ST. LOUIS, MO/March 29, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) There’s not much to see when one drives down West Florissant Avenue these days. Few trees line it and there is usually an abundance of trash and other eyesore-related elements to the street. Just south of Interstate 270 in north St. Louis County, West Florissant Ave is a wide road, with four lanes and center turn lane, traveled by about 28,000 vehicles on the average weekday. Sidewalks along the road end abruptly, not helping pedestrians safely get from one point to another. Bumpy surfaces clog both the road and the walkway, making the entire experience a loud and inconvenient one. To make matters worse, there are no bike lanes, and marked street crossings aren’t always together.
Some attribute the degradation of Florissant Avenue to the violent protesting and rioting that broke out after Ferguson police Office Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, in 2014. When the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson, more damage ensued as several buildings were destroyed and burnt. The area has collectively worked hard to rebuild region over the past few years, but is need of more assistance if Florissant is to be a burgeoning area.
One of the goals to send the Great Streets project underway for the revitalization is to combat the negative media attention placed on the corridor that hurts its image, according to a project description. “It’s strictly a street and pavement. There’s no greenery. The lighting is not that great,” said Reggie Jones, mayor of Dellwood.
Funding began before Michael Brown’s death, but was set to the side during the chaos. Today, there’s enough funding to study the portion of West Florissant from the Norfolk Southern Railroad near Ferguson Avenue to Stein Avenue. That part of the project is only in the preliminary phase, but it’s a good sign nonetheless.