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Old 04-03-2014, 05:51 PM
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
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I've been thinking-there's a Union Pacific freight line that cuts right through the heart of South City. It is a single-track line, but historically was double-tracked; this shows us that traffic has certainly declined from its peak. This is also likely because this line was the quicker way into the city for freight trains using the Kirkwood cut-off (the detour for when the main line into the city was overcrowded), which is now Grant's Trail and no longer send trains along that line. The line also runs parallel to a current UP line in the same direction, making it redundant. Also, though I haven't seen it that often, I have never seen a train run on this line.

What does this have to do with Metrolink? Well, could it be possible that the city could purchase the line from the railroad and rearrange the line for Metrolink use? The infrastructure-bridges, Right-of-Way, crossings, grade cuts, etc.-are already in place for double-track construction, and the only thing missing would be the track itself, electric wires, and station platforms. Additionally, the population is there-South City is the more vibrant of the city's two sides and has a sizeable concentration of population and density that would make good use of transit. I don't doubt that this hypothetical south City corridor would get a lot of use.

So, what are your thoughts? I know it's just a rough idea, but would you say that this would be a workable expansion for the Metrolink system? Also, do you have any speculative ideas for a Metrolink expansion?

(Note: This is for Metrolink, I know there's a lot of support for BRT as well, but let's focus on rail in this thread at least. Thank you)
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:50 PM
Location: St. Louis
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That idea was actually proposed at some point, since it would be an absolutely PERFECT right-of-way, but, if I remember correctly, UP still uses it occasionally and wasn't interested in sharing a right-of-way with Metro. Boo.

The next most likely expansion will be the Jefferson/Broadway corridor or the corridor out to Westport (which is a really stoopid idea, in my opinion). However, keep in mind that any MetroLink expansions will be years off, since Metro doesn't receive a dime from the state of Missouri.

In the short term, I'd like to see BRT in areas of the metro with the highest population densities that are most likely to use it, namely the City and inner suburbs. The current plan for BRT on the interstates with suburban park-and-rides is almost as pointless as the Westport MetroLink line.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:07 PM
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Though I said I don't want to talk about BRT, I actually do and I will. I think a BRT corridor down Forest Park Avenue/Market St would be an optimal course (I also think that the Market St-FP Ave-64/40 interchange should be done away with and FP Ave directly connected with Market St). The route could run from downtown to the Skinker Metrolink station. Other good routes could be: Grand, Delmar, Olive, Kingshighway, Gravois, Manchester/Chouteau, or Florissant Ave. I agree that interstate-based BRT would be useless; as far as I'm aware, you're supposed to use BRT to get from one walkable area to another, and usually development by interstates are gas stations and chain hotels that are behind large parking lots and can hardly be called "walkable."

Also, another speculative question-would the North side ever have a shot if getting its own Metrolink line, if the South Side were to get one? If so, what would that look like?
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:18 PM
Location: St. Louis
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I totally agree with your BRT routes. I think suburban BRT routes would also work quite well, as long as they were along Manchester, Olive, Watson, etc. where all of the amenities are actually located and it would be conceivable to walk to said amenities from the stations.

I'm not totally sure, but I think the Jefferson/Broadway MetroLink proposal also included a north side element, but I can't remember what street it ran on. It'd be great if it went up Jefferson and then turned NW onto MLK or Natural Bridge and extended all the way to UMSL. There's a lot of people in that area who could really benefit from convenient public transpiration.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:55 AM
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I think that Manchester, Watson, Olive, and Natural Bridge BRT into the suburbs would be a pretty good idea. Maybe some TOD could develop? We could use more of that here for sure.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:25 AM
Location: Paris
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I'll have to check (I think there's even an old thread on here), but all of this information is available. Metro published a 20yr (?, don't remember the range...) timeline that included possible future light rail corridors. The north side def. could see rail, and the primary reason is it would mean a lot more financial support from the feds (who were not thrilled about the westport line idea). I think it ran on Florissant for a little while... It's the same street that is also being discussed for a street car line (the street car line is much shorter).

The UP line on the south side was also heavily discussed (as well as I think 2 alternatives, Dawn's mentioned Jefferson one which I believe went along 55 afterwards and another one) and could happen, but like Dawn said the right-of-way rights could end up being expensive to secure as UP wasn't very interested in losing them. There is also the slight problem that most neighbourhoods basically have their backs to the line, so even with all of the right-of-way in place it does still have some issues.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:25 PM
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I'm coming around to the idea of doing a North/South line as a streetcar rather than grade-separated light rail, at least within the urban area. I think there's a specific proposal somewhere along those lines.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:49 PM
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Here is the EW Gateway report from 2008 - Showing the north and south side preferred corridors - the south side runs straight south down Jefferson from Chouteau after making the downtown loop - the north side would run north up Florissant and then northwest on Natural Bridge

Northside Southside Study

The old UP line runs further west and then thru The Hill, and Tower Grove South before going south to 55 - it was considered but not pursued due to the lack of good connections to major thoroughfares (ie it touches Grand - but way far south on grand - also hits Morgan Ford at the deadest point.

The Jefferson alignment would touch a lot of east west connectors - Chippewa, Cherokee, Russell, and Arsenal

In 2008 they thought that SS would add 6,600 riders a day NS about 2,800 - I think that SS would add more pretty easily - NS might actually be less now

I would not look forward to it anytime soon (though would loved to be proved wrong on that) While Metro's revenue stream is solid now - they learned a hard lesson doing the Blue Line in 2006 - It needs a federal match - and those are few and far between these days -

And State of Missouri will be no help as they still have learned a hard lesson that connecting every town with 10,000 population w/ 4 lane divided was a monumental waste of money and provided a fraction of the economic activity that 6 miles of Metrolink expansion would
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