Light rail study shows commuters would use a north-south route | St. Louis Public Radio

Light rail study shows commuters would use a north-south route

Jan 17, 2018

The Northside-Southside Consulting Team presented the results of its ongoing study Tuesday at the first of three open houses.
Credit Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Thirty percent of people in the St. Louis region who might rely on a north-south MetroLink route do not have access to a car, according to an ongoing transit study.

The Northside-Southside Consulting Team shared the results of its study and other information Tuesday during an open house at the Five Star Senior Center in the Benton Park West neighborhood of south St. Louis.

A north-south MetroLink route could help more people in St. Louis travel to jobs and spur job development, said Dan Meyers, a senior transportation planner for AECOM, a consulting firm for the rail system.

“What this can also do is bring jobs to the north side and south side as well,” said Meyers, who added that a new rail line could attract development projects along the route.

“They might be able to be right there with the light rail,” he said of potential riders. Completing the entire north-south route is expected to cost $1.3 billion.

But the region likely will be able to only fund half of the route, said Marcie Meystrik, corridor planning coordinator for the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the agency overseeing MetroLink Expansion.

The project will be paid for with federal money and a portion of the one half of one percent sales tax voters approved last spring for MetroLink and urban development, she said.

Meystrik said planners want ideas on what a new line would include from potential riders.

“We’re looking for ideas on what types of station features they would like to see at the stations along the line,” she said. “Do we need parking at this station? Do we need bicycle accommodations? We’re also looking at what kind of safety features make people more comfortable.”

The study should be completed by July.

MetroLink currently operates two lines. The Red Line provides service between the Lambert Airport  and Shiloh-Scott Air Force Base. The Blue Line provides service between Shrewsbury and  Fairview Heights.

Meyers said early survey results also found that people in north and south St. Louis would use a north-south MetroLink route to travel throughout the region. He said the findings reflect the feedback of initial respondents to the survey, but planners hope to hear from more potential riders. The first portion of the new line would extend from Goodfellow Boulevard and Natural Bridge Avenue on the northwest to I-55 and Bayless Avenue. on the southeast.

“We’re really looking for your input, what’s important to you, and how we can change the design as we move forward,” Meyers said.

Another open house will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. today at the Central Library at 1301 Olive St. On Thursday, one will take place during those hours at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, 2901 N. Grand Blvd.

Follow Chad on Twitter @iamcdavis