Students respond to Skinker, Forest Park construction

| Contributing Reporter

Orange cones and construction tape line the sidewalks of Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway, obstructing the way for joggers, bikers and pedestrians alike.

Like Melville Avenue and Delmar Boulevard, Skinker and Forest Park Parkway are also being repaved and widened as part of the Centennial Greenway project. The construction will connect Creve Coeur Park and Forest Park with an 18-mile path for pedestrians and bikers.

The construction sites on the sidewalks are supposed to renovate and improve the paths to allow for easier access. At the intersection of Skinker and Forest Park, the sidewalks on all four corners are completely blocked off for the installation of handicap ramps. Similar construction sites can be found all along Forest Park Parkway.

Much of the response about the construction has been negative, as the construction not only poses an inconvenience for pedestrians but also increases the danger to pedestrians who must now walk alongside moving traffic.

“There is construction all over Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park. They made it really hard to walk around the construction sites,” said Genna Morton, a junior and a daily runner in Forest Park.

“There is a part of Forest Park Parkway where you have to go onto the street. That is really dangerous for any pedestrians who have to cross,” she said.

Although the general consensus is that the sidewalk situation can be a nuisance, there have been disagreements on how much of a danger the construction on these roads potentially poses for the pedestrians and joggers.

Members of the University’s cross country team have said that the construction does not bother them too much, even though they have been the dealing with the hindrances more than most other students. The team runs in Forest Park every week.

“The cross country team does the six-mile loop around Forest Park. There’s some construction around the three-mile mark, but it’s not a problem if you just run on the grass,” said Chris Brennan, a senior on the team. “You are an idiot if you get hurt running in Forest Park…all you have to do is not run in the construction zones,” he said.

Peter Bush, another senior on the team, expressed a similar sentiment.

“It’s a little bit inconvenient, but you can just run around the sites. I think they are building a better course that will be better for running,” he said. “I don’t think it’s that dangerous.”

However, students who live off campus find that the construction is putting them in dangerous situations.

“Now it’s a safety hazard whether you’re biking or walking at night because you can’t see the big holes in the ground, and if you’re biking, you have to be in the street, and that is dangerous if there’s cars,” junior Mariana Oliver said.

Oliver also felt that there were not any visible improvements to the sidewalks, which made the changes all the more frustrating.

“I don’t even know what they ended up changing because the sidewalks looked the same. It would have been nice if they expanded the part of the sidewalk that’s flat so more bikes have room to get onto the sidewalks, so I don’t even know what the purpose was.”

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