07 September 2007

A Native's Guide to the STL

If you live in St. Louis, you'll understand this. If you've ever visited St. Louis, you'll understand this. If you've never been to St. Louis, this is your first and ONLY warning

Visitors' Guide To Driving in St. Louis

The morning rush hour is from 6:00 to 10:00 AM.
The evening rush hour is from 3:00 to 7:00 PM.
Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning.

Gravois Road can only be pronounced by a native.
Ditto for Spoede and Chouteau.

Highway 40 is the same as Interstate 64 through the middle of St. Louis.
Most native St. Louisans do not even know what I-64 is, much less it's old name, "The Daniel Boone Expressway."

Construction on Highways 40, 64, 70, 255, 270, 44, 55 and 170 is a way of life, and a permanent form of entertainment.

The Page Avenue extension and Airport expansion projects took over 20 years to get approved and St. Louisans lost track of how many political figures claimed them as their own ideas.

A St. Louisan from South County has never been to North County and vice versa.

West County has everything delivered.

St. Louisans were aghast when the federal government required them to redo the highway signs to indicate that the federal highways went to cities in other states instead of local municipalities.

Stop signs are suggestions.

Stoplights do not turn green for waiting drivers until the car in front has already started moving. The line of waiting cars therefore "caterpillar" their way across the intersection.

YIELD signs are for decoration only. No native St. Louisan will ever grasp the concept.

There are 2 exits on Highway 40 for Clayton Road and 2 for Big Bend.

All old ladies with blue hair in Cadillacs (driving west of I-170 or McKnight Road) have the right of way.

Laclede Station Road mysteriously changes names as you cross intersections. As do McCausland, Lindbergh, Watson, Reavis Barracks, Fee Fee, McKnight, Airport Road, Midland, Olive, Clarkson and Telegraph. (Bonus points: Can you name the other names?)

Drivers are starting to cut their OWN plates rather than go through the MO Vehicle Dept. to get new tags. You can purchase tags from dealers behind Quik Shops in the city. They are cheaper, the clerks are nicer,and the service is faster.

You can go all four directions on Highway 270: North and South in West County, East and West in South County, and East and West in North County. I-270 turns into I-255 in South County for no apparent reason. Confused? So are the St. Louis drivers.

The main bridge going from St. Louis to Illinois (which most native St. Louisans do not acknowledge exists) is called "The Poplar Street Bridge". However, the bridge does NOT convey Poplar Street, but rather Highway 40, across the Mississippi.

Poplar is a street near the bridge on the St. Louis side.
Mapmakers finally had to include the nickname on their products in the 1980s to end the confusion.

There are 54 school districts on the Missouri side alone - each of which has their own school bus system and scheduled times to block traffic.

There are 75 'official neighborhoods' in the City of St. Louis. St.Louisans commonly give directions (especially for restaurants) to strangers based on these neighborhoods which aren't marked on any maps that are handed out by the tourist board, the AAA or Mapquest.

There are 91 official municipalities in St. Louis County. Each municipality has its own rules, regulations, and ALL have their own police departments. These police departments all have one single objective: to write enough tickets to fill the coffers of their own municipality. This is why highway speeding is so rampant: to make up for lost time!

More importantly, most have their own snow removal contracts so it's not uncommon to drive down a road in winter and have one block plowed, the next salted, the next piled with snow and the last partially cleared by residents wanting to get out of their driveways.

No native St. Louisan knows that Lindbergh runs from South County to North County! And, if you tell them, they will not believe you.

Lindbergh belongs to every neighborhood except Kirkwood,
who had the nerve to creatively change the name to 'Kirkwood Road'

Any car parked longer than 4 hours in the city, is considered a parts store.

Highway 270 is our daily version of the NASCAR circuit.

Lambert Field and St. Louis International Airport really are the same place. The East Terminal, however, is a different place.

Never ever try to cross a bridge in St. Louis during rush hour unless you have a port-a-potty in the car.

The outer belt is Highway 270 which turns into Highway 255 in South County. The inner belt is Highway 170 and if it's a 3XX number it's an alternate outer belt.

If you need directions to O'Fallon, make sure to specify Illinois or Missouri.

The City of Ballwin actually proposed that drivers use connecting strip mall parking lots to get from place to place rather than drive on Manchester Road to cut the traffic on Manchester Road.

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