Fairoyal Drive Reconstruction

Project Summary
Many of our older concrete streets consist of 5" of concrete on top of compacted soil. Due to the extensive failures of the existing pavement, the concrete street and underlying soil will be removed, and a new cross-section will be constructed, consisting of 4" of rock and 8" of concrete.  Slabs will be tied together using epoxy-coated steel rebars. 

Please note that neither the existing nor new concrete is "colored" concrete.  While there is some limestone-based concrete around the city, most of the concrete contains Meramec sand and gravel, which provides the orange/brown look.  While the new concrete initially appears to be a bright white, over time, the color mellows and the top layer of cement wears off, revealing the brown sand and gravel underneath.

Project Update and Schedule
The 2020 Project will replace the remaining portion of Fairoyal Drive, from near East Royal down to Barrett Station. The entire street will be replaced, just as the north-south portion was replaced in 2018. While the street is being replaced, we are also planning drainage improvements along the north side of Fairoyal where groundwater consistently seeps across the sidewalk and into the street. An engineering consultant, HR Green, performed conceptual design and held an open house with affected residents in fall 2019, and they are now working on the final design. This is not a stormwater project, but a groundwater solution.

A project meeting took place Thursday 2/27 at 7pm in the Oak Room at the Lodge. A notification letter was sent to adjacent residents on 2/12.

The presentation is available for download, as is the animation showing the order in which work is planned.

The biggest topic of conversation during the meeting was the planned traffic calming features, known as neckdowns. We have received many complaints over the years about speeding on Fairoyal, which is not surprising considering the 38-foot street width, versus the standard street width of 26 feet throughout the city. People drive faster on wide-open streets. When a car is parked on a regular 26' street, the opening is around 18 feet, and that slows down traffic. If two cars approach at the same time, they take turns. The proposed neckdowns narrow the street to 20 feet, recreating that effect, but two cars can still pass in a 20-foot opening.

During the presentation, I referenced a Traffic Calming Toolbox that I created in 2017, so I've provided that document here as well. It provides background on traffic calming (the problem with stop signs), the pros/cons of various types, and examples around the St. Louis area.

The locations chosen for the neckdowns are strongly limited by drainage. Since streets have cross-slope, installing a neckdown in a flat area could cause ponding. Thus, I chose areas adjacent to curb inlets, which can capture the water, or on a strong running slope, which will maintain drainage. The discussion during the public meeting suggested installation of another neckdown halfway between Barrett Station and the existing stop sign/island. There was also concern during the public meeting about the reduction of on-street parking due to the neckdowns. We discussed solutions such as paving the area behind the curb at neckdowns with colored concrete or pavers, in order to maintain the status quo of on-street parking. The drawings in the presentation do not reflect those suggested changes at this time. 

On Sunday 3/1, I laid out the proposed neckdown locations with white paint and orange traffic cones. The existing island would be removed, but replaced with a neckdown and modified crosswalk striping. The stop sign would remain in place. I laid out one additional neckdown as requested in the meeting. Once again, I put it adjacent to curb inlets, to maintain drainage. For most of Fairoyal Drive, the driveways are offset from one side of the street to the other side, making it impossible to have a symmetrical neckdown as shown at the three original locations (another reason why they were selected).  Thus, the demonstration location at 2406-2409 had to be offset due to the driveways. I also adjusted the opening width based upon the offset, in accordance with design standards.

These layouts are installed as an illustration of what was proposed, and should not be seen as a final decision. We are open to discussion and input, but please make it civil discussion and input. The best way to provide feedback is by emailing smeyer@desperesmo.org. While these designs are new concepts for Des Peres, they are proven engineering standards that have been thought out. When I respond with facts and explanation, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but to provide the background that went into the design. 

I met with Aldermen Fitzpatrick and Kleinschmidt Monday 3/9, discussing the feedback we've received.  Thank you to all who thoughtfully considered the proposals and provided input. We will move ahead with the three original locations proposed in the presentation at the 2/27 meeting. More drawings will be posted as they develop.

This project will be bid out in early spring, with work scheduled to start after Memorial Day.

Updated 3/10/20