St. Louis barricading some downtown streets to combat violence

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ST. LOUIS – The famed streets of Downtown St. Louis were barricaded in some parts Thursday to combat ongoing mayhem and violence.

The trendy residential, business, and entertainment district on Washington Avenue was completely closed to vehicle traffic from 14th Street to Tucker Avenue with lane restrictions on other major routes across Downtown.

Residents’ videos show rapid gunfire and wrong-way driving on Broadway right outside the new, high-end, One Cardinal Way lofts in Ballpark Village; ATV riders speeding between lines of cars in traffic on Washington Avenue; and drivers burning rubber at intersections and in parking lots.

Seventeen-year-old Sierra Ward of DeSoto was killed early Monday morning when a speeding driver ran a red light and hit a pickup truck with her in the back, police said.

Mayor Lyda Krewson and police have responded with the barricades completely closing certain blocks and parking lots plus restricting lanes on parts of Washington Avenue, Market Street, Broadway.

Residents, workers, and business owners don’t like the look or the inconvenience but say it’s about time the city responded to the lawlessness that’s plagued downtown for months.

“I don’t think it’s the best thing we could have for business,” said Bob Wilmoth, owner of City Bar at Tucker and Washington, also a Downtown resident. “It’s probably a necessary item for the moment. Hopefully we can get that under control and everything will kind of get back to normal.”

“I do understand, hopefully this will help but it’s going to hurt (business), too,” said Pamela Wade, who lives and works at cookie shop Downtown.

“It’s not the most beautiful but if it stops the drag racing and stuff, makes it safer down here I’m all for it,” said resident Dylan Essner, who said he was moving out of Downtown. “We live in the apartments across from the parking lot where there was a gunfight. There were bullets our building and the building next to us. It’s just not worth it at that point.”

Neither Mayor Krewson nor police would release a specific list of barricade locations but city officials said they would be recurring Thursdays through Sundays until further notice. More police officers would also be patrolling Downtown, police said.

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