Yesterday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch (2/26) feature by Tim Bryant about a streetcar line that is proposed by the Partnership for Downtown to link downtown and the CWE (click on the map to enlarge) is sure to spark interest. The seven-mile system has been proposed as a catalyst for economic development between downtown and the CWE. Downtown Partnership's president Maggie Campbell told the PD that the idea resulted from SLU's decision to move its law school downtown. The article continued: "SLU's initial plan to run shuttle buses between the new law school on Tucker Boulevard and its midtown campus quickly turned to discussion of streetcars instead."
Campbell said that a combination of federal funds and a new tax on property near the lines could fund the project. Property owners near the proposed lines would have to approve the tax increase. The trolley line would use two sets of tracks along Olive Street and Lindell to Taylor Avenue south to the CWE MetroLink Station. An alternative is a single-track loop on Euclid and Forest Park Ave.
Renee Drucker, a transit planner for URS Corp. projects 7,700 daily riders and estimates that 2,700 of those would be new to public transit. The earliest the streetcars would be in operation would be 2016. According to the proposed plan the downtown streetcar line would not connect to the Loop Trolley.
I contacted both Aldermen Lyda Krewson, 25th Ward, and Joe Roddy, 17th Ward, for their thoughts on the proposed streetcar line. I'll post Joe Roddy's response as soon as I get a comment from him. In the meantime, Lyda's response is below.
Lyda said, "The idea of a streetcar to connect The Chase, Forest Park, CWE residents, BJC Medical Center, SLU and Downtown is interesting. It would be a major step in making our neighborhood less car dependent… or even car optional. Imagine taking the street car that runs every 10-15 minutes, downtown to your job, or to your class at SLU. Imagine if the downtown conventioneers could just hop on the street car and come to dinner in the CWE. It would be pretty convenient and environmentally friendly. Fewer cars, fewer parking lots, less gas, and more demand for apartments/condo’s/houses near the route.
That said… there are many, many, many details to be considered, and of course the biggest question… how do we pay for it. This concept is not much more than a dream right now… but I think it is worth more study."
The public is invited to get a first-hand look at the proposal Thursday, March 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Moto Museum, 3441 Olive.