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More Videos From MetroLink’s Cross County Inagural Run

August 26, 2006 Planning & Design, Politics/Policy, Public Transit 8 Comments

On Tuesday August 22, 2006 myself and others were treated to a “sneak a peak” ride on the new alignment of St. Louis’ MetroLink light rail system (see prior post w/video). The grand ribbon cutting is today at 11am at the Forest Park Station. Dignitaries will perform a progressive ribbon cutting at each station as they make their way to the end at Shrewsbury where LinkFest will be taking place.

Larry Salci, Metro’s CEO, narrates as we leave Shrewsbury, cross over I-44 and head into the Sunnen station in Maplewood. Salci shows his funny side by saying this new section was, “a bit more expensive.” Try, substantially more expensive. He explains how Phase 1 (original) and Phase 2 (St. Clair Illinois) used mostly abandoned right of way and existing tunnels. Salci compares our new underground stations to those of Washington D.C.’s Metro system.

Salci continues to narrate from the first car just as we leave the tunnel under I-64 and enter Richmond Heights near the Galleria and The Boulevard. Salci mentions how they had to lower the tunnel under the highway since MoDot is planning to lower the elevation of the highway as it begins the upcoming reconstruction project.
Larry Salci on I-64 and Richmond Heights on Vimeo

Salci jokes about “five more days until we absorb more overhead.” as he guides us over the speaker system as we make the approach into Clayton. The view is pretty impressive.

We are about to reach the final destination, the Forest Park Station. You can hear folks talking in the first part but then the train operator comes on to give us instructions about changing trains and Metro VP Stephen Knobbe talks about the Arts In Transit project at the station:

Metro VP Stephen Knobbe talks about the Brentwood (Eager Rd) Station and the Richmond Heights stations. These two stations have very poor connections to the adjacent areas through no fault of Metro — the neighbors didn’t want a connection. I think they will at some point, play the video to see what Metro’s VP has to say. Sorry, the audio does not sync with the video.

– Steve


Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. john says:

    Mother nature sending a clear message on this day. Instead of blooming success of mass transit, the public will be stuck with ever increasing and unfunded expenses. More than 66% over budget and unable even to finance operating costs, our local elected leaders have created a storm yet to be reckoned with.

    PD: What started as a $404 million project in 1999 jumped to $550 million in 2001 when major design changes were made, including the decision to lay some track underground. The final cost: $678 million. In addition, Metro’s operating costs are rising – partly because of the new Shrewsbury line. It will take $14 million to $15 million a year to run that line. Fares will cover about a third of that. Maintenance issues are building on the oldest part of line, between East St. Louis and Lambert Field. Finished in 1993, it was built cheaply, Salci said, “It’s slag,” (he) said of the rail.

    The gathering clouds of financial irresponsibility, mismanagement and poorly designed layout/station locations creates many problems yet to be addressed. Even PD is making this obvious to the public. When will the public insist on better results?

    Hopefully the flaws will be recognized and appropriately addressed so that we will have a brighter future. The necessary accountability begins with reforming our political system here.

  2. Pete says:

    Many thanks for the clips and commentary. As a near daily rider between North Hanley and downtown, two aspects of your video on the new route immediately struck me: low background noise and steadiness of the video, I’m curious if the new route is indeed a quieter and calmer ride than my regular one. Any thoughts?

    Although it appeared as if you were speeding along, I’m curious about the top speed on the new route. On the main line, I believe the train tops out at 57 or 58 mph (yes, I’ve been known to study the instruments in the unmanned cab of the train).

    Given the festivities and the probability of “rider-chatter”, this weekend may be a bad time to attempt a sound check on the new line but I may need to check it out next week.

    [REPLY Good questions! I’m not enough of a rider to be able to detect a difference. Perhaps if I were to ride from downtown to Shrewsbury and back I might be able to notice. Knobbe & Salci were both saying the ride was smoother.

    I was using a monopod (like a tripod but only with one leg) to keep the camera steady. I never could have managed to keep the camera that steady on my own. – SLP]

  3. Pete says:

    Thanks Steve, I believe you proved the new route is smoother. While the monopod may have reduced sway in the image, it would also tend to transfered train vibration from the floor.

  4. Jim Zavist says:

    Yes it’s over budget and behind schedule, but it IS (finally) opening. Hindsight is always 20/20 – we need to look forward and figure out how a) keep the existing sytem running despite a pending, huge budget deficit, b) attract new riders, and c) change the perception that transit just ain’t cool. Maybe the fact that Wash. U. students will be getting bus passes this year and actually using public transit will be a step in the right direction . . .

  5. I Agree says:

    I agree with Jim. And I actually think the free passes to the WU community will help tremendously. Metro had a bus parked outside of the new bus hub thingie (I don’t know what to call it?) on campus last week and was handing out maps and teaching freshman and their parents (as well as returning students) about the new routes and how to use public transportation. I think their presence will only help.

  6. newsteve says:

    I passed the Clayton/Forsyth station yesterday and today on my way to work. On Sunday, the free day, there were lots of people entering and existing that station. Unfortuantely, today, during peak rush hour, I did not see one soul either entering or exiting the station – I hope that this was just poor timing on my part and not that this new route wont add many new fare paying riders.!

  7. Did anyone else catch the vendor from freakin’ O’FALLON at the kick off party at Shrewsbury???!! Click the link to my blog to find out. As if Mexican food is that hard to find…!

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