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Old 01-26-2014, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
5,862 posts, read 11,418,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Does anyone think that our mass transit system will be expanded, or no? Could we see a bigger Metrolink, bus rapid transit, or even commuter rail?
Problem with that is the same problem we have out here, in CA. The more affluent 'burbs are affraid that criminal elements while come into their communities, rape their women and steal their big screen TVs.

Good mass transit systems get cars off the roads and create verrconvenient ways for everyone to enjoy the amenities of the large city. St. Louis would probably benefit very well from a light rail system that runs into the outer burbs.
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:21 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
1,221 posts, read 2,381,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Does anyone think that our mass transit system will be expanded, or no? Could we see a bigger Metrolink, bus rapid transit, or even commuter rail?
Not anytime soon, given that Metro receives 0% of its money from the state. When they do eventually expand it it should definitely NOT be out to the suburbs. They should be focusing on areas that already have the requisite density and street-level amenities to support public transportation, so that pretty much rules out everything outside of 170.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:35 AM
mtc
 
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Your comments are apt. I think it depends on the kind of gentrification a town is after. Do you think St. Louis wants an Austin like feel? That is probably very appealing but if so, that is many years off, if it could ever be.( Doubt it)
The trouble with St. Louis is that the mindset is divided. Transplants love the idea of a vibrant city with a thriving nightlife, great architecture, culture, etc.. but do they stay? Do they stay once they have children? Of the natives, I have many relatives there who would never think of moving out of the West County burbs or back over the river. It's not even on their radar. Some of their 20ish kids live downtown or Soulard but you can bet they'll move out if they marry because they have never left St. Louis and they don't have experience or examples of family living outside a suburb.

It would be difficult even to compare St. Louis to a place like Chicago because StL City never continued to thrive in coexistence with its growing suburbs. For St. Louis, the expansion of the suburbs after WWll was a zero sum game. Leaving the city behind after the war was seen as progress for every sane, upwardly mobile person. Not so Chicago, NY, SF, etc..

Ideally, many of the old neighborhoods could be repopulated and steadily gentrified. But realistically, I think what most people desire today is something of a hybrid which is what we have in the Northeast. We enjoy lots of safe, gentrified, inner ring suburbs, that have strong downtown centers, each with its own library, schools, town government, etc..which hold their value because outlying land is not available. The problem with St. Louis is there is always more undeveloped land somewhere west where it's cheaper to build new than renovate.
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:01 PM
 
1,478 posts, read 2,083,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn10am View Post
Not anytime soon, given that Metro receives 0% of its money from the state. When they do eventually expand it it should definitely NOT be out to the suburbs. They should be focusing on areas that already have the requisite density and street-level amenities to support public transportation, so that pretty much rules out everything outside of 170.
Agree with you here. Here's the problem: the areas that definitely have the requisite resident/employment density are already covered. The blue line extension ran about $80 million per mile with cost overruns. Even without them, in today's dollars, we'd be looking at 50-60 million per mile. According to studies like this one (http://www.uctc.net/research/briefs/UCTC-PB-2011-02.pdf), a $50 million per mile LRT investment needs about 50-55 people+jobs/acre around stations.

The highest residential density in the city not covered by LRT is primarily located in ungentrified portions of near S City @ 20-25 residents per acre. This would presumably fall to about 15-20 per acre as smaller units are combined for smaller households (offset some by rehabs of abandoned properties and new construction). 15-20 per acre is what we have in areas like TGS, gentrified portions of Benton Park, Shaw, etc. With enough infill at some point in the future, these areas might hit 20-25 residents/acre someday, but that remains to be seen. Employment density in these area is not high enough to bridge the gap.

The more likely scenario is probably BRT with dedicated turnstiles, platforms, and lanes on streets like Jefferson or Gravois at a cost of 10-15 million per mile. TOD initiatives wouldn't be needed to support the lines, but they would strengthen ridership at key locations like Jefferson/Gravois and Grand/Gravois as the line is constructed.
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:35 PM
 
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@Chicago76 (didnt want to quote because I'm on my phone)-I think that cost might be skewed a bot by the fact that the Metrolink acts more like a Rapid Transit system than a light rail system. I might be wrong on this but it seems that the metrolink is built less like an LRT and more like rapid transit. It uses mostly new and seperated RoW-the reason the blue line cost so much is because it required completely reconfiguring the Forest Park Parkway to allow for the new metrolink line, and then building the line itself. Plus, unlike most light rail systems, the metrolink uses raised platforms, which costs extra. If the metrolink is constructed alongside existing right of way (like the red line, built almost entirely on old Wabash RR RoW) or in less dense areas (like the St Clair extension), it will certainly cost much less while still having a positive effect.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:01 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
1,221 posts, read 2,381,061 times
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Yes, Metrolink is like a combination light rail/rapid transit system. It has the capacity of light rail but the infrastructure of heavy rail.

To be honest, I'd be happy with just a few strategic BRT routes in lieu of a new Metrolink expansion if we could get them in the next 5-ish years. My ideal system (assuming that the Olive/Lindell streetcar happens) would be three lines down Jefferson, Grand, and Kingshighway that would link up to streetcar stops and the Grand station where they cross paths. Even if the streetcar doesn't happen, it'd be nice to at least have BRT on Olive/Lindell.
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:55 AM
 
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Honestly, I think they should make a direct connection between Market Street and Forest Park Avenue and replace the highway exit things that mesh with Highway 40/I-64, then put a streetcar system down that road instead. The streetcar could share RoW with the metrolink down to Clayton after leaving the CWE. Also, a streetcar going down Gravois and then across the old Iron Horse bridge and over the McKinley bridge to any number of Madison county municipalities would be a good idea and reuse of old infrastructure.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:37 AM
 
1,478 posts, read 2,083,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
@Chicago76 (didnt want to quote because I'm on my phone)-I think that cost might be skewed a bot by the fact that the Metrolink acts more like a Rapid Transit system than a light rail system. I might be wrong on this but it seems that the metrolink is built less like an LRT and more like rapid transit. It uses mostly new and seperated RoW-the reason the blue line cost so much is because it required completely reconfiguring the Forest Park Parkway to allow for the new metrolink line, and then building the line itself. Plus, unlike most light rail systems, the metrolink uses raised platforms, which costs extra. If the metrolink is constructed alongside existing right of way (like the red line, built almost entirely on old Wabash RR RoW) or in less dense areas (like the St Clair extension), it will certainly cost much less while still having a positive effect.

To clear something up first: LRT and rapid transit aren't two separate things. Rapid transit reflects the degree to which a transit line separates itself from grade crossings, whether we're talking light rail or heavy rail or standard passenger rail (AMTRAK-type cars) that are often used in commuter rail. Commuter rail isn't exclusive of light rail either. It's just a reflection of how far apart stops are and the intended use of those stops (park and ride for outlying towns). Both are just degrees of emphasis that one can place upon three types of rolling stock (light, heavy, and AMTRAK-type cars). Your point on the cost overruns and the complexity of grade separation is entirely fair, but to put the cost in perspective, look at the cost of the original ESL-Lambert metrolink that made use of existing rail for most of the route: $50mm/mile adjusted for inflation. We can use this as the baseline for looking at three basic alternative for Metrolink expansion. In order to do this, we need to consider the cost of each option, how many/who will be riding under each scenario, and the ability to leverage transit stops into efficient transit-oriented development hubs. The three basic scenarios:

1-Extension from Clayton west. The only employment hub outside of what is already covered with sufficient employment density to draw transit (all other factors excluded) is Olive/270. A few problems: a) not TOD from Clayton-Employment Hub. Zoning and land use in Ladue, Town&Country, Creve Coeur isn't conducive and the resident density isn't good enough to justify the expansion. b) the residences people employed at Olive/270 are widely dispersed, so ridership rates would be low. They also have cars, tend to have higher incomes, and traffic from Chesterfield/Kirkwood/wherever isn't bad enough to force them on. c) A rail easement would need to be secured, which would be financially and politically expensive.

2-Build out of Metrolink on existing freight lines out toward Maplewood-Webster-Kirkwood. This wouldn't hit any major outlying employment area. The densities aren't really high enough. Transit oriented infill along a really heavy freight corridor would be tough because development tends to flee that if land is cheap enough elsewhere (and it is in STL). It would be good for the Grove, but that's about it. It would be less expensive, but it wouldn't perform to the standard needed to justify the cost.

3-Secure ROW to construct a line through the densest parts of the metro without service (near S. City around Gravois/Jefferson/Grand corridors. This would serve people likely to commute to downtown, making it a logical choice in that respect. It also would serve some economically marginalized areas, improving employment access. It also has the potential for forming nodes of activity that could spruce up certain parts of the city (like Grand/Gravois). All good things. What it can't do is get built cheaply. There is no legacy ROW, and securing and separating to ML standard would be costly (well over $50mm/mile). Separating to sub-ML standards would still be costly.

The cheapest option would run $500 million with limited ability to succeed. For the same price (maybe less), 4 BRT lines could be constructed that would serve as the transit backbone of the city, certain inner-ring suburbs, and a terminal on the IL side.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:22 PM
 
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@Chicago76 (on phone again)-Before I state another point, let me clarify that I'm not opposed to BRT. I think it would work very nicely for St Louis as long as we don't forcibly widen the roads they are on and thus destroy many historically valuable buildings (although I don't think this is likely). That being said, I do think that Metrolink extensions would be incredibly useful in addition to BRT. Your 3rd proposal, the south city idea, could work without costing too much. I think we could use the existing Union Pacific right of way that cuts past the Botanical Gardens and through South City to Carondelet; it could either be seperated from the existing freight line, or share the RoW with freight trains (a viable option that is practiced on several existing rapid transit/light rail systems). Could that possibly work?

Also, I think it would at least be fair to provide a corridor for the north side as well, especially considering the upcoming Regeneration project. Transit systems that connect to the north side would help revitalize the area. Considering how there's a lot of open land available, construction could be strategically placed while still being cost effective. If need be, such a hypothetical extension could also follow the TRRA trackage that cuts through north city.
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:09 PM
 
536 posts, read 726,145 times
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They've debated the city/country merger basically since I have been alive, and there is no doubt in my mind that it will happen eventually. Many other similar size cities have done the same thing with good results, and it's amazing that we haven't done it yet.
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