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MetroLink Slowly Pulls Into Shrewsbury Station Today

June 20, 2006 Events/Meetings, Public Transit 11 Comments

Testing on the new 8-mile length of the MetroLink “Cross County” extension began this morning at 9am. But don’t look for a train speeding along the track, it will take them 4 hours to get from Des Peres Road (just east of Skinker) to the end of the line at Shrewsbury.

From the press release:

The train and test crew are moving at walk speed (2-3mph average) stopping at each station platform to take measurements.

The release also says they will be “towing” the vehicle but don’t elaborate as to how. Presumably the electrical system is not all in place for the train to operate under its own power. However, they also caution media to assume that all wires a live.

Metro is suggesting the following locations for viewing the train:

•Sidewalk south of University Drive, north of Forest Park Parkway
and just east of Big Bend. (1.2 miles along the test route)
• Public sidewalk adjacent to Forsyth station (2.0 miles along)
• Bemiston Avenue Overpass, over Forest Park Parkway (3.0 miles)
• Morrow Drive at Galleria Parkway (3.8 miles)
• Maplewood station, visible above Manchester Rd (5.4 miles)
• Sunnen station, visible from the cul-de-sac on Laclede Station Rd at
Sunnen Drive (5.9 miles)
• I-44 Bridge (6.7 miles)
• Shrewsbury station (7.2 miles)

You’ll need to do the math to figure out when they will be at the various viewing locations. They are suggesting they will arrive at Shrewsbury at 1pm this afternoon.

On a related note…

IMG_1215.jpgThis past Saturday over 40 people from both the City of St. Louis and the City of Shrewsbury gathered to conduct a design charrette examining TOD (transit oriented development) possibilities for the new Shrewsbury Station.

Seven teams worked all day on their ideas after touring the area and viewing a presentation on TOD. Participants included residents from both cities, local architects & planners. The event was organized by Citizens for Modern Transit along with Shrewsbury Mayor Bert Gates and St. Louis’ 16th Ward Alderwoman Donna Baringer. Rolling Stanley, director of Planning & Urban Design for the City of St. Louis, was among the professionals helping guide the charrette. Rollin’s wife Ann, also planner, was on one of the seven teams.

Many great ideas came out of the results, including some interesting reconfigurations of the street pattern along River Des Peres. I think one of the best ideas was to continue Wabash Street south of Lansdowne, crossing the “river” to connect with the existing Boulevard. All teams focused on creating a mixed-use area along Lansdowne at the station or in the immediate area. Some accepted the MoDot’s idea of connecting River Des Peres Boulevard with a new I-44 interchange. Others weren’t so keen on the idea. Everyone agreed that River Des Peres should actually have water!

I spoke with both Mayor Bert Gates and Alderwoman Donna Baringer. They seemed equally excited about the process and were very thankful to everyone that participated. Baringer acknowledged the help of Rolling Stanley in this and prior events (see related video below).

“If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be so well versed in the best urban designing and streetscaping we can come up with”

The Cross County MetroLink extension has certainly had its low points with the budget and delays but I find it very exciting to be at the point we are now, so close to opening day. What are your thoughts?

UPDATE 6/20/06 @ 4:10pm – Video embedded within post, removed earlier link to video.

– Steve


Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. Ted says:

    I have always thought that Shrewsbury would be one of the best places for transit oriented development along the new metrolink route. Now that the metrolink is close to opening, the area will now be tremendously underdeveloped. From the metrolink stop all the way down river Des Peres to Chippewa can now support a higher density. Also, I would like to see another pedestrian bridge built across the river at the site of the new metrolink stop. This could really push new TOD across the river. I’m really excited about this new metro line. I hope we see some really cool development, and not the same old stuff that we currently see in the St. Louis area.

    [REPLY – Thanks for the reminder, a number of teams included a pedestrian bridge from one of the St. Louis streets north of Lansdowne across the “river”. I think one may have continued a street through but I am not sure of that. It seems that pedestrian access was high priority for everyone. – SLP]

  2. SMSPlanstu says:

    If this were Philadelphia or most other major cities a place like Shrewsberry would be apart of the City of St. Louis so it is great and important that the two work together like in this charrette. I heard in the video someone mention SLU planning; Missouri State also has planning and does projects too.

    I wonder if the line extension further south had been considered since it may mean less TOD to the south? Is it really possible to rebuild the City neighborhood across the River Des Peres which looks like one story post-WW2 houses? How long is that? Two blocks maybe.

  3. Max... says:

    They are probably towing the train with a maintenance of way (MOW) vehicle. Either a truck that has the right gauge of trucks (or wheels) on it or another piece of railroad apparatus to do work on the tracks.


  4. Matt says:

    They were towing it with a hi-rail track work vehicle. Looked like one of the trucks used for moving track around. Like Max said, it has road tires as well as rail wheels.

  5. Jim Zavist says:

    I live less than a mile from the station and was at the charette during the morning on Saturday. I concur, there was a lot of positive energy and thinking outside the box happening. I also agree that this area is poised for potentially great TOD. I only wish I had the cash to invest in acquiring property here. And, unfortunately, I was unable to stick around and see the final results, but I felt good with the preliminary direction I saw things taking.

    The idea of extending the line “one more stop” to Watson has been floated as a way to provide better access to the end-of-line station (for commuters driving in from further out). The political reality is that it’s not very likely to happen anytime soon. Before any more money gets spent going south, there’s going to be significant political pressure to invest in transit improvements elsewhere in the region (“fairness”).

    As for bridging the river and heading into the neighborhood to the southeast, one, you’ll need to deal with the short-term impacts/fears of increased parking in the neighborhood by non-residents, should the 800 existing parking spaces prove to be inadequate (likely, in my opinion) and a bridge is proposed outside of a redevelopment plan, two, you’ll need to get/have Alderwoman Kathleen Hanrahan on board (it’s in “her” ward, not Donna Barringer’s – she was “out of town” on Saturday and “unable to attend”), and three, you’ll have to convince the local residents to sell out to a developer. Ald. Barringer’s general position (which I support) was that condemnation should be a last resort option for the city to use with one or two hold-outs, and that a developer should be willing to pay a premium to assemble a larger development site.

    Finally, I was very impressed with St. Louis’ (new?) planning director (Rollin Stanley?). He seems to possess vision, pragmatism and enthusiasm, a rare combination for this position. Hopefully, he a) sticks around, and b) gets the needed support from the mayor, board of aldermen and the development community to move St. Louis in his vision of a more-urban and appropriately-denser city, especially along our transit lines.

  6. Matt says:

    I live two blocks from the Forsyth station and pass the construction every day on my walk to work in downtown Clayton. (Sorry, commuters; don’t hate me.) I definitely agree that this is starting to get really exciting. Can’t wait for such a quick and easy connection to downtown…

  7. jason says:

    Anyone interested in what can be done with River Des Peres should look at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. More particularly Brush Creek which runs along the south edge of said development. Brush Creek used to look just like River Des Peres until the beautification project.


  8. Jim Zavist says:

    Brush Creek was discussed during the charette (as a positive and a potential for here).

  9. oakland says:

    Brush Creek used to look just like River Des Peres until the beautification project.

    My quick searches of the web don’t seem to say so, but was Brush Creek used as a sewer for a century as well?

    Making River Des Peres not suck is going to take an enormous investment, given it’s been bottled up and buried across half the city. If you google for “River Des Peres,” you’ll find an interesting 1929 photograph from the American Society of Civil Engineers showing the River Des Peres tunnel being constructed under what is now the circle drive in front of the MO History Museum.

    Under the open channel you see with just a trickle of water, there are concealed sanitary sewer lines. Although “sanitary” is sort of a misnomer because it’s anything but.

    You can dress it up all you want, but until the root of the problem (it’s the next best thing to an open-air sewer) is resolved, it’s just going to be a grassy area full of polluted water.

    It was engineered to get rid of water we didn’t want and send it off to the Mississippi, and it’s doing that job. It’s now going to be a monstrous task to turn it into a source of water that we do want.

    REPLY Actually I remember Brush Creek in KC before the work and it was pretty nasty although not sure if it carried sewage at all. RDP was partially buried as part of a massive bond issue passed in 1923. Prior to the reconstruction, large areas were prone to flooding.

    KC’s Brush Creek benefits by having a wonderful shopping area as well as being lined with large homes and tall apartment buildings. We can have all that too but people have to have vision which is sometimes in short supply at City Hall.

    It would take millions but I’d rather see our regional park money spend to improve something we have than to create new areas such as Chouteau’s Lake/Pond. – SLP]

  10. Wil says:

    Sanitary sewer runs under River Des Peres, not in the channel which is reserved for storm water run off.

  11. Dissenter says:

    I hate to train on your parade but listening to everybody fawn over the brilliant planning surrounding the metrolink is laughable.

    1. How is it ‘smartÂ’ or ‘excitingÂ’ to run metro rails to places that are ‘underdeveloped’ with such low ‘population density’ and then spend ‘millions’ to re-develop the area and move rivers! Why not just buy a farm field, put metro link tracks through, develop it and call it a new city? Any other city would have run the first tracks through areas where people live, work and shop.

    2. The planning along Forest Park has been reprehensible. ‘FoPo’ has had some of the worst traffic accident records in st. louis, and now it will be the worst. I have a proposal: let’s put up webcams so we can watch the trains plowing through the 18 wheelers which are now routed down FoPo. The fact the street is now uncrossable, and the neighborhoods next to the train will suffer is yet another problem. Oh, and let’s take 5 years and shut down FoPo so that you can not get into the city. BRILLIANT planning! In LA after Northridge we rebuilt the metro AND the largest highway in the world (I10) in a matter of months. At least we needed a train along FoPo (unlike shrewsbury) but it should have been built underground and built in a year.

    3. I’m off on a tangent now, but let’s mention the Excellent Planning that went into the decision to shut down highway 40 for years and years. How could LA rebuild I10 in months but it will take us years to rebuild 40?

    If the plan all along has been to strangle and abandon st. louis, then i must congratulate all the planners and all of you who are so happy with the plans. Also, congratulations to Chesterfield and all the outlying areas that will benefit from the closing of St. Louis. I didn’t think the midwest needed another Detroit, but i guess I’m in the minority.


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