I'm a big fan of the recent landscaping improvements that have been added to the grassy areas alongside 55/70 at the Memorial Drive exit. They really help spruce up what was previously a drab area and help make for a nicer entrance into downtown.
This got me thinking about other ways to improve downtown's front doorstep.
Obviously, renovating the decrepit Powell Square Building would have the greatest impact, but who knows when that will ever come about?
One relatively cost-efficient way to welcome motorists to downtown would be to paint the railroad trestle that crosses over 55.70 immediately south of the Memorial Drive exit (and immediately north of Powell Square). It was once painted to read "Route of the Eagles" by Union Pacific, but most of it has been painted over with a solid swath of black (a similar trestle can be found on Kingshighway, near Fyler).
Why not give this trestle a fresh, colorful look? Paint it in red, yellow and blue to make it look like the city of St. Louis flag, along with "Welcome to Downtown St. Louis." Perhaps a philanthropic organization such as the Danforth Foundation or the Gateway Foundation could help pay for the makeover.
Trailnet recently converted a retired railroad trestle over Interstate 44 in Kirkwood to a walking/biking trail and painted it bright green - the results are amazing. Something similar would look incredible downtown and could be done relatively easily. The only difference between the downtown trestle and the one in Kirkwood is that the downtown one is still in use and would likely require permission from Union Pacific.
What do you think?