The future is bright for transit in St. Louis! Three projects, one completed and two upcoming, aim to enhance Metro’s current offerings and bring exciting new transit options to the region.
Cortex Metrolink Station Grand Opening
About a month ago, the long-awaited Metrolink station opened in the Cortex Innovation Community, just east of WashU’s medical campus. The new station, close to the intersection of Boyle and Clayton Avenues, provides easy access to the growing Cortex startup district as well as the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, The Grove business/entertainment district, IKEA, and the eastern portion of the medical campus.
The grand opening ceremony, which also celebrated the opening of the first quarter-mile portion of the Chouteau Greenway, featured appearances from U.S. Congressman Lacy Clay, Cortex president and CEO Dennis Lower, and a variety of community partners.
“This new Metrolink stop at Cortex and the first section of the Chouteau Greenway are two truly transformative projects to project St. Louis into the future,” declared Congressman Clay to the crowd gathered outside the station. “Once again, St. Louis is a place where big ideas and big dreams can come true.”
Metro Reimagined Campaign
Last year, Metro Transit launched Metro Reimagined, a vision for updating the current transit network to meet the changing needs of the St. Louis region. After collecting data and customer feedback, Metro developed a draft of a new transit plan this spring. Highlights of the draft plan include more frequent MetroBus service, a simplified and easy-to-understand MetroBus network, and new communication and ticketing technology.
Key routes serving WashU will be enhanced. The MetroLink will be upgraded to 6 to 12-minute frequency during peak hours. The #2 Red bus route, which now serves campus with 30-minute frequency on weekday mornings/afternoons and 40-minute frequency on Saturdays and weekday evenings, will be upgraded to 30-minute frequency during all of those times. The alignment of the route will also be adjusted and, while making fewer stops, will get to campus more efficiently.
While not officially part of Metro Reimagined, Green Line service will also be upgraded. In response to recent incidents of criminal activity in neighborhoods around campus, WashU has worked with Metro to add five additional buses to the line’s rotation. As a result, buses will run on an increased frequency, including a 5-minute frequency during peak morning hours. See the Green Line schedule for more details.
Northside/Southside MetroLink Expansion
Citizens for Modern Transit, a local transit advocacy organization, recently released results of their study for a north/south MetroLink expansion line. The new line, which would run along Natural Bridge Avenue in North St. Louis, along 9th and 10th Streets downtown, and down Jefferson Avenue to Chippewa Street in South St. Louis, would serve 47,000 residents and provide access to 65,000 jobs. The 8-mile route would add 16 new stations, including one serving the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency site.
The new route would also look different than the existing MetroLink – it would run in the street like a streetcar, instead of on separate tracks like the current MetroLink. By connecting the north and south portions of the city to downtown, the expansion would bring light rail service to areas of the city not currently served by MetroLink, connecting residents to employment opportunities and promoting sustainability. More details about the proposal, including a route map, are available on the Northside Southside webpage.
This article was written by Noah Hagen, Alternative Transportation Associate.