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East 4th Street reconstruction means better walking and biking, but fewer trees

A nearly two-mile section of East 4th Street, from 6th Avenue East to Wallace Avenue, is scheduled for reconstruction in 2016-17. There are four proposed street design options, which include driving and parking lanes, sidewalks, boulevards and bicycle accommodations in different configurations.

Reconstruction involves involves cutting down a large but yet undetermined number of the trees along the route, according to Steve Krasaway, resident engineer with the St. Louis County Public Works Department.

The loss of trees has raised concern. “This would forever change the cherished character and value of the neighborhood,” said 4th Street resident Ann Redelf. “It appears that this will also impact the feeling of community and beauty of the neighborhood, not to mention increasing stormwater runoff, pollution, and heat while decreasing public safety.”

Krasaway acknowledged the loss of trees “could significantly change” the neighborhood, but said it’s necessary. The water and sewer system under the road is 100 years old and needs to be replaced. Reconstruction will affect the tree roots and cause them to die anyway if they’re not removed, he said.

A public meeting on the project is planned for Tuesday, June 3, 6-8 p.m. at the Greysolon Ballroom, 231 E. Superior St. But Krasaway said the meeting is to discuss the design options, not the tree issue, which can be covered in later meetings in the fall.

A meeting agenda and all the design options can be viewed at www.dsmic.org/4th.

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