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Central West End (CWE) MetroLink Station Poorly Connected To Taylor Ave

Our busiest MetroLink light rail station is the Central West End (CWE) station, but it’s also one of the worst when it comes to connecting to a public street. If you head up the stairs/elevator at the west end of the platform you’ll get to a plaza where Euclid Ave used to be, now part of the Washington University Medical School/BJC campus that’s decimated the street grid. Head east and the grid remains mostly intact, but getting to it isn’t easy.

Looking east toward Taylor from the CWE MetroLink platform
Looking east toward Taylor from the CWE MetroLink platform
Looking east down the service driveway toward Taylor
Looking east down the service driveway toward Taylor

The connection is narrow & winding, designed to get MetroBus rides to/from light rail. It isn’t designed for pedestrians to reach Taylor Ave. Why might someone want to go to Taylor Ave?  For one, various hospital related buildings are within a few blocks. The CWE is to the north, but one can use the former Euclid Ave to connect with Euclid Ave. To the south, however, is the Forest Park Southeast (FPSE neighborhood) and The Grove, accessed via Taylor Ave.

Expensive investments in mass transit infrastructure, such as light rail, needs to be designed to maximize use and thus, return on investment. If you didn’t see the train occasionally or the crossing gates, you’d never know a station as been just off Taylor Ave for more than two decades.

— Steve Patterson


The Solution To Reduce Parking In MetroBus Stops Exists In Front Of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Headquarters

October 13, 2014 Featured, Public Transit 13 Comments

At various MetroBus stops all over the city motorists decide it’s ok to park in the stop, forcing the bus to stop in traffic to pick-up/drop-off passengers.  I’ve shown a couple of examples before, both on Market St:

ABOVE: MetroBus stop on the north side of Market Street between 14th-15th, across from the Peabody Opera House
2013: MetroBus stop on the north side of Market Street between 14th-15th, across from the Peabody Opera House
At 12:31pm I posted this image to my blog's Twitter account & Facebook page with the text: "This morning a @SLMPD traffic cop parked in front of a hydrant in a @STLMetro bus stop, forcing me to go 2 blocks east to catch the bus"
2014: Traffic cop parked in front of a hydrant in a bus stop on EB Market @ 16th

The ideal solution to prevent all motorists from blocking access to bus stops is to push the sidewalk out so vehicles can’t physically park there. However, that would be very expensive and then buses would block traffic. In looking for a low cost solution I turn to the police. No, not enforcement — to the new police headquarters. You see, the entire north side of Olive between 19th & 20th is reserved for police but it seems even they anticipated problems enforcing a no parking zone in front of the entry.

Let me repeat, they took extra steps to make sure police didn’t park in a no parking zone!

Paint is cheap, by painting the pavement in addition to the curb they've made it clear this isn't for parking
Paint is cheap, by painting the pavement in addition to the curb they’ve made it clear this isn’t for parking
Signs at each end make it clear no parking is allowed.
Signs at each end make it clear no parking is allowed.

I’m not suggesting we paint the street in front of thousands of MetroBus stops throughout the region, that would be costly and unnecessary. However,  at 10-20 of the most problematic bus stops, this should be done immediately! If the police can’t otherwise enforce no parking in front of their headquarters we can’t expect them to do any better elsewhere.

— Steve Patterson


Transit Rider Input Sought By Metro For New MetroBus Transit Center In North County

Next Tuesday, October 7th, is the third and final event Metro will host to get customer input into changes to MetroBus routes once the new Transit Center opens about a year or so from now. From the press release:

Metro transit is inviting MetroBus customers and the public to learn more about the new North St. Louis County Transit Center at three upcoming informal meetings. The new transit center, which is scheduled to open in fall 2015, will be located at 3140 Pershall Road between West Florissant Avenue and New Halls Ferry Road in Ferguson. The new MetroBus facility will feature an indoor passenger waiting area, public restrooms, concessions, and a free Park-Ride lot.

The new Metro transit hub will transform bus service in the North St. Louis County which is one of Metro’s fastest growing public transit markets. It accounts for 19 percent of MetroBus and MetroLink ridership.

Since North County MetroBus routes will change when the new transit center opens, the open-house style meetings will be an opportunity for customers to help plan and shape MetroBus service.  There will be no formal presentations so Metro employees can talk with MetroBus riders about their transit needs in North County. Riders will be encouraged to discuss options on how MetroBus routes should connect with this new facility and the surrounding communities.

The first two were held at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley Student Center (September 30th) and North Hanley MetroLink Station (October 2nd). The 3rd will be at the Riverview-Hall Transit Center at 9021 Riverview Drive on Tuesday October 7th from 2pm-6pm.

The following nine MetroBus routes will get you to Riverview-Hall:

If you use public transit in North County it’s important Metro’s planners hear from you.

Thursday October 2, 2014
Transit riders look at information boards on Thursday October 2, 2014

Yesterday I stopped by the 2nd event, at the North Hanley MetroLink station. I learned Metro planners want to know the locations where people use transit. Routes will change once the new transit center opens, they want to supplement the rider information they already have.

— Steve Patterson


Braille Bus Stop Signs Shouldn’t Face The Street

August 21, 2014 Accessibility, Featured, Public Transit Comments Off on Braille Bus Stop Signs Shouldn’t Face The Street

For nearly a decade this blog has been about my observations, even if some think they’re trivial.  Monday & Tuesday I noticed something I’d never seen before, braille signs to mark bus stops.

Braille bus stop sign on  W. Florissant in Dellwood
Braille bus stop sign on W. Florissant in Dellwood, SB #74. 8/18/2014
Braille bus stop sign at Jennings/Ferguson line faces W. Florissant, not the sidewalk
Braille bus stop sign at Jennings/Ferguson line faces W. Florissant, not the sidewalk. NB #74, 8/19/2014

Out of curiosity I turned to the web to learn more. I found the following on a site administered by Easter Seals, Inc., but funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation & Federal Transit Administration:

Question: Is braille required on bus stop signs?


For bus stops, there is no requirement for braille. However, if braille is provided, then the information must meet certain standards.
The braille information should be placed uniformly on the bus stop pole, and not on the traffic side. Always ensure that braille dots are raised to the touch. If possible, have a person who reads braille confirm that it is the correct label. Materials for braille include embossed labels, polymer, chemically welded raster beads, cast metal and stamped metal. Costs vary depending on the process and materials.

Placement and orientation of braille is important and should be placed below any corresponding text. Braille signs should be mounted and installed in the correct location. For details on signage, see Chapter 7, Communication Elements and Features in the 2010 ADA Standards.


Other accessibility considerations include providing bus stop sign poles that are stylized with tactile features to distinguish them from other poles for customers with visual impairments. For example, some transit systems have selected a square pole that uniquely identifies the stop from traffic sign posts. It is important to consider tactile raised letter information with the braille information as many people who are blind or have low vision are not braille readers. (Project ACTION)

The 2nd sign shown above, with the rose, is facing the street. Metro’s signs are often installed toward the street, not toward the pedestrian on the sidewalk. The visually impaired want to be independent like anyone else, the least we can do is think where they’d walk to read a braille sign.

— Steve Patterson


Forget TOD, Apparently Parking Critical To Financing Redevelopment of Arcade-Wright Building

July 31st marks 21 years since the 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station opened downtown, the Arcade-Wright building on that corner remains undeveloped.  For nearly 20 minutes at the June Parking Commission meeting Otis Williams (SLDC: St. Louis Development Corporation) & Steve Stogel talked about a variety of downtown development issues, including why a lease for parking spaces in the 7th Street garage was critical.

The Arcade portion of the Arcade-Wright, 8th & Olive
The Arcade portion of the Arcade-Wright, 8th & Olive
The Wright portion of the Arcade-Wright, 8th & Pine
The Wright portion of the Arcade-Wright, 8th & Pine, entry/exit to station (WB) next to building
The Arcade-Wright across 8th Street from the 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station
The Arcade-Wright across 8th Street from the 8th & Pine MetroLink light rail station (EB)
The city-owned 7th Street parking garage
The city-owned 7th Street parking garage

During the 18 minute discussion many details about the proposed redevelopment are revealed.

The Arcade-Wright building:

  • is owned by the LCRA (Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority), for about 5 years
  • is one of the last buildings awaiting redevelopment downtown.
  • has roughly 500,000 square feet
  • Webster University will lease the 1st floor, mezzanine & 2nd floor, 55,000 sq ft. Their campus will be about 90,000 sq ft total
  • Upper floors will be a combination of (202) affordable and (80) market rate apartments
  • $118 million dollar project
  • LCRA bought the Arcade-Wright building for $4,500,000 after John Steffen’s Pyramid Constriction firm collapsed with 7-9 downtown buildings
  • Mortage was held by Bank of America. Total for this mortgage and several other buildings was $32 million
  • Interest had accrued and property taxes hadn’t been paid on the properties
  • Development will let the LCRA get reimbursed for all expenses
  • Not enough parking in the building, “the 200 affordable units have to park somewhere”, seeking long-term lease in the 7th street garage so the residents in the affordable units have parking


  • Redevelopment of the Chemical building at 8th & Olive will move forward once the Arcade-Wright is underway
  • The owner of the Laclede Gas Building is planning a renovation once Laclede Gas moves out
  • Jefferson Arms is the other building that was held by Steffen in 2008 that hasn’t been renovated yet
  • April 23, 2008 John Steffen asked Steve Stogel to help him liquidate. (Note: Pyramid shut down on April 18, 2008)
  • The Chemical building is 160,000-180,000 sq ft

This was on June 12th, I’ve not seen any announcements since. I recorded (audio) of the nearly two hour meeting, you can listen to the last 18 minutes about the Arcade & development here.

Further reading:

So all 202 affordable (subsidized) apartments at a MetroLink stop need a parking space in the garage a block away to finance the redevelopment. It’s unclear if parking at Dominium’s Leather Trades & Metropolitan is included in the base rent or an additional charge. I’m not sure anyone involved realizes the building is adjacent to an underground light rail station — one people would need to walk past to reach the parking garage! Enterprise CarShare also operates downtown, for times when residents need wheels.

— Steve Patterson