Home » Downtown »Featured »Public Transit »Retail » Currently Reading:

The Union Station MetroLink Stop Should Be Moved Under The Train Shed

October 1, 2012 Downtown, Featured, Public Transit, Retail 20 Comments

St. Louis’ Union Station reopened as a “festival marketplace” in 1985 and eight years later our light rail system, MetroLink, opened. For the last 18 years the Union Station stop is basically on the other side of 18th Street. Stairs and and elevator do come up on the east edge of the old train shed, but you’d hardly describe the station as well-integrated.

ABOVE: This is the view when you come up to grade from the MetroLink platform. An open-air parking garage!
ABOVE: MetroLink trains travel through the old baggage tunnel under the historic Union Station train shed.
ABOVE: The MetroLink platform is located on the east side of 18th Street, totally exposed to the elements.

My thought is build a new platform in the tunnel with steps and elevator coming up in the middle of the train shed. Currently some riders catch buses on 18th but once the Civic Center MetroBus Transit Center is rebuilt and expanded I expect we’ll see those lines move to 14th.  Yes, the interior of the tunnel will need to be finished so it is not so creepy looking.

ABOVE: A walkway exists at the center point of the shed, coming up to grade at this point would put you very close to Hard Rock Cafe and equal distance between 18th and 20th Streets.
ABOVE: Looking east toward the current MetroLink exit
ABOVE: Looking south you’d be in line to walk to the office buildings along the south edge of the property next to I-64.
ABOVE: A decent connection that probably doesn’t get much use.

A new platform and direct access under the shed with improved pedestrian connections to main building, office buildings, 18th and 20th along with a revised parking lot could dramatically change impressions of Union Station.  A few more free-standing structures like the Hard Rock Cafe could add to the activities.  It’s been 27 years since Union Station reopened — it’s time for a major rethink of transit, train shed, and pedestrian circulation.

Please don’t suggest that Amtrak service be resumed at Union Station, I’m tired of hearing that every time I mention Union Station, train service at  the new facility works fine.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "20 comments" on this Article:

  1. Fozzie says:

    What a ridiculous waste of limited Metro resources.

    Besides, Metro is already spending millions to refurbish the Eads Bridge, including replacement of sub-standard rail and ties that should have been done right the first time.

    • Who said Metro should do this? The new owners of Union Station should do this to better integrate transit into the property.

      • Ed Golterman says:

        They have the money, but I don’t think they have the brains.

        • Ed & other “non commercial R/E developers”, it kills me when you make idiotic statements such as this! I can assure you that they do not have any money. Have you been in their recently? The tenancy is limited, and many (if not all) the tenants are on short term agreements, and lastly, the Marriot has never achieved the success the Hyatt had.

    • Ed Golterman says:

      Amtrak. Would it not be far more dramatic, interersting and beneficial to have Amtrak
      back in? Do a tunnel under the street for the METRO folks. Metro’s big problem is collecting fares.

  2. guest says:

    I wonder why they didn’t do this in the first place? Maybe the owners of Union Station didn’t want to lose the parking spaces?

    • My guess is Union Station had just reopened when planning for the stop began and they didn’t want to significantly alter what was going well at the time.

      • guest says:

        Isn’t the current station location more convenient to a greater number of downtown office workers than one located inside the station would be?

        • I’d say the bulk of office workers use the Civic Center, Stadium, 8th & Pine, Convention Center and Laclede’s Landing Stations.

          • Ed Golterman says:

            Why not both? Both is better than one or the other. If there is to be growth and recovery west of Tucker? May be the two failed buildings behind the station can find life, again?

        • Ed Golterman says:

          Absolutely. For example in K.C.s all the promotional agencies-their chamber of commerce ,their tourism people, their development department, their international trade office-all in Union Station. This is where the government offices jammed into the Abrams Building should a have gone and the Abrams block dedicated to the combined opera house/scottrade center combo.
          That was the intent when the City bought the Abrams. The hammer came
          down from grand avenue, and that ended that. What an interesting place then for people who come to Kiel, to Scottrade, the students and faculty at the downtown SLU law school, residents of Plaza Square. Not gonna happen.

      • Ed golterman says:

        My ‘guess’ is grand avenue has blocked all positive steps that could have brought
        back Downtown west of Tucker for nearly 3 decades. And I put my guesses in a book.

  3. Ed Golterman says:

    Of course. And at least a line for Amtrak. Kansas City’s Union Station is totally leased out now, benefiting from the spectacular Kauffman Center a few blocks up the street and from
    the National World War One Musueum across Pershing. It is functional union station. The other problem here is that those who failed at Union Station refused to help reopen Kiel Opera House years ago and do healthy cross-promotions. They cared only about themselves, their property and they failed.

  4. Matthew Huff says:

    The new Grand station isn’t much better. The pathway from the platform to the street takes you out from under the bridge into the elements. The stair towers also do not provide sufficient cover when it is raining. These are simple things but were overlooked in the design.

  5. Eric says:

    How expensive would this be? If the main purpose of this is to protect from the weather, putting a cover over the current station would probably be much cheaper.

    • It’s very disconnected now, the purpose is to put it in a more useful spot.

      • eric says:

        “Disconnected” by about 75 meters? It would cost millions of dollars to move the station 75 meters and that hardly seems worth it.

        • Union Station needs to reinvent itself again and the outdoor part of the train shed is the area that disconnects the main structure with hotel from the offices and vacant theater at the south.

  6. moe says:

    Metro works just fine where it is now.


Comment on this Article: