionn clothing store on Washington Avenue said. “There is policing. There just needs to be more of it.”
Barricades are still moved every weekend to go from two lanes to no lanes of vehicle traffic Washington Avenue between 14th and Tucker outside of her store, she said, choking her business.
Still, residents and business owners say the barricades have done their job.
“While we know they are not pretty, they were effective for what we saw last year,” Kelli McCrary, executive director of the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District said.
“They worked,” Director of Operations for the City of St. Louis Todd Waelterman said. “They provided safety so people aren’t drag racing. They eliminated the drag racing and the real wild things that happened on the street.”
“I’ll just be happy when they move the barricades,” Jones said.
“We are actively looking at how to make adjustments and how to implement a different option,” said McCrary.
“All the stuff we have out, we know it’s ugly,” Waelterman said. “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.”
About 50,000 people were expected to visit over the weekend, just 25% of what would have been about 200,000 “pre-pandemic”, Waelterman said.
In response, there will likely be more barricade shifting in the coming days as plans are developed with residents and business owners to move them out for good.