Makeover coming to prime stretch of Forest Park road used for parking near zoo

Dec 11, 2016

Another long-awaited construction project is coming to Forest Park.

The southwest entrance to the park off Skinker Boulevard is closing Wednesday for six months so workers can rebuild the sections of Government Drive and Wells Drive leading up to the St. Louis Zoo’s paid parking lots.

The roads will be repaved and crosswalks, sidewalks and street lights will be added.

“If you were to go to the zoo a couple of months ago, you might have parked on Government and Wells and if you had a baby stroller, you had a little bit of a struggle to find a smooth surface to head down Government towards the zoo,” said Stephen Schenkenberg, communications director for Forest Park Forever.

“There’s some kind of sidewalk in certain places, in other parts you kind of have to hop onto the grass onto a kind of dirt path. And all of those issues will be resolved.”

Schenkenberg said he’s received letters and emails for years asking if Forest Park Forever planned to improve the area. It’s been on a project wish list for more than a decade.

“People will not only have a smooth road, a completely rebuilt road, but there’s more than two miles of new sidewalks as part of this plan, there’s places for visitors to stop and get oriented, maybe take a breather on their way somewhere,” Schenkenberg said. “It’s just going to be a much safer and more enjoyable experience.”

Portions of Wells and Government drives in Forest Park will be closed until Summer 2017.
Credit Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

The southern entrances to the park from Tamm Avenue and Hampton Avenue will remain open during the project, providing alternate routes to the zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum.

The improvements, which are part of the second phase of Forest Park Forever’s capital campaign funded through private donations, will cost $5.7 million.

Government and Wells Drives are slated to reopen in June.

The photo above and the rendering below show how this roundabout will be rebuilt to ease traffic for both cars and pedestrians.
Credit Provided | Forest Park Forever

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