A Transfer of Authority: a Little Bit of Delmar Boulevard
Mayor Shelley Welsch's blog.
On July 1, 2012 our new fiscal year begins. This will be FY2013. By that date the City Council is expected to have approved a new budget. The new budget will have an unexpected, and quite honestly not totally welcome, addition in the public works budget.
On Monday, April 23, St. Louis County advised us that it wants to divest itself of Delmar Boulevard from the Lion Gate east to the City limits. The County does not want to maintain any roadway where the trolley will run. The County says that this section will no longer be an arterial road – the County does maintain arterial roads throughout the County.
St. Louis County does have the authority to turn over ownership and maintenance of the road to us.
So, we will pick up another stretch of road that we will have to maintain from July 1 onward. St. Louis County has agreed to maintain the traffic signals at a time and material cost, as it does with three other signals.
I always try to look at the positive. So, here goes. As per Public Works and Parks Director Rich Wilson, ”This will give us the opportunity to permit the trolley and make sure the construction is handled to our satisfaction and to insist that section of Delmar be milled and overlaid before the Trolley starts. We may also be able to eliminate some of the traffic signals and reduce our costs.”
The idea of divesting part of Delmar Boulevard has been percolating since I took office back in 2010 – and perhaps before then. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, during a recent meeting of the Transportation Development District board for the trolley project, stressed to me that the issue had to be handled before trolley construction begins – and that might happen at the end of this year. University City and STL County staff starting talking again – and the decision on Delmar was made on Monday.
Our budget is tight so, of course, I wish we did not have to take on this additional responsibility. But, the STL County budget is tight too, and I do understand the County’s wish to use its arterial road funds for true arterial roads. Times have changed, and roads have changed, since the County first took control of Delmar Boulevard many, many years ago. This is our new reality. We will make this work for the City of University City, and the thousands and thousands of people who visit this part of our City for food, drink and fun.