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MetroLink Moves Masses For Events

July 14, 2012 Featured, Public Transit 24 Comments

After the fireworks were over on the 4th many headed toward public transit, not a private vehicle. MetroLink light rail was packed with people going east & west from both sides of the river.

ABOVE: Crowds fill trains after fireworks on July 4th

Downtown couldn’t have handled all the cars if these people had driven, not enough parking and the streets would have been jammed for a long time. I can’t imagine not having our light rail lines to get people to & from major events.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "24 comments" on this Article:

  1. msrdls says:

    Ten years ago during the 4th holiday weekend, when I still lived in LA area, I attended a meeting in ST Louis and I brought along my 5 year old son. We stayed in a Clayton hotel, took a cab to the Metro station, then boarded Metro to celebrate the 4th of July  on the Riverfront under the  Arch. After the fireworks show was over, we walked to the Metro station at the foot of Eads Bridge (I think), and we were two of hundreds who had the same plan. The crowd was HUGE.   Metro was unable to accommodate us. So my son and I started walking until we were able to find a cab to take us back to our hotel. From the comments above, it looks as if Metro can now handle the larger crowds.

  2. Chuckcbaker says:

    How did people manage to get to events BEFORE Metrolink, then?

  3. Fozzie says:

    I’d rather sit my air conditioned car in traffic than be corralled in a queue line waiting for a train or shoehorned on the actual train.

    • msrdls says:

      To be honest, I would too. But traffic in St. Louis is really a non-event. A driver may be delayed 45 minutes to an hour, maybe once a week at most.  In other cities, a 45-60 minute traffic stall is an anticipated inconvenience  that  happens during most morning commutes and often during the evening commutes. I remember once sitting on the 405 over 4-1/2 hours three years ago. Obviously, I was late for my meeting.  As St. Louis grows, so too must its public transportation. In my opinion, it’s one of those unfortunate inevitabilities that accompanies a city’s growth and progress. I personally dislike sitting next to people whom I have nothing in common, with no knowledge of the activities they were engaged in 20 minutes before boarding the train or bus, with no assurance that they’re not carrying a revolver or knife, or spreading a strange communicable disease when they cough.  So I don’t use Metro for my airport trips, and we typically do not use it for any other trips. I’d rather drive and pay to park.  I don’t allow my sons to use public transportation for school even  though the bus stop on Oakland @ Kingshighway is less than 40′ from the school’s door. I prefer to pay for their vehicle expenses and maintenance, including the higher teenage male car insurance rates.At least I know they’ll arrive safe.  Until/unless city and county crime rates improve, I cannot imagine feeling comfortable in several of the popular public venues, including public transportation. 

      • PeterXCV says:

        With all due respect, buses are not less safe than driving cars. While I have felt uncomfortable on occasion on the bus because of a couple annoying fellow passengers, I have never been near getting in a dangerous situation riding public transit. Meanwhile I have been in a number of potentially dangerous situations while riding in a car. I mean the news shows do not have to devote a third of their morning broadcasts to bus accidents and people being assaulted on buses, like they have to do for cars. 

        • msrdls says:

          Different exposures, Peter. My sons’ car has 10 airbags!  I’ll take my chances of their surviving a car accident, over their chances of survival if their bus or train is overtaken by some disgruntled idiot with a chip on his shoulder and an axe to grind. And this scenario is not unlikely or even a 100-yr event, Peter.  I suppose it’s all about control. I have no control over who gets on the bus and what that person may have on his feeble mind.  I have more control over the car because I know how it’s being maintained and (I hope) I know how it’s being driven. And while it’s impossible to control every situation, as parents, my wife and I do the best we can do and establish as few absolutes as we feel are absolutely vital for survival. If at the end of the day, they’re safe in their rooms, then maybe some good decisions were made to get  them to that point.

          • JZ71 says:

            What’s next, an armored SUV?!  Bodyguards?

          • msrdls says:

            Your question suggests to me that you feel our safeguards are extreme. We’re the parents. We can make those decisions, and we do. I suppose we’ve been lucky so far in that both boys are healthy and very happy, no drugs, no smoking,  and both have achieved academic successes that I didn’t realize are possible. They’re on their way, and it’s partly my job to be certain that they get there . But  more importantly, they’re safe. At 10 PM, I know where they are.

          • JZ71 says:

            Since I don’t have kids, I’ve never had to make the choices you have.  But from the perspective of an observer, you seem to be skewing toward the “you can never be too safe” end of the continuum, and away from the “free-range kids”* end of the spectrum.  I grew up with a fair amount of freedom, and thus, risk, but I managed to both survive and to come out pretty well.  I also understand wanting to protect your kids, to border on being the helicopter parent, but, sooner or later, they’re going to have to leave the nest, the cocoon, and face the cold, cruel world on their own.  Exposing them to grit, diversity and real life in small doses will probably work out better than throwing them to the sharks all at once . . . .


          • msrdls says:

            My wife is a child psyciatrist, so I defer to her on the psychology of child-rearing. I studied math and a little physics, and I understand theories of probability fairly well. And those theories are real.  Just in the past few days, numerous, senseless murders have occurred on the streets of STL. Pick up today’s PD for more recent reports! Those people tend to choose random victims just because…..well, who knows why they choose them? Senseless crime can happen anywhere, but crime is seldom victimless, so I feel it’s best to reasonably limit my boys’ exposure. The boys don’t live in a cave. They grew up in San  Francisco and Santa Monica;  they’ve traveled to Europe, Canada and South America,  and they actually lived in Japan for 1 summer while I attended an extended  workshop there. They know who’d they’d vote for if they were old enough to vote, and their choices are supported by good, solid logic.  Fairly intelligently, they can discuss politics, religion, and sports. The older of the two worked at a local general contractor’s storage yard last summer as a laborer, and he wasn’t treated like the company owner’s son! The younger boy cut grass for some of our Jewish neighbors, and so you know he didn’t get rich….or spoiled in the process.  And I’m not certain that I’ve ever been exposed to “grit”, and I don’t feel as if I’ve missed much in that regard. Before my first son was born, I felt as you do about allowing kids to freely graze. But my perspective changed when I changed the first diaper.

          • Shabadoo says:

            aren’t you glad they made a city for people like you? the glory of clayton

          • Eric says:

            Deaths in car accidents in the US last year: about 30000
            Murders in US last year: about 15000

            And of course the vast majority of murders occur in neighborhoods your son would never visit, are of people previously known to the murderer, and are not on public transportation.

            How much control do you have if a truck driver crosses the median and hits your son’s car head-on?

            Car accidents are the leading cause of death for young people and I don’t understand how so many people irrationally ignore the risk of them.

          • msrdls says:

            Based on your statistics, then, it follows that the probability of being killed in a car accident vs in a random shooting increases or decreases based on the city you find yourself in at the time. The perception, I think,  is that you’ll find STL City loses more to crime than to car wrecks.  I can’t imagine that I’ll be buying two Metro passes on a regular basis any time soon.   

          • JZ71 says:

            “based on the city you find yourself in at the time”?  No, it’s based on the PART of the city you find yourself in at the time!  City boundaries are arbitrary and few criminals pay any attention to them.  If you want to be really safe, I’d get out of Missouri and move to South Dakota – I’m pretty sure that they have lower crime stats than we do.

            I’ve lived inside the city limits of two cities (Denver and St.Louis) for 35+ years and have never experienced any violent crimes nor any burglaries.  Part of this comes from choosing “better” neighborhoods and part of this comes being aware and not being stupid.  Many cities, even smaller ones, have problem areas – Meacham Park in Kirkwood is one example, as are parts of University City.  That’s the problem with statistics (and relying too much on them) is that life is not black or white, there are many shades of grey, many subtleties.  To say that all of St. Louis city is “bad” is just as naieve to say that all of Kirkwood is “good”.

          • msrdls says:

            I see your point, JZ71, but I suppose I don’t share your opinion that many parts of the city are safe. Sorry, but I just don’t “feel” it.   But it’s a moot point anyway, since I’ve accepted an offer from my employer to open a branch office in San Jose, CA, area. I had delayed my decision pending the results of my sons’ admission tests at Bellarmine College Prep and my wife’s success in joining an established practice in the area. Both are good and we’ll be leaving STL in early August. I wish STL much success, but as I’ve opined several times in the past, I don’t think success will come quickly until someone/something can be done to improve the city’s violent crime rates. When I first moved here, I thought Chief Isom could have some positive impact on “both sides”, considering whom he followed. But that obviously hasn’t happened. Perception would probably have it that crime has increased since Isom’s ascent to the throne.  When I left Santa Monica three years ago, I felt I had left behind a layer of skin. Leaving STL leaves me with a feeling of only taking a uniform off for the last time. But at least I feel as if I’ve left something behind.

          • JZ71 says:

            Like they say, it’s great to have choices . . . . good luck with the new office!

          • msrdls says:

            There were roughly three murders in St Louis City last year for every one car crash fatality.  Now remove 15-30 year old black males from the picture. Then you’ll find there were around 50 murders vs 39 vehicle fatalities, depending on the source you check. But there’s no question about the conclusion you can draw from the facts, however varied they may be depending on the source. If St Louis could report only 50 murders a year, it wouldn’t be listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. In that case, maybe I’d buy a bus ticket.

          • Moe says:

            Quite the interesting give and take going on.  I’m not a parent (but I stayed at a Holiday Inn…does that count?), but I can see where msrdls is coming from.  As a parent who wouldn’t want their kids to be safe?  Is it overkill?  Shoot, I don’t know and neither does anyone else.
            There are always options.Who’s to say who’s right/who’s wrong?

            Personally I drive, not afraid of the streets, and take Metro to the Airport and major events downtown.  I like to people watch and it’s good to be “in” society at times, though I hate large, large crowds.

            Where am I going with this?
            Whether we like it or not we (I live in the City as do quite a few of the posters above) need to recognize what msrdls is saying and why.  Some may think Metro is the only way to go, others think cars are the only way.

            My point is is that for the City to continue moving forward, we have to respect the reasons Countians do not “trust” the City…if that is the right word….and not just in Metro, but guns, crime, biking, strip malls, pedestrian access, all those other things that Steve has blogged about.  By respecting people like msrdls and figuring out why they are motivated the way they are, and then incorporating that into future planning, the City will move forward.

          • PeterXCV says:

            I don’t want to get nasty, all i can offer up is my own experience as a highschool student commuting from one side of the city to the other each school day on metro (I’m a senior, I’ve been doing it since freshman year). It’s your choice, but I would recommend you try taking transit for a week and see what it is like. I think you’ll be surprised, most of the people riding the bus are just working class people commuting to their jobs. 

  4. Moe says:

    Our traffic jams are nothing compared to other cities.  And people complain!!!

    And perhaps someone could answer me the question of why whether at the Muny, Fireworks, ball game, etc,….people have to hurry out running over people or in front of people all to be the first person out?  Whatever happened to just waiting for the crowds out to die down first?

    And the times I have used Metro, I always find it interesting to either meet the people I’m sitting next to, or at the very least people watch…..now that’s some cheap entertainment!!!!


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