Citizens for Modern Transit, Washington University Continue Boosterism of Loop Trolley

by Alex Ihnen – St. Louis Urban Workshop

Advocates for the Loop Trolley just can’t seem to offer a valid example of how their proposed $50M, 2.2-mile independent line will add a real transportation choice to residents and visitors. If you haven’t been following along, you can read the Urban Workshop coverage of the proposed trolley by clicking here.

In today’s Student Life, Washington University’s independent student newspaper, Tom Shrout, Executive Director of Citizens for Modern Transit, states that students would constitute a “significant part” of anticipated ridership. And he addresses concerns about traffic using a (false) student example. Again from Student Life, “You could make a case that it could subtract cars [from the road],” Shrout said. “A group of students, instead of piling into a car to go to Blueberry Hill, might instead jump on the trolley.”

Really? Well, no. First, as addressed in prior stories here, students (and faculty and staff) at Washington University are provided Metro bus and train passes at no cost. They can ride Metrolink and Metrobus for free. Why would they choose to purchase a ticket for the trolley? And the student population is more likely walk a half-mile than the average St. Louisian. Second, where are these students going to be coming from? The vast majority of student housing is not along the trolley line and is within walking distance of Blueberry Hill. Why can’t at least one advocate of the Loop Trolley provide a real-world example of a practical use for the line?

This is just the latest failed attempt. Previously there was this, from a previous Urban Workshop story, offered up by Portland streetcar guru John Carroll at a Loop Trolley forum:

John stayed at the Moonrise Hotel while in town and rode Metrolink from the airport to the Delmar station. He stated how great it would have been to have a streetcar take him from the station to his hotel. Really, John? It’s 1,400 feet from platform to lobby. So you would purchase a Metrolink ticket at the airport, ride to Delmar, take a minute or more to purchase a Loop Trolley ticket and then wait up to 10 minutes for a trolley car to take you 1,400 feet (assuming there is a stop immediately adjacent to the hotel) rather than take a 4-minute walk? All the while staring at the rotating moon of your hotel beckoning you from two blocks away? I don’t think so.

Not to be left out, a of people affiliated with Washington University were quoted:

“It could be a quick way to get up and down Delmar,” said Cheryl Adelstein, director of community relations and local government affairs at the University. “It could provide some additional transportation options, provide an additional way for people to get into Forest Park.”

“Any time you have public transportation that can relieve congestion, that can get people around, that is as romantic and aesthetically appealing as this is, it’s fantastic,” said Andrew Rehfeld, associate professor of political science and a former and future resident of University City.

Senior Kyle Koch, who lives near Kayak’s Coffee, said he wouldn’t be opposed to trolleys on the Loop. But he noted they would not touch main campus.


“I’d rather see them put more money toward the Metro, after they cut some of those funds,” Koch said.

It’s good to see an undergraduate student be the voice of reason.

All that said, I maintain that it may be smart to go ahead and build the Loop Trolley anyway: Notes from the forum: Problems With the Loop Trolley (and why it might make sense anyway)


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