For the last couple of months I’ve posted development opportunities along the proposed St. Louis Streetcar. Like our 20 year-old light rail line, this streetcar would also serve the central corridor. I live in the CC now, and I did when I first moved to St. Louis, but I lived in north or south St. Louis for 16 of my nearly 23 years in St. Louis. I lived in north St. Louis when MetroLink opened in 1993, and south St. Louis when the Shrewsbury extension opened. I rarely used MetroLink during those years, mostly just the occasional trip to/from the airport.
Though I’ll enjoy the modern streetcar line, if it happens, I know it must be expanded beyond the central corridor into north & south St. Louis, within a few years time. Many readers seemed to agree based on the results of the poll last week.
Nearly half (48.98%) picked answers involving fixed rail, while 45.3% picked answers running through city neighborhoods.
Q: Best way to improve public transit in North & South St. Louis? Pick up to 3
- In-street modern streetcar lines serving city neighborhoods 70 [28.57%]
- In-street light rail lines running through the city to connect to the county 50 [20.41%]
- Bus rapid transit (BRT) lines serving city neighborhoods 41 [16.73%]
- Run existing buses more frequently 41 [16.73%]
- Bigger articulated buses for the busiest routes 24 [9.8%]
- Reduce/eliminate fares 7 [2.86%]
- Buses that go from diesel in the county to electric via overhead wires in the city 6 [2.45%]
- Nothing, doesn’t need improving 3 [1.22%]
- Other: 3 [1.22%]
I’m not a fan of running in-street light rail through the city to reach park & ride lots in St. Louis County. The stops would be spaced so far apart it wouldn’t do much to help city residents, unless you happened to live around one of the few stations. Sorry, I don’t view north & south St. Louis as places county residents should have to get through quickly to reach a game downtown. Transit infrastructure should serve the meeds of the neighborhood it runs through.
A few years ago a friend suggested we run MetroLink down south of Busch Stadium, through the Soulard neighborhood. Really? You want light rail in a dense old neighborhood? Low-floor light rail vehicles w/platforms would consume much of the 12th Street right-of-way, our current high-floor vehicles would require more room. Side streets would need to be cut off to reduce the number of crossing points. In short, light rail in neighborhoods would be a disaster.
Modern streetcars, or decked out BRT (bus rapid transit) is the way to better serve city neighborhoods.
– Steve Patterson