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Driving in St. Louis

If you’ve ever lived in St. Louis, you’ll enjoy this. If you’ve never been to St. Louis, consider this your “Visitor’s Guide.”

1. There are 75 “official neighborhoods” in the City of St. Louis. St. Louisans commonly give directions based on these neighborhoods. No neighborhood is on any map not from the tourist board, the AAA or even MapQuest.

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

3. There are 91 official municipalities in St. Louis County. Each Municipality has its own rules, regulations, and police department.

4. Each municipality has its own snow removal contracts. It’s not uncommon to drive down a road in winter and have one block plowed, the next block salted, the next block piled with snow and the next block partially cleared by residents trying desperately to get out of their own driveway.

5. Snow plowing is never a problem in the City of St. Louis because they plow nothing. If the forecast calls for snow, they just close everything, except on “The Hill” (see #1 above) where each homeowner goes out to the street and shovels out one car-sized rectangle and then stands guard over it.

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

7. The City of Ballwin actually proposed that drivers use connecting strip mall parking lots to get from place to place instead of driving on Manchester Road to reduce traffic.

8. Laclede Station Road mysteriously changes names as you cross intersections, as do McCausland, Lindbergh, Watson, Reavis Barracks, Fee Fee Road, McKnight, Airport Road, Midland, Olive and Clarkson. Gravois Road, Spoede, and Chouteau can only be pronounced by a native.

9. Many St. Louisans from South County have never been to North County, and visa versa. West Countians have everything delivered.

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

11. Lindbergh Blvd. belongs to every neighborhood except Kirkwood, who had the nerve to change its name to “Kirkwood Road.”

12. Two interchanges exit Highway 40 onto Clayton Road and two more onto Big Bend.

13. If you need directions to O’Fallon, you must specify Illinois or Missouri. This is also true for Troy, Maryville, St. Charles, Springfield, Columbia, etc., etc.

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

15. 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.

16. Drivers now make their own license plates rather than go through the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles. You can also purchase tags behind most QuiK Shops. They’re cheaper, the clerks nicer, and the service faster.

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

18. Highway 270 goes all four directions: North and South in West County, East and West in South County, and East and West in North County. Confused? So is everyone else!

19. The outer belt is Highway 270 which turns into Highway 255 in South County. The inner belt is Highway 170. Highway 370 is an outer-outer belt. Highway 40 is the same as Interstate 64 (but only through the middle part of St. Louis).

20. The morning rush hour is from 6-10 AM. The evening rush hour is from 3-7 PM. The Friday rush hour starts Thursday morning. Never cross a bridge during rush hour without a sack lunch and a port-a-potty.

21. Yield signs are merely for decoration. No native St. Louisan grasps the concept.

22. If someone uses a turn signal, it’s probably a factory defect. Or else it’s been on for the past 17 miles.

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

24. All blue-haired old ladies in Cadillacs, driving on Olive west of 270, have the right of way.

25. Most St. Louisans don’t know that you can enter Illinois without a passport.

26. If it snows or rains, stay home.