The vision for the Dorsett Road Corridor Project is to create a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly route that supports the City’s continued economic vitality and helps transform it into Maryland Heights’ “Main Street.” Building on its existing mobility and access, the corridor also inherently lends itself to a series of linked segments, forming a natural fit for placebased planning. These segments will be linked together with design elements, environmentally sensitive standards, and best practices throughout the corridor. In addition to its functional benefits, the project’s aesthetic improvements will establish an image for Maryland Heights.
The Dorsett Road corridor is a commercial/service corridor that transects a considerable portion of the City’s built environment. The road provides access to numerous shops, offices, restaurants, and other businesses. While portions functionally serve as the City’s downtown, the corridor is suburban in character and existing uses would not be considered dense enough to be a downtown. At present, most customers are drawn from a more regional service area than nearby neighborhoods and the area does not have as strong relationship with nearby single-family and multi-family residential neighborhoods.
There is a clear need for corridor planning that goes beyond past development review practices. However, since 2007 Maryland Heights has made a number of improvements along the corridor including a pedestrian plaza at Walgreens, pedestrian improvements at Dorsett Square, and new sidewalks along Dorsett Road leading to Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park.
The Dorsett Road corridor has a number of strengths, including:
- Proximity to dense residential neighborhoods
- Relatively narrow streets
- A diverse mixture of activities
- Proximity to local bicycle trails
- Recent site-level improvements to support increased connectivity and pedestrian access
A fundamental challenge for the corridor is its established land uses, which are largely auto-oriented or strip retail commercial. The sense of spatial definition is weak and opportunities for place making are limited. While there are sidewalks along much of Dorsett Road, pedestrian circulation remains limited, due both to a disconnected public pathway network and business entrances located away from the street, often separated by surface parking lots. Surrounding land uses include single-family residential at the eastern and western edges of the corridor, multi-family residential in the middle, and retail, office, and light industrial in the remaining areas. In order to facilitate efficient planning in the corridor, it has been divided into five segments, detailed on the following pages. Linking these segments will be design elements, pathways, and environmental best practices leading to improved place making throughout the corridor.
In Maryland Heights, the desire is to create a Great Street that is a desirable place to live and work, as well as to generate continued economic vitality. Planning efforts along this corridor would help the City:
- Make Dorsett Road representative of Maryland Heights though a diversity of uses and spaces, bound together by shared design elements and environmental best practices.
- Allow residents, employees, and visitors the opportunity to walk comfortably and safely along existing and new pathways, linked to businesses, homes, and recreational areas.
- Contribute to the economic vitality of Maryland Heights by creating destination spaces that attract visitors and businesses, while encouraging new growth and economic development opportunities.
- Provide balanced mobility for all transportation modes through safe and convenient travel by working to improve transit facilities (including enhanced bus shelters), and provide for an expanded pathway system and additional public facilities (such as bike racks) for all users of the corridor.
- Work towards creating a balance of travel experiences for those traveling through the Dorsett Road corridor, those traveling to the corridor, and those traveling within the corridor.
- Within each segment, create unique places that may become destinations themselves. These spaces will help define the unique character of Maryland Heights.
- Utilize green infrastructure, environmentally sensitive design standards, storm water best practices, and street trees and other plantings to create spaces that work in harmony with existing natural systems.