During the community workshops in November, the Metro long-term planning team went around the region and conducted community workshops to get a handle on what are St. Louisans’ priorities for transit spending, now and in the future. People chose which corridors and modes they preferred, and which amenities were important to them. Now, Metro’s Moving Transit Forward planning team is conducting another round of community workshops to present findings and solicit feedback and answer questions. At these meetings, Ray Friem and Jessica Mefford-Miller also describe how the planning process works, and explain limitations and future opportunities.
So here is my breakdown of the workshop results:
- Northside-Southside: 75% of participants wanted to see more transit along this dense residential corridor
- The biggest employment concentrations are along the central corridor (Clayton to downtown St. Louis) but Westport and Earth City could support more transit with policies that support transit and transit-oriented development
Values for great transit:
- Provide transit to the greatest range of people in a range of markets and communities
- Reposition transit as community asset
- Enhance mobility options for transit-dependent
- Identify cost-effective projects that balance increasing ridership with spending on capital projects and operations
- Select projects that attract federal funding
- Support development
- Mitigate pollution and congestion
- Contribute to strength of region’s core
Potential short-range enhancements (1-5 years)
- Increase frequency of MetroBus and service area
- Expand Call-A-Ride service area
- Increase MetroLink frequency
- Increase transfer stations (South County, North County, etc)
- More security and lighting
- Benches and shelters
- SmartCards for fare collection (can use debit/credit cards to purchase fare)
- CAD/AVL technology (allows vehicle location and bus tracker applications via cell/smart phone, laptop, etc.)
Potential mid-range enhancements (5-10 years)
- Bus Rapid Transit, especially along highway corridors
- Expanded MetroLink (potential corridors include North-South, Westport, and Madison County, IL)
Potential long-range enhancements (10+ years)
- Could partner with high-speed rail infrastructure created by federal investment through South St. Louis County and St. Charles County
- Local: Lack of local sales tax growth, and debt obligation
- State: Lack of sufficient, ongoing transit in Missouri
- Federal: Inability to match federal funds with state and local resources
- Local: Local funding required for sustaining system and expansion
- State: State support critical for attracting federal dollars
- Federal: Opportunity for federal investment, but projects must qualify for federal money
Ok, so there it is. Important to remember: any potential enhancements to the system are contingent on determining sustainable sources of funding. If additional funding is not identified by June 30, 2010, Metro will have to once again cut service. Also, Metro does not have the final say in choosing transportation corridors; East-West Gateway Council of Governments, made up of elected officials, must vote on any decisions to expand the system.
The questions I put out to the community are:
- Do you agree with these values for great transit?
- Which of these transit enhancement do you prefer, short-, mid- and long-term?
- Do you agree that these are the preferred corridors for transit expansion?
Your feedback is very important, and needed. We need to hear from you to be able to deliver the best transit for St. Louis possible. Let’s hear from you! You can also use this comment form to give us your opinion, and email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org.