Loop Trolley Company Continues Deceptive Comparison to Portland Streetcar

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{the Portland Streetcar}

From the Loop Trolley Company’s latest mailing:

While St. Louis has made its foray into light rail, many St. Louisians are wondering whether the Portland vision is achievable – or even applicable here. … More than 150 St. Louisians heard Mr. (John) Carroll share how the Portland Streetcar – similar to the trolley proposed here – has been a critical development tool that has connected and further spurred sustainable, prospering areas along the route.

I happen to have been one of those 150 St. Lousians and I asked a very direct question about what parallels could be drawn between our proposed Loop Trolley and the Portland Streetcar. Mr. Carroll answered that there were very few similarities. Given that the Loop Trolley Company brought Mr. Carroll to St. Louis, his unenthusiastic endorsement of the Loop Trolley as a development like the Portland Streetcar speaks volumes.

Of course he did not say that the Loop Trolley is a bad idea, though much of Mr. Carroll’s comments highlight the uselessness in comparing the two projects. To read my original story on the Trolley Forum click here. I’ll copy a few of Mr. Carroll’s words here: “The environment we wanted to create in Portland already exists on Delmar. You already have much of what you would hope to achieve with a streetcar.” John also stated that the Portland streetcar line works because it “connects housing, jobs and undeveloped land.”

And this is the problem with how the Loop Trolley is being sold. A Portland-like situation in St. Louis would be to connect the Central West End and the 15,000+ Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University Medical School employees to downtown via Midtown and Lindell Boulevard then Locust or Washington Avenues instead of connecting Forest Park, small-scale retail and $500K single-family homes.

If you’re not familiar with the Portland Streetcar take a moment to view the slideshow and photos below and check out the Portland Streetcar and Pearl District sites. It’s obvious to anyone willing to ask questions that The Loop Trolley and Portland Streetcar have very little in common. The Loop Trolley could still be a good idea, but its proponents need to be more honest in its promotion.

Portland Streetcar


{a view of development opportunities adjacent to downtown Portland prior to the streetcar}


{the same area, now the Pearl District}


{another view of the Pearl District}


{one example of development spurred by the Portland Streetcar}


{existing and future streetcar routes showing connections with significant centers of employment, education, residential and potential development}

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