A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:38 AM

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.

Construction on highway 40, 70, 270, 44, 55 and I-170 is a way of life, and a permanent form of entertainment.

A St. Louisan from South County has never been to North County and visa versa. West County has everything delivered.

If someone actually has their turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect, or has been on for the last 17 miles.

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

All old ladies with blue hair in Cadillacs (driving on Olive west of 270) have the right of way.

Laclede Station Road mysteriously changes names as you cross intersections. As do McCausland, Lindbergh, Watson, Fee Fee, Airport Road and Midland.

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. Confused?

So are the St. Louis drivers.

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”.

Never stare at the driver of the car with the bumper sticker that says,”Keep honking, I'm reloading”- he is.

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.

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

If it snows or rains? Stay home.

Tags: Humor

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
It's pronounced Grav-oy. 270 is cool. You can drive in circles around the city if you know (or if you don't know) what you're doing. I've actually traveled Lindbergh from around Grav-oy up into North County--and I will never do it again. I used to go to the drive-in across from Crestwood Plaza (which I think has a new name now) on Watson Road when I was in high school. I was bummed when they tore it down.
Posted by Sophorist - Aug 14, 2003 | 5:02 PM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
Speaking of regional driving habits: in Alaska, winter drivers will immediately seek another route if they see Texas or Oklahoma plates on a vehicle. Too bad for them there aren't many alternate routes to anywhere worth driving. Most of the time, one is lucky there is any driving route at all.
Posted by Ed Hurst - Aug 14, 2003 | 5:13 PM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
Hey Sophorist -- you really know your St. Louis stuff! 270 is pretty nice. Hehehe... that reminds me of a funny story. My uncle was coming in to town on highway 40 a long time ago. He was heading to St. Charles, so he was told to take 40 to 270. He thought the instruction was to take 40 to 70 (get it?). So he ended up taking 40 all the way down to downtown and then taking 70 all the way back out. :-) I've taken Lindbergh pretty far into North County as well... I'm in no hurry to do it again either. As far as Crestwood Plaza, I'm not sure what it's called now -- it's probably "Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood" (Westfield has been buying out all the malls around here). At any rate, it is ashame about the drive-ins, I always hate to see stuff like that go. Ed: I've heard driving in Alaska is fun. :-) Did you get use to it after awhile?
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Aug 15, 2003 | 12:37 AM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
Alaska is where the second half of my youth was spent. I learned to drive there, then moved to other parts of the world. The primary difference I noticed was that so very many things are so much closer together here in the "Lower 48" than up there. From Anchorage, you can travel inland or down coast. The nearest town of any size was 50 miles inland -- Palmer.
Posted by Ed Hurst - Aug 15, 2003 | 10:03 AM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
Well I take Lindbergh from Kirkwood to Olive every Monday when I go to school. Lindbergh drives me crazy because it is a two lane road. Except for the fact that everyone parks in one of the lanes on the side of the road and if you are not a native then you end up getting stuck behind a parked car wondering why the guy in front of you isn't moving. Big Bend is a thorn in my side because it is what it's named a big bend. That road twists and turns so many times that you don't actually know which direction you are going. I turned south on Big Bend and it did a little twist and ended up taking me north. It crosses most of the major highways several times... drives me crazy. While we are on the subject of St. Louis roads, one that really gets me is when 270 turns into 255. If you are going south on 270 and you cross the bridge and it turns into 255 you are then going north instead of south. I did that one day and turned north on to 255 thinking I was going back to St. Louis and ended up and the very end of 255. I sat and stared at a sign that said "255 Ends" for awhile before I cried and turned around and went back. What a mess.
Posted by Pressed - Aug 16, 2003 | 1:15 AM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
You will never know the delight that I felt when I learned that Watson turns into Chippewa and that I could get to Ted Drew's Custard just by driving down the road from Crestwood Plaza. The myriad other Watson Roads are fun. Which one do you want? Watson Rd., East Watson Rd., Old Waston Rd., W. Old Watson Rd. Big Bend is an enigma. It crosses I-44 two or three times as well. I take Big Bend to head to St. Louis Rep (in the Loretta-Hilton on Webster's campus) from Crestwood Plaza, it is quite a trip to drive on. I like to annouce when we are crossing the same highway again. I think there is more than one Big Bend, isn't there? One of my favorite drives in the St. Louis area is trip to St. Peters from Hwy 100. Going down (literally down) into Gumbo Bottoms is always a thrill for me, not sure why. Of course I am always entertained by the contruction at Hwy 40 and K. I hate 270. Every single time that I am driving on it, I almost die. No kidding. Card board boxes flying up onto my windshield, the car in front of me deciding to completly stop in the middle lane for no apparent reason. Speaking of almost being killed, the pair of deer that decided to prance across Manchester was quite a thirll. Excellent entry!!!!
Posted by Christopher - Aug 16, 2003 | 12:35 PM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
I grew up in St. Clair, MO, just down I-44 or Gravois (which turns into Hwy 30) from St. Louis. I was also in some Army Reserve units in St. Louis. When we wanted to get out of the country in high school, we would head to St. Louis. One of my most interesting experiences was taking a date to the Fox Theater on Grand. Nothing like walking through an alley, all dressed up, on your way to see Robert Goulet in Camelot, and having to step over a drunk throwing up all over the wall in order to get through the alley and cross the street to the theater. Kind of ruined the ambiance. Going to the Zoo or the Science Center also makes for interesting driving experiences.
Posted by Sophorist - Aug 16, 2003 | 7:15 PM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
I have made that trip to the Fox (and the Powell Hall is right down the street) several times. After the show, stepping out into what looks like a urban wasteland after being in the ornate Fox can be disorienting. I get lost on just about every trip that I make into Forest Park. Of course the park was designed to make you lost so that is some consilation. A couple of signs at the entrance and then you are on your own.
Posted by Christopher - Aug 17, 2003 | 9:23 AM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
Oh lets not talk about forest park eh? Last time I went there my car was stolen, and I still haven't got it back yet... I am a bit bitter!
Posted by Pressed - Aug 19, 2003 | 10:16 PM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
You still haven't gotten your car back, Pressed? Uhg. Is the insurance company being the kind of pain they usually are (I'm guessing that's where the hold up comes in)?
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Aug 20, 2003 | 12:54 AM

RE: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
You forgot to mention the joy of 12th really being Tucker to the natives and the Hwy 70/55/44/40/64 bridge that is always under construction and a feature in National Lampoon's Vacation movie when they get lost in North St. Louis :) You also missed Big Bend which goes from Ballwin all the way into the city though I never did find out where the 'bend' was. :) I grew up out in Chesterfield before the yuppies moved in and ruined it. I remember driving my beetle down Wild Horse Creek Road on a full moon without the headlights and never seeing another car. West Co. has everything delivered now because noone can drive anywhere anymore.
Posted by hfb - Aug 21, 2003 | 4:26 PM

Re: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
Speaking of Lindbergh as a street that goes on forever, there are a couple others, Olive -- which runs from downtown all the way out to Chesterfield Mall and beyond -- and Natural Bridge -- which, I'm sorry to say I've never felt brave enough to drive the length of. Also, let's not forget what happens to Hanley when it crosses Manchester.
Posted by Bob Wagner - Jun 08, 2005 | 2:30 PM

Re: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
Good points, Bob. :)
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Jun 09, 2005 | 1:35 AM

Re: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
Reading all your comments has not inspired confidence. I am wondering whether to rent a car when I visit St. Louis in April. Or should I use public transportation?
Posted by Sandy - Feb 13, 2006 | 5:50 PM

Re: A Visitor's Guide to Driving in St. Louis, Missouri
I wouldn't worry too much, Sandy. I don't think St. Louis is any worse than most cities. Public transit here, however, isn't so good, so I think I'd go with renting a car, personally.
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Feb 14, 2006 | 3:30 AM

Please enter your comment entry below. Press 'Preview' to see how it will look.

Sign In to Your Account
:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :arrow: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :idea: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad: :!: :?: