I-70 Corridor in Downtown St. Louis

I-70 Corridor in Downtown St. Louis

The Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri places a modern masterpiece, Eero Saarinen’s 630-foot-high arch, in a historic 91-acre landscape by Dan Kiley. The park runs along the Mississippi River, separated from Downtown St. Louis by the 180-foot-wide gulch of Highway I-70. At the heart of MVVA’s reinvention of the park was easing the interstate highway’s stranglehold on the St. Louis riverfront.

MVVA deployed a range of urban design strategies to connect the city to the park. The most prominent was building a wide land bridge over the highway, allowing easy pedestrian access from Downtown and aligning St. Louis’s civic core with the Arch’s axis. Adjacent highway ramps had to be reconfigured to reduce local vehicular congestion and make room for the land bridge.

Four “lanterns” designed with James Carpenter Design Associates create a safer and more engaging experience for pedestrians and vehicles using highway underpasses and other constrained access points. Shade canopies were added to existing pedestrian bridges.

And finally, the removal of a large parking garage next to the highway created new connections to the north to Laclede’s Landing, the oldest neighborhood in St. Louis, encouraging visitors to the Arch to experience the city’s other attractions. These interventions have made the formerly isolated Gateway Arch National Park part of the city, which has created measurable benefits for the Downtown: the Arch’s 2.1 million visitors now stay in the city an average of half a day longer than they did before the project was completed.

Temporary ice skating rink in Luther Ely Smith Square