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'We're glad to see it' | Downtown groups block off street by The Dome at America's Center for pedestrian safety

The push comes a month after a visiting volleyball player lost her legs when a driver hit her.

ST. LOUIS — On Friday, large ‘road closed’ signs and barricades surrounded The Dome at America's Center in downtown St. Louis where hundreds will play in a volleyball tournament this weekend.          

The push to make the street more pedestrian-friendly comes a little more than a month after Janae Edmondson, a volleyball player from Tennessee, lost both of her legs in a crash while leaving the Dome.

A spokesperson with the City of St. Louis told 5 On Your Side the Downtown Community Improvement District issued a permit that allows them to coordinate with police and other downtown entities to close Washington Avenue during highly attended events like this weekend's tournament.

On Friday, a pedestrian pathway was extended between 7th Street and 10th on Washington Avenue.

There was also a drop-off location in the roundabout at 7th and Convention Plaza.

“Washington Avenue has a long history of being converted to a pedestrian-only space for entertainment and large events, especially in anticipation of major events,” Nick Desideri, who is with the city, said.

The improvement district coordinated with Explore St. Louis, the fire department, and the city's Office of Special Events to make this happen.

Rachel Benfield and her daughter were in town from Memphis, Tennessee for the tournament.

"We're glad to see it. I'm sure it's frustrating for some of the drivers. But as tourist bringing revenue into the city and happy be here. We're happy to see that our players feel safe,” Benfield said.

Lil Puckett, the club director for Missouri Volleyball MOVA out of St. Charles County has about 30 players at the tournament.

She's remembering Edmondson with her purple ribbon on her shoe.

"I'm glad that the police department as well as everyone that is involved is taking the safety for the community and the kids seriously because there are a lot of kids out here," Puckett said.

Kaili Smith who played at the Dome before noted the changes and said she was grateful for the community’s effort to keep her and her team safe.

"Whenever I walked out. I felt really safe, there were no cars like immediately in front of the sidewalk and I was just like ok we can walk here so I like it. I like the change,” Smith said.

A spokesperson for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department added they will have extra officers staffed downtown along with district patrol officers.

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