Loop Trolley | St. Louis Public Radio

Loop Trolley

(Missouri History Museum, St. Louis)

Trolleys are making a comeback across the country from Seattle to Tampa with promises of economic development and walkable neighborhoods.

In St. Louis an effort to bring the fixed tracks back to University City’s Delmar Loop began in 1997.

After the $44 million project landed a big federal grant, it seemed St. Louis would be home to trolleys again.

But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports the proposed Loop Trolley has hit some bumps.

(Missouri History Museum)

A federal lawsuit filed last week could create serious delays for the U-City Loop Trolley project.

It alleges that the vote taken to create the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District violated both state and federal laws.

Four individuals, including former University City Councilwoman Elsie Beck Glickert, filed the suit claiming it was unconstitutional to allow non-resident property owners to vote and weighting that vote based on the number of acres they owned.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The long-delayed Loop Trolley Project faced some high-profile challenges this year, most notably a stern warning from the Federal Transit Association that it could lose a crucial federal grant.

But University City businessman Joe Edwards -- one of the trolley's key backers – said he’s increasingly confident that the project will begin construction next year. That’s because handlers of the project met a Federal Transit Agency deadline to turn in required planning documentation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 4, 2013 - The long-delayed Loop Trolley Project faced some high-profile challenges this year, most notably a stern warning from the Federal Transit Association that it could lose a crucial federal grant.

But University City businessman Joe Edwards -- one of the trolley's key backers – said he’s increasingly confident that the project will begin construction next year. That’s because handlers of the project met a Federal Transit Agency deadline to turn in required planning documentation.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 7, 2013: Construction of the Loop trolley could begin this fall and be completed next year -- despite the withdrawal of the Missouri History Museum’s $1 million pledge to help fund the line between the Delmar Loop and Forest Park.

Businessman Joe Edwards, the force behind the development of the Delmar Loop and leader of the effort to build the trolley line, said the loss was only a slight bump in the road.

(Missouri History Museum)

St. Louis has a long had a special relationship with the trolley.  It’s a relationship immortalized by actor and singer Judy Garland in the film Meet Me In St. Louis

Currently, there are independent efforts in St. Louis to revive the presence of a trolley, or as some proponents say, streetcar. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 11, 2013 - On Wednesday, along Edgewood Street in downtown Atlanta, 80-foot-sections of steel rail were lowered into trenches in the street. It was the first section of rail for Atlanta Streetcar, following a process that took 10 years and millions of dollars.

The first rails went into the historic Martin Luther King district of Atlanta and, once complete, will feature an east-west line with 2.6 miles of rail.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 1, 2013 - The St. Louis circuit attorney’s office has presented issues involving the Missouri History Museum for consideration by a grand jury.

Two commissioners of the Zoo-Museum District – Charles Valier and Gloria Wessels – said they have received subpoenas from the grand jury asking for documents involving three issues:

Morning headlines: Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sep 6, 2012
(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Criminal case against Kansas City Bishop to reach swift end today

The criminal case against the highest-ranking Catholic official in the U.S. to be charged with shielding an abusive priest is poised to reach a surprisingly fast end. Jackson County, Mo., prosecutors and attorneys for Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn have agreed to have a judge hear their case today, weeks ahead of a scheduled jury trial date.

Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are each charged with a misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse.

Loop Trolley gets balance of $25M grant

Sep 6, 2012
(Missouri History Museum)

The Loop Trolley project has received a boost of funding to help propel its construction process, according to the Missouri History Museum.

Federal decision green lights the Loop trolley

Sep 4, 2012

This article first appeared in th St. Louis Beacon,  Sept. 4, 2012 -  Removing the Loop Trolley project’s last major hurdle, the Federal Transit Administration decided yesterday to award the Loop’s Transportation Development District (TDD) a $25 million grant.

The news was met with celebration by the Trolley’s proponents, including Joe Edwards, the Loop businessman who has championed the project for over a decade, and Robert Archibald, the president of the Missouri History Museum.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 21, 2012 - In a week, the Federal Transit Administration will determine whether the St. Louis Loop Trolley Project is feasible enough to move forward -- but even if the FTA gives the project a thumbs up, not all University City residents will be happy.

If it is deemed viable, the project could move forward. The Loop trollies would travel down a 2.2 mile stretch that begins at the Lion Gates and then heads east onto Delmar to DeBaliviere. After heading south on DeBalivere, the trolley would then circle around the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

There usually isn't much of a market for old streetcars, many of which were built in the 1920s. And the ones you can find are usually in pretty bad shape.

So when officials from the Loop Trolley project got a tip that five well-maintained cars were sitting in storage in Seattle, they headed west to investigate - and liked what they saw, said project manager Doug Campion.

"The fact that it's a full fleet, my goodness," Campion said. "This could be very good for us, very helpful."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 29, 2012 - The trolley planned from the Delmar Loop to the Missouri History Museum is bringing information into the area it is designed to serve. Part of that was the subject of a recent discussion at the Regional Arts Commission.

Meredith Hawkins Trautt of the Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis presented “The History of the Delmar Loop Through Architecture.” As part of the trolley project’s required environmental assessment, the research center mapped the Loop’s architectural heritage.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Supporters of a plan to build a trolley line from the University City lions to the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park say the project is right on its revised schedule.

The Loop Trolley will cost about $44 million to build. Construction could begin in 2013, and Bob Archibald, the president of both the Missouri Historical Society and the non-profit Loop Trolley Company says work should be finished by 2014, the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Those behind the Loop Trolley project, a 2.2 mile fixed-rail streetcar system from the Loop to Forest Park, got some welcome news today.

Funding to help with the design portion of the project has been secured via a $2.8 million portion of a federal grant. Word of the committed funding came via a press release congratulation from Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

New traffic routing system and trolley service coming to Forest Park

Mar 29, 2011
(Julie Bierach/St. Louis Public Radio)

Beginning Friday, a new traffic routing system and trolley service will be implemented at Forest Park.

The new traffic plan (see map below) was announced today by the non-profit Forest Park Forever and partnering institutions to help alleviate congestion at the Hampton entrance to the park.

Lesley Hoffarth, president of Forest Park Forever, said that from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, vehicles will be diverted to the east on Wells.

Joe Edwards steps down but stays busy

Mar 8, 2011

Late last week, Joe Edwards announced that he’s stepping down as the Chairman of the Loop Special Business District after 30 years leading the board.  He stopped by St. Louis on the Air today to chat about his decision and what’s next for the six-block district along Delmar that’s been designated “One of the 10 Great Streets in America” by the American Planning Association.

Loop Trolley making progress toward 2012 opening

Jan 11, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Delmar Loop Trolley is making steady progress toward a goal of opening sometime in 2012.

The project would span more than 2 miles and connect Forest Park to the Delmar Loop.

Joe Edwards, the man behind almost every project on the Delmar Loop, says the trolley should clear its environmental impact study next month.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 12, 2010 - While area leaders applauded the announcement of almost $25 million in federal funding for construction of a Loop trolley line in St. Louis, public reaction to the plan is mixed.

Some residents hailed the proposed trolley line linking the Loop neighborhood with the History Museum in Forest Park as good for St. Louis, but others questioned the wisdom of spending dwindling federal dollars on a streetcar line in tight economic times.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 9, 2010 - Development potential, not the streetcar itself, sold the federal government on funding a trolley line to link the Loop with Forest Park, U.S. Department of Transportation Undersecretary Roy Kienitz said this morning at a ceremony where he officially awarded $24.9 million to the nonprofit Loop Trolley Co.

"It's about businesses, it's about entertainment, it's about housing, it's about creating jobs, it's about economic value, it's about connecting universities with residential," he said. "There are bike networks going in. The street's going to be redesigned. They've thought of everything."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 8, 2010 - Just a week after Metro introduced its downtown "trolley" -- buses wrapped to look like vintage trolleys -- U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, has announced that authentic trolleys could soon return to the Delmar Loop in University City.

"I have been pushing the Loop Trolley for almost 10 years because it will connect two great neighborhoods that I am proud to represent, the U. City Loop and Forest Park," said Clay in a press release. "This exciting new attraction will serve both visitors and local residents, while generating jobs and lots of fun."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 16, 2010 - Joe Edwards and other supporters of a Loop trolley did not get the good news on Wednesday they were hoping for. The Loop Trolley did not win the $50 million-plus from the federal TIGER transportation grant program. Trolley projects in four other cities -- Portland, Ore., New Orleans, Dallas and Tucson -- got funding. But the Loop Trolley has other grant requests still pending. No St. Louis city or county projects got TIGER funding; Madison County got $6 million for a regional port district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 15, 2010 - Outside the Delmar Loop MetroLink stop, the view is lopsided. To the west are the Loop's restaurants, flashing lights, busy sidewalks and venues. But to the east it's dark, the sidewalks are deserted, and there is nothing to attract any visitors.

Commentary: Trolley idea needs an overhaul

Aug 26, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2009 - My wife and I are passionate fans of mass transit, and we don't just cheer from the sidelines. For seven years, she has relied on MetroLink to get to work downtown each day from our home in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood. Since the opening of the South County expansion, I have taken it, as much as its practical, to my job in Webster Groves - though for me it is more costly than driving, definitely slower and usually involves taking my bike on the train.

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