Who Are We?


Milestones:

  • Aug 2003, a hand full of citizens formed Stop158

  • Sep 2003, formed the web site to inform, educate, and inspire users throughout the southern Illinois Tri-County region

  • Apr 2004, hosted the first sign making campaign, a social success that continues

  • Apr 2006, adopted the phrase "Citizens for Smart Growth" to the core vision statement

  • Nov 2006,  developed and deployed the first Newsletter, Fall 2006 Volume 1, Issue 1

  • May 2010,  hosted the first Strawberry Festival (Bike Run, Strawberry Picking, Yard Sales, and Garden Tours)

Since the birth of the organization, these citizens of good will continue to assist politicians in roadway decisions and recommend environmental enhancements.


Vision:

Stop158: Citizens for Smart Growth is a movement of citizens from Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties who share a vision for their communities and actively promote that vision.  This website links thousands in a common cause.

Stop158: Citizens for Smart Growth is committed to advocacy at many levels: 

- Contact decision-makers, family, friends and neighbors. 
- Write letters
- Erect signs
- Gain and spread knowledge
- Contribute money
- Provide speakers to groups
- Keep the public informed
- Get petitions signed
- …and we vote!

This website lets anyone sign an electronic petition, get updated information, link to allied organizations and find ways to help bring this vision into reality.  Individuals may sign up to receive regular e-mail updates by clicking here.

Stop158: Citizens for Smart Growth has neither a membership list nor dues, but depends on contributions of money, material, time, and talent.

Stop158: Citizens for Smart Growth is open to new ideas and insights and welcomes all individuals and organizations who wish to be part of this movement.


Support:

Smart growth, where townships, cities, and counties coordinate plans and use resources cooperatively to improve the quality of our common life:

- environmentally safe neighborhoods;
- clean air and water;
- safe water sheds and storm water control;
- green space in and between our communities;
- preservation of wildlife and ecologically fragile systems;
- an abundance of natural areas;
- expansion of MetroLink and connecting bus service;
- expansion of bike paths and trails;
- zoning that uses existing infrastructure: roads, sewers, water lines;
- more grid streets (rather than cul-de-sacs) with rear entry garages, diverse, walkable neighborhoods in reach of shops and other services.

For more thoughts on Sprawl, click here.

Metro-equity, where our attention is focused on the entire region, not on just the rich, outer rim of our “metropolitan doughnut.” 
Stop158: Citizens for Smart Growth says:

- clean up the brown-fields of abandoned business and industry;
- re-vitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods;
- discourage urban sprawl;
- encourage public transportation options, especially Metro-Link;
- use TIFs and other special financial incentives as they were intended to be used, for rehabilitation and conservation in blighted areas, not as a way to enrich already successful businesses;
- hear, really listen to, and actually take seriously the voice of the people.

Preserving, strengthening, and enhancing the quality of life in Metro-East, where residents do not want to become a mirror image of west St. Louis.  Residents value their communities, schools, and neighborhoods and do not believe “bigger is better” when it comes to these or to city governments, tax bases, or commercialization.

Residents cherish the unique character of the Metro-East and with its generally lower land cost, value, proximity to St. Louis, unique culture, schools, and heritage.  They value a mixed environment of rural, small towns, cities, and neighborhoods with less congestion.  They wish to preserve, strengthen and enhance these qualities, not sacrifice them to enrich a few at the expense of many, nor accommodate the inappropriate agenda of some politicians.

Stop158: Citizens for Smart Growth believes rampant, uncontrolled growth is neither inevitable nor desirable.  The propaganda line, “growth is inevitable” is an admission of our failure to plan properly and is used as a false justification for waste and greed.


Oppose:

The “Gateway Connector” or “158 Outer-belt” is a proposed 41 mile, limited-access, four lane highway from Troy City to the Jefferson Barracks Bridge being promoted by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). 

-  IDOT projects the cost at more than a half billion of our tax dollars, plus huge amounts more to maintain. 

-  IDOT’s feasibility study attempts to make a case for the Connector, saying it would “enhance traffic mobility,” “encourage economic growth,” and “enhance the environment,” citing the failed Mid-America Airport as one justification.

Stop158: Citizens for Smart Growth says the feasibility study fails to justify this massive project in all three counts:

“Traffic mobility”:  The “outer-belt” is based on faulty projections, which over-estimated traffic volume.  The planning model used by the feasibility study is being abandoned.  Further, it is well established that additional roads generate additional traffic: “build it and they will come.”  Another massive road feeding existing east-west interstates is overkill.  A number of existing roadways are under-utilized.  Existing roadways properly maintained and improved can manage current and future traffic flows.  Center (turn) lanes and intersections with long right and left turn lanes can be added as needed to existing roads.

“Economic growth” is critical to the core cities.  But the Connector will not bring economic growth to the core cities.  “Growth” occurring in the outer rim of Metro-East is at the expense of core cities and reflects population and business relocation, not net growth.  This means:

- In the outer rim of Metro-East, increased tax burden for new schools, new road construction and maintenance, and expanded public services made necessary by population relocating within the Metro East; and

- In the core communities, existing and often deteriorating infrastructure is very expensive and costs are borne by a declining population; congestion, clogged roads, and still more big box retail in the rim, with existing business, industry, and population in the core threatened, disadvantaged, and abandoned by many, even as wealthy communities in the rim vie with one another for new business and offer tax incentives to lure business away from other parts of the region.

“Enhance the environment”:  the Connector cannot enhance the environment, but it would compound many environmental problems, including urban sprawl for which St. Louis is notorious.  The Brookings Institution reports St. Louis has the country’s second worst imbalance between land use and population.  The Connector would accelerate that problem, bringing;

-  more brown fields at the site of former vibrant business;
-  more air, water, and soil contamination through additional generated and induced traffic;
-  destruction of human values fostered by the current environment;
-  destruction of farm land, ecologically rich areas, wildlife, green space, water sheds, historic farms, graveyards, and other sites.