Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly linked to a report that did not include a rendering show the option the city of Richmond Heights will pursue in redeveloping Dale Avenue. The link has been updated to reflect the correct document. The drawing in the upper-right corner of page 54 is the plan the city intends to follow, public relations coordinator Irene Johnson stated in an e-mail. A screengrab of the rendering is attached to this article.
As spring approaches, Richmond Heights is looking to make approximately $2 million in improvements on Dale Avenue between Laclede Station Road and Big Bend Boulevard.
The project is expected to provide additional bike lanes, landscaping improvements, public pedestrian spaces, traffic-calming solutions and 45-degree parking in some commercial areas. Initial planning for the project began in 2008, according to the city's Web site.
“Once construction starts, it should only take six to eight months to complete,” said Irene Johnson, the city's public relations coordinator.
The main goal of the project is to revitalize Dale Avenue and to make it a more pleasant place to live and do business, said David Reary building commissioner and zoning administrator for Richmond Heights.
“Dale is not a bad street, but on the other hand it’s not a street that has prospered, either," Reary said. "It has a mixture of commercial and residential uses side by side, and it’s never really prospered. So we were looking at ways to create an environment that would help out Dale Avenue.”
In the past, residents of Dale Avenue have expressed concerns about the heavy, fast-paced traffic that flows up and down the street, Reary said. Those concerns contributed to the city's decision to move forward with the plans. The installation of roundabouts "should help eliminate these concerns,” he said.
In addition to the roundabouts, bumpers will benefit bike enthusiasts and improve pedestrian safety. The landscaped, curbed areas will shorten the distance a pedestrian needs to travel in order to cross the street. “This will make it a little easier to traverse and a little less intimidating for pedestrians,” Reary said.
Dale Avenue will remain open through construction, but motorists should expect some delays at times, he said. But he added that it will be well worth the sacrifice.
“We will also be creating some angled parking to potentially help the local businesses facilitate their customers," Reary said. "We are hoping to attract more community-based businesses like coffee shops and things of that nature.” The project should also help residents and motorists connect more easily with MetroLink by offering a less congested avenue for travel.
The city is projected to receive $1.5 million in federal grant money and will look into allocating some of its capital funds for the remaining $500,000. “We have no doubts that we will receive the necessary funds for the project,” Johnson said.
No other meetings about Dale Avenue are scheduled until the project "gets closer to construction time,” at which point the city will issue information about meeting times and dates. Johnson also said the only concerns that have arisen from residents so far have been about the potential that property owners would lose land if the road were to be widened.
“Residents along with corridor did not want their front yards taken to widen Dale. As of right now, the city is not widening Dale Avenue,” Johnson said.
For visuals depicting how Dale Avenue will look after construction is complete, go to the Web site for Richmond Heights.