In 2020, East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG) initiated the eighth round of Great Streets demonstration projects with the Alton, Frenchtown, and Mascoutah projects. The round eight projects were funded through federal transportation planning grants and local funds provided by the project sponsor.
The City of Alton, Illinois is a historic river town on the banks of the Mississippi about 15 miles north of St. Louis City. The project area, located in downtown, is a diverse 1.5-mile stretch along the Broadway corridor, extending east from the 3rd Street dining and entertainment district (west of Piasa Street) to Monument Avenue. EWG, collaborating with the City of Alton and several key stakeholders, facilitated a planning process to support the local community, catalyze and guide investments, refine community governance tools, and reinforce downtown Alton as a distinct regional destination. The Alton community weighed in repeatedly to ensure that the end document addresses their priorities of quality community space, desirable economic development, mobility and safety for everyone (walkers, cyclists, and drivers), and environmental best practices. The end result highlights the necessity of walkable urbanism to the traditional city development patterns. It establishes a refreshing street environment, better connects the neighborhoods and Broadway corridor to the banks of the Mississippi, defines a local creative economy, and capitalizes on Alton’s potential as a regional greenway hub.
The Frenchtown neighborhood lies just north of the historic Main Street district in downtown St. Charles, Missouri. Within it, the project area extends 1.3 miles along North 2nd Street, between Clark Street and Tecumseh Street, then connects to Interstate 370 along North 3rd Street. The area boasts historic building stock, riverside parks, regional and state greenways, and affordability within a growing county. EWG collaborated with St. Charles City, St. Charles County, and numerous stakeholders to facilitate a public planning process to build upon Frenchtown’s strengths and address significant challenges related to flood plain conditions and disinvestment. The recent transition of the corridor from state highway to city street presented great opportunities to improve pedestrianism, integrate environmental best practices, and enhance the quality of the space. The plan document will guide coming investments, public and private, in order to strengthen, not overwhelm the existing community.
The City of Mascoutah, Illinois is a growing community located about 30 miles east of St. Louis City. The project area focused primarily on the Main Street corridor in downtown Mascoutah, extending from 6th Street east to Mine Road. The middle half of the study area extended south to State Street and north to include Church Street. The plan also included development of a bicycle and pedestrian network for the entire community. Project consultants developed a series of white papers which EWG, collaborating with city staff, used as the basis for the Mascoutah Great Streets Strategic Planning Report. The goal for the planning report was to create a concise practical tool that the community could use to make Main Street a great street. The planning process relied on community input, an examination of existing conditions (e.g. transportation, land use and urban design, environmental, economic), and the identification of strategies for improving the corridor and potential funding sources to support the improvements. The process led the project team to identify specific recommendations to improve connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists, create an identity along Main Street, revitalize businesses, increase commercial activity, enhance the neighborhoods around the project corridor, and to increase green infrastructure.