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Civic Center Transit Center Sans Trees, Awaiting Redo

May 15, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Public Transit 4 Comments

In late March the Civic Center Transit Center, serving MetroBus and MetroLink, got a visually shocking change: all the trees were cut down. Take a look:

In October 2011 many brown areas could be spotted on the evergreen trees
In October 2011 many brown areas could be spotted on the “evergreen” trees
Aerial from Apple Maps, click image to view location in Google Maps
Aerial from Apple Maps, click image to view location in Google Maps
In March 2014 all the frees were cut down
In March 2014 all the trees were cut down
Looking north toward the Scottrade Center at 14th & Clark
Looking north toward the Scottrade Center at 14th & Clark, noticed the bare dirt
For years transit riders wore paths going from bus & light rail
For years transit riders wore paths going from bus & light rail in a more direct pattern than the paved routes provided
The official route from 14th to the MetroLink platform involves steps or two switchback ramps
The official route from 14th to the MetroLink platform involves steps or two switchback ramps
Back up at Clark we have an useless plaza
Back up at Clark we have an useless plaza
The plaza to MetroLink connection is direct. October 2011 photo
The plaza to MetroLink connection is direct. October 2011 photo before the trees on the left were cut down
Numerous bus lines stop on 14th street, the sidewalk  gets very crowded during busy times
Numerous bus lines stop on 14th street, the sidewalk gets very crowded during busy times
The ramps/crosswalk to the main MetroBus area is too narrow during peak times each day
The ramps/crosswalk to the main MetroBus area is too narrow during peak times each day
A portable trailer has sat here for years
A tacky trailer on blocks has sat here for years
Looking south toward the double-loaded aisle
Looking south toward the double-loaded aisle
The #99 Downtown Trolley parks on 14th because no room exists in the center. The able-bodied can easily make the walk across the curbs but the rest of us have to return to near Spruce St to get where we can cross
The #99 Downtown Trolley parks on 14th because no room exists in the center. The able-bodied can easily make the walk across the curbs but the rest of us have to return to near Spruce St to get where we can cross

The reason the trees were cut down was to clear the site for the construction of a larger MetroBus area, so more can pull into the center rather than stay on 14th. Metro has talked about this for a number of years, but the process is moving forward now.  On Monday I inquired with Metro about plans, yesterday they posted information on their blog, see Metro Moves Forward With New Transit Projects, and sent me the text that will appear on the project page shortly:

Civic Center Transit Center Expansion

The Civic Center Transit Center is one of Metro’s busiest transit hubs and it presently lacks the space needed to adequately serve the number of MetroBus routes converging at this location. The location at 14th and Spruce Streets in Downtown St. Louis is served by MetroLink, 18 MetroBus routes and Metro Call-A-Ride service.

Metro secured federal funding to redesign the Civic Center Transit Center to more effectively accommodate more buses and to provide greater customer safety, convenience and comfort.

The expansion will include:

  • 18 MetroBus bays
  • 2 Call-A-Ride bays
  • Space for 60-foot articulated buses
  • Construction of a new building with
    • An indoor, climate-controlled waiting area
    • Public restrooms
    • Digital messaging boards
    • A security sub-station
    • Concessions

The design contract for the project was awarded to Arcturis Inc. on October 2013. The project is scheduled to be completed by next fall with construction expected to begin late summer or fall 2014.

To redesign the property for the expansion, it was necessary to cut down the bald cypress and oak trees. The trees were removed prior to April 1 so as not to affect migratory birds. Metro will plant the same number of trees at another location or make a donation to a local forestry project.

Here’s the proposed site plan:

Click image to view larger version on Scribd
Click image to view larger version on Scribd

This changes the flow for buses and pedestrians, after I’ve had a chance to absorb the proposed design I’ll share my thoughts in a separate post.

— Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    The one big “miss” I’m seeing on the site plan is that with some bus bays, especially for the articulated buses, the shelters don’t line up with the bus door locations! They’re not there just for decoration, they’re (supposed to be?) there to provide protection! A secondary issue many be the bus turning radii, especially at the ends.

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      Yes, I preferred the continuous shelter provided at the Riverview TC.
      The 60ft articulated buses have a slightly tighter turning radius than a standard 40ft bus.

  • Chris Naffziger

    I always found it ironic that a mass transit center would not be urbanist in design.

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