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Readers Mixed on How to Reduce Auto Congestion in Forest Park

A few of you have expressed that you feel the weekly poll results here are predictable. Maybe you’re more perceptive than me because I couldn’t have predicted the outcome of the poll last week.

The green Forest Park Trolley loops around in the park and stops just north of the park at the Forest Park MetroLink station
The green Forest Park Trolley loops around in the park and stops just north of the park at the Forest Park MetroLink station

Here are the final results:

Q: How should we address auto congestion in Forest Park? (Pick up to 3)

  1. Run the existing Forest Park Trolley more frequently 44 [21.57%]
  2. Build a trolley/streetcar circulator system within the park 35 [17.16%]
  3. Change nothing, fine as is 32 [15.69%]
  4. Whatever you do don’t allow overhead wires within the park 23 [11.27%]
  5. Ban cars in the park at peak times only 17 [8.33%]
  6. Charge a toll per car to drive into the park anytime 15 [7.35%]
  7. Charge a toll per car to drive into the park at peak times only 11 [5.39%]
  8. Ban cars in the park at all times 10 [4.9%]
  9. Build an elevated monorail circulator in the park 9 [4.41%]
  10. Build an electric bus circulator system within the park 7 [3.43%]
  11. Unsure 1 [0.49%]

I’m not sure how I’d feel about tracks and/or overhead wires in Forest Park, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like a monorail. I included that option as a joke, but 9 voted for it.

Thankfully banning cars all the time got less than 5% of the vote. Comments on the original post showed a variety of viewpoints. I think it is fair to say no consensus was reached, the top three answers above are pretty dissimilar.

The Zoo and the Art Museum are the two biggest generators of autos, besides special events like the Ballon Glow.  The Zoo will be moving most parking across I-64 and using a gondola to get people into an expanded zoo. The Art Museum opens a new wing this coming weekend with a below-grade parking garage:

The design organically links the East Building to the Cass Gilbert. A new grand staircase provides a seamless transition to the lower-level galleries, where a concourse leads to a new café, a gift shop, auditorium and the new 300-space parking garage. (West End Word)

Both of these efforts will help. I think we need a year or two of both changes and evaluate then. In the meantime I’d like to see the Forest Park Trolley become more BRT (bus rapid transit) like with actual stations, longer hours, notification of the next trolley bus, etc. Hybrid buses would be nice to reduce pollution.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. moe says:

    Modern technology has progressed. There is no need for overhead clutter. Whether in the Park or down Washington Ave. We’re having an awakening of sorts to light pollution, let’s not have to refight on air clutter.

  2. John R says:

    One thing that would help is if motorists understood 1) traffic laws still apply in the park and 2) how to use roundabouts.

  3. John R says:

    Oh, I also forgot to mention more promotion and expansion of bike rentals and bike racks would be helpful. Its a great way to get around the park.

  4. gmichaud says:

    One solution would be to improve the mass transit system to the point where fewer people need to take the automobile to Forest Park in the first place. If that happened various solutions cited would have a chance of working.

    If we start from the point where people drive to the park anyway, none of the solutions will have the impact they should. One answer to the poll might be to rethink and redesign the whole transit system along with city planing components.

    I have been to a fair number of cities where important destinations like Forest Park are so well served by transit, many would not even consider using a car. Here in St. Louis public policy continues to force the use of the automobile for just about every trip,

    Until that changes I’m not sure any solution will really effective.Congestion pricing of autos might work if there were viable alternatives.


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