There is a lot of work and planning taking place at the Gateway Arch grounds. The National Park Service is holding a design competition to revitalize the area by 2015 (the 50th anniversary of the competition of the Arch): www.kmov.com/news/local/69088362.html
Nine design teams remain in the competition: www.cityarchrivercompetition.org/
At the same time, a group of locals is asking designers to consider shutting down I-70 as a way to reconnect downtown, the Arch, and the riverfront.
City to River officially formed last March and presented a plan to remove I-70 lanes through downtown St. Louis and replace them with a city boulevard at a meeting with the National Park Service.
Since then, the group has launched a website: citytoriver.org/
Read their presentation here: citytoriver.org/docs/City_to_River_presentation.pdf
On the last page, the group offers a very rough estimate of what the plan would cost. They say it would be much cheaper than a previously much discussed idea of building a tunnel along the edge of the arch grounds to carry traffic along I-70.
I checked with the Missouri Department of Transportation. The state says it's open to redesigning Memorial Drive, but not shutting down I-70. It says an average 73,000 vehicles travel through the downtown lanes of the interstate daily. Despite the upcoming construction of a new Mississippi River bridge, all lanes of I-70 would still be needed.
Read about the new bridge here: www.newriverbridge.org/
City to River is made up of architects, artists, and others interested in downtown plans.
I spoke with Rick Bonasch with the non-profit group, Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance. He is on the City to River steering committee and writes a blog about St. Louis revitalization: stlrising.blogspot.com/
Rick says the idea of removing an interstate from a section of downtown is not a new idea and points to other cities that have worked on similar projects including:
San Francisco: www.preservenet.com/freeways/FreewaysEmbarcadero.html