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Readers Want MetroLink in St. Louis County, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Presentations This Week

In the poll last week readers made it clear they want to see St. Louis County use Prop A funds to expand MetroLink. I’ll show the results later in this post but I want to share information on BRT informational meetings this week, starting today:

The Shrewsbury MetroLink station opened with the blue line extension on August 26, 2006.
The Shrewsbury MetroLink station opened with the blue line extension on August 26, 2006.

Public meetings will be held in September 2013 to gather public input on two final, recommended projects to be advanced into competition for Federal funding. The same meeting will be repeated at three locations along the proposed routes.

September 10, 2013
11a-1pm, open house with presentation at noon
City of St. Louis City Hall, 2nd floor
1200 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103

September 11, 2013
5:30-7:30 p.m., open house with presentation at 6:30 p.m.
The Heights (City of Richmond Heights Community Center)
8001 Dale Avenue, Richmond Heights, MO 63117

September 12, 2013
5:30-7:30 p.m., open house with presentation at 6:30 p.m.
St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley Campus, Student Services Center, Multipurpose Room
3400 Pershall Road, Ferguson, MO 63135

Here’s a summary:

The study is now in the alternatives analysis phase. Four alternatives have been identified:

  • Halls-Ferry Riverview BRT
  • West Florissant-Natural Bridge BRT
  • Page Avenue BRT
  • I-64 Highway BRT

These four potential BRT routes are options for improving transit connections between St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis. One of the study’s main goals is to address the need for quick, direct travel from neighborhoods north and south of Downtown St. Louis to employers located in north and west St. Louis County. The “Central Corridor” stretching from Downtown St. Louis to the Central West End and Clayton still holds the region’s largest concentration of jobs, but the largest job growth is occurring in places like Chesterfield, Earth City, and St. Charles – areas easily accessible by highway, but currently not by public transit. The type of BRT service currently being studied is intended to expand access and improve travel time to those job opportunities – of particular importance to reverse commuters traveling to major job centers in suburban areas – while also providing a premium transit alternative for car commuters. The Rapid Transit Connector Study will identify candidates for Metro’s first two BRT routes; Metro will continue to work with the region to identify future BRT routes. Other transit options identified in Moving Transit Forward, such as expansions of the MetroLink System, are intended to meet other long-term goals such as strengthening neighborhoods and encouraging transit-oriented development.

More information on the four routes at MovingTransitForward.org.

Four alternative BRT routes, click image to view larger version
Four alternative BRT routes, click image to view larger version

The top three answers in the poll were for more light rail (MetroLink), not Bus Rapid Transit:

Q: How should St. Louis County invest Prop A funds to expand public transit? (Pick 3)

  1. MetroLink (light rail) extension into South County from Shrewsbury station 41 [21.93%]
  2. MetroLink (light rail) extension from Clayton to Westport Plaza 37 [19.79%]
  3. MetroLink (light rail) extension into North County from North Hanley or airport 33 [17.65%]
  4. Apply to operations to increase frequency of current routes 24 [12.83%]
  5. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to West County 13 [6.95%]
  6. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to South County 11 [5.88%]
  7. Other: 11 [5.88%]
  8. Add new regular bus routes 10 [5.35%]
  9. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to North County 6 [3.21%]
  10. Unsure/No Answer 1 [0.53%]

I was delighted to see more funding to operations place 4th, rather than lower. Here are the 11 other answers:

  1. Better accomodation for cyclists
  2. MetroLink South City
  3. Expand metrolink into South city. Add double-buses on busiest lines.
  4. BRT to North and South City
  5. focus on service, not equpt – demand-responsive service & grid route structure
  6. North South Metrolink Roue
  7. Metrolink expansion to Chesterfield
  8. metrolink from shrews to webster and kirkwood
  9. Both North and South County Extensions
  10. How is north/south Mettolink not an option. This poll is meaningless.
  11. LRt to N County and S County through downtown.

For some reason 7 of these think County voters will let their tax money be spent within the city limits of St. Louis. The north & south light rail planning that took place a number of years ago had the extensions ending in park & ride lots on Goodfellow & Broadway, respectively. They’d never cross out of the city limits. Like Shrewsbury, they’d be built to expand further in the future.

Shrewsbury has been open for 7 years and it doesn’t look like we’ll be expanding south from there anytime soon. Just as well, where would it go?

— Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    That closing comment – “Just as well, where would it go?” – is unnecessarily snarky. If there’s no there there after Shrewsbury, what is there after the city limit in North County?! At least SoCo has Affton, Mehlville, South County Mall, Oakville and Arnold, places where people in NorCo are sending their kids from their underperforming schools . . . .

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      There’s no equivalent to say Westport Plaza in south county. Yes, many people call it home and it has many nice stable areas. It lacks a good point to bring very expensive light rail infrastructure.

      • JZ71

        I don’t consider West Port Plaza to be either north county or a major destination. It’s a fading retail office complex surrounded by low density industrial and warehouse uses, much like both Earth City and the area around South County Mall. If there is a destination for light rail in west county, it would be the two office complexes centered around I-270 & Olive and I-270 & Dorsett, along with the retail along Olive on either side of I-270.

        • John R

          Well, wouldn’t the idea be that extending BRT to West Port would help improve its attractiveness? Anyway, wherever BRT may go in the county, zoning changes and tax incentives should follow to concentrate jobs and development on transit corridors. That should be a strong point of City-County economic development cooperation…. major incentives should only go to those businesses along transit corridors.

        • dempster holland

          The westport line has several advantages. First of all, much of it will be on
          unused or little used railroad rights of way. Second, it is the only such line
          that comes close to west county. Third, it is within shuttle bus distance of a
          large number of businesses, thus providing reverse commuter service from
          the city and inner suburbs. Fourth, it can connect to a number of bus lines
          between Clayton and westport and thus provide a fast trip from that area
          to Clayton, barnes and downtown. If public transit is to continue to receive
          support from a sales tax in St Louis county (absolutely essential financially)
          it must provide a reasonable amount of service to St Louis county.

          • JZ71

            I agree that west county needs to be served. I disagree that West Port should be the primary destination, especially / just because “much of it will be on unused or little used railroad rights of way.” (See how well that works going thru U City & Welston!)

            We need to put rail transit where it both serves the largest number of daily commuters (to work or to classes) and is accessible to people who can and want to drive to a park-and-ride station, as well as connecting to existing and new bus routes. The biggest beneficiaries of having a Metrolink line ending at West Port would not be St County residents, it would be St. Charles County residents! I-270 sucks at rush hour = little incentive for people living north or south of West Port. In contrast, the Page Avenue Extension is usually clear sailing, from the west, until you hit 270 / West Port!

            If you truly want to serve west county, either doing light rail or BRT along Olive, all the way from downtown through Olivette out to Chesterfield and/or going out 64/40 from Clayton to Chsterfield / Gumbo Flats would be much better answers than providing express service from the end of the Page Extension into downtown. But if you really want to get ahead of the curve, let put the old Creve Coeur Lake interurban line back in place (much of the right of way still exists) and do a true TOD along the new 141!

          • dempster holland

            The basic advantage of light rail is speed, which not only serves
            riders much better but lowers labor costs per passenger mile. A
            light rail on existing streets not is forced to mingle with traffic but
            mosty importantly hits cross traffic. As to the creve couer right
            of way if indeed it still existss it would be another route to consider,
            but much of the route has become Midland Blvd I I have no problem
            with serving sty charles county commuters if they boost patronage
            on light rail and maybe allow more frequent service

      • Soco Fan

        SOCO always gets left out…. try driving from Oakville to Clayton. We need better roads, BRT or Metro. Even the results for BRT show more interest in BRT in SOCO than NOCO. SOCO has to pay all the taxes but does not get any benefits….Maybe if the county would serve our needs we could be come a destination point….

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      Going to Watson wouldn’t be much of a gain. Creating a new transit center with park & ride along I-55 in south county seems like the best option. BRT service could serve downtown and light rail to Clayton. South county & Jefferson county riders could park and get to Clayton or downtown.

  • Mark

    I would like to see a South Metro Link extension to tie in Soulard and some of the areas South, perhaps tying with the Shrewsbury line before any expansion out of the city center. Eventually it would be nice to tie in several locations out on 270 such as Westport, but for now concentration should be in the heart of the city where density makes public transportation make more sense. As far as St. Charles county goes, they had their chance to fund an extension and voted it down. They should go to the bottom of the list.

  • wimp

    First, its not just county money, the sales tax is also collected in the city. Second, a north south orientation could easily go south county, south city, downtown, north city, north county, so the money would be spent in the county as well, not just the city.

  • Joseph Frank

    Some version of Shrewsbury southward makes sense to me, the station was clearly bolt with that in mind. The BNSF corridor is challenging because it is in active use. A River des Peres corridor might work but would require city voter approval to build any new infrastructure in a city park. This could be a costly proposition just to go another 6 miles to South County Mall – which is, although not quite as shiny as it used to be, still a busy retail center surrounded by lots of still viable big box retail. So it is a lower-wage employment center as well as a source of commuters to other places.

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