There's 40 percent more retail space than the market will support along Manchester Road within a declining economy, former Ellisville mayor Matt Pirrello told approximately 100 luncheon attendees at Wednesday's monthly meeting of the West St. Louis County Chamber of Commerce at . "There are too many other (shopping and service) alternatives, and we need to improve the access, management and safety of the entire Manchester corridor," he said.
The improvement plan was deemed the "Great Streets Initiative." Authorities have worked on the Manchester Road plan since 2009, but a website that reveals detailed schematics and timelines is about to be unveiled, said Pirrello, who nows serves as Ellisville councilmember of Ward 1.
Pirrello, along with other representatives of the cities of Ellisville, and Ballwin, are working with the chamber, Missouri Department of Transportation and East-West Gateway Council of Governments to execute the plan to revamp the overall setup and management of the area's major thoroughfare: Manchester Road which turns into Missouri Route 100 as it reaches Wildwood.
The Great Streets Initiative stems from the interests of developing economic sustainability for the West St. Louis County-Manchester Road area while creating safe, interesting and memorable places for consumers. Pirrello on Wednesday said he was glad to communicate what all the plan "will bring to the area."
From speaking with business owners, city leaders and consumers, the Great Streets group know the main problems are considered to be:
- Manchester roadway is not configured for multi-use options.
- There aren't really "people places," or spots at which it is easy to stay, relax, enjoy and people watch.
- There are an increasing number of accidents along this corridor.
- The roadway lacks character.
- It needs aesthetic upgrades.
- The Manchester corridor has no identity and no revitalization plan driving its future.
Specifically, Pirrello told chamber meeting attendees there were too many vacant and underutilized buildings along the Manchester corridor. "It lacks biking access and we need business retention and recruitment plans."
He cited a pattern of businesses choosing or relocating to alternative shopping districts, such as the Chesterfield Valley, Manchester Highlands or Fenton's Gravois Bluffs.
Great Streets Initiative team members believe the new effort can accommodate more business uses in the area while increasing and improving traffic flow. They pledge to promote "pedestrian infusion." Pirrello said they also want to give the corridor an identity and create consistent design themes within each city incorporated into the long roadway.
Editor's Note: Return to Patch for a second article about tactical new steps planned for the Manchester corridor through the Great Streets Initiative.