Once in a while you discover a pedestrian pathway that runs from one street to another, right through the middle of a residential block. These pathways put me in the mood of that David Bowie song, "it's a secret place and adults aren't allowed there". As children we simply cut through yards whether there was a path there or not. Walkways like this allow even respectable grown-ups the pleasure of "cutting through."
These walkways are in University City and Clayton, Missouri. Lisa Bulawsky and I went on a tour and took these pictures on October 27, 2012.
This path is three blocks long and runs from Delmar Blvd. north to Stanford Avenue, in the 7200 block. It starts from Delmar next to the small dentist office building west of Lupton Chapel.
Varsity Walk runs for seven blocks, from Delmar north to Darthmouth Avenue, in the 7100 block. One more block and it would make it all the way to Vernon, and Heman Park. You can find this one from Delmar by looking for a white wooden fence.
This is just a little spur that runs along the north end of Lewis park. The cool thing about this path is the way it connects Yale Avenue in the University Heights neighborhood with Cornell Avenue in University Park. If you're riding a bicycle home from the loop you can safely avoid Delmar with this path, just be careful not to pedal your bike drunkenly into that lamp post. It kind of sneaks up on you.
At the end of Wellesley Avenue there is a set of steps going down to the tunnel, which takes you underneath Forest Park Parkway and ends in the 7100 block of Westmoreland Drive. Halfway through the tunnel, there is an opening in the ceiling. Above ground, this hole sits in the median of Forest Park Parkway. You can see the fence around it as you drive by, near where the parkway splits from Pershing. This tunnel seems to me the same as it was twenty years ago, apparently not affected when they dug up the ground and put in the metrolink tracks.
This path is now gone. You can see that old habits died hard, as there are signs telling you to stop walking through this area. This path ran from the intersection of Midland and Delmar through a wooded area and into Washington Avenue. Now there is no path, but there is a strange no man's land between two fences where it used to be.
Lafon - Stratford - Kingsbury
My old neighborhood! I grew up on Lafon Place. This path runs from Lafon south to Kingsbury, in the 7900 block. In one place there is now a smooth incline, but there were steps there before. The steps were spaced so that both of my bicycle tires fell to the lower step at the same time. So instead of going down the steps like ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump it was more like CHUNK ... CHUNK ... CHUNK.
Secret passages galore. Starting in Shaw Park, you can go under Forest Park Parkway, along a path that runs beside some City of Clayton property, under the metrolink tracks, then through a tunnel beneath highway 170 and out to Francis Place, in the neighborhood just north of the Galleria. Near this spot is the "secret" on-ramp that takes you from Shaw Park onto the parkway going east.