The Loop, one of the destinations along the proposed route.
Loop Trolley gets green light from University City
The University City City Council unanimously voted to give a conditional use permit to the Loop Trolley Company at the March 11, 2013 meeting. Though the plan had been discussed for years, only three people spoke at the meeting and there were scant comments from council members.
Loop Trolley receives $25 million in federal funding
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced nearly $25 million in federal funding for the St. Louis Loop Trolley Project on July 8. More than $400 million was awarded nationally through the federal Urban Circulator Program which is part of Obama administration's "Livability Initiative". The City of St. Louis is the sponsor on the project.
The Loop Trolley is a $44 million project to install a fixed-track trolley that would travel from The Loop to the History Museum in Forest Park. This 2.2 mile line would include nine stops and link to two MetroLink stations along the way. Stops along the route include the Missouri History Museum, Forest Park MetroLink station; Crossroads College Preparatory School; Laurel and Delmar; the Delmar MetroLink Station; the Pageant; the Tivoli; the Market and the terminus at Trinity Ave.
The East West Gateway Council of Governments with the cooperation of the Loop Trolley Company recently completed an engineering study that brought the project engineering to 30 percent completion. The study projects the cost of the project at $44 million. East-West Gateway is in the process of applying to the Federal Transit Administration for funds to complete the engineering with the hope of being ready to begin building the line in late 2011 or early 2012.
Roundabout answer for West End Terminus questions for trolley project
After several meetings with the neighborhoods that adjoin the West Terminus of the Loop Trolley project at Trinity Ave., the project team has determined that the best solution to meet all the needs of the surrounding area while maintaining efficiency and cost-effectiveness and cost would be a 'roundabout'. Several key factors emerged during the neighborhood meetings: the desire to minimize the impact on the existing neighborhoods and architecturally or historically significant properties, and the need to improve safety for all modes in that area including cars, trolleys and people. Neighbors also desired to minimize any parking impacts, and ridership opportunities had to be maximized.
To address these concerns, the project team considered several options. First, they considered installing full traffic signals at Trinity. However, they found that new signals would have poor sight lines for eastbound traffic through the Lions' Gates, which could jeopardize safety. There were also concerns that signals would not be consistent with the visual character of that area. The project team then analyzed the potential for a roundabout. After much analysis and discussion with stakeholders, the team concluded that this approach would best address the neighbors' concerns about preserving the quality of their neighborhoods, meet safety objectives and allow the trolley to operate effectively in The Loop. When designed correctly, a roundabout is a traffic calming tool that enhances safety while keeping traffic moving smoothly. It does this by reducing the number of conflict points for cars, trolleys and pedestrians. It also provides an opportunity to aesthetically tie the project into the current Loop architecture and streetscape.
East-West Gateway selects trolley design for Loop study area
In late July, the East-West Gateway Council of Governments’ (EWGCOG) Board of Directors approved The Loop Trolley Advisory Committee’s recommended trolley route, vehicle and other details. The selected approach is the outcome of technical findings and feedback from approximately 200 people who attended a public informational open house held earlier in the month.
Where will the trolley operate?
The trolley will circle the Missouri History Museum in Forest and head north up DeBaliviere. On DeBaliviere it will run in both directions in a single lane designated to trolleys only. Vehicular traffic will operate west of the trolley lane and a greenway (to be constructed by others) is proposed on the east. At Delmar the trolley will turn west and continue to operate in its own single designated lane, but now it will move to the center of the street, operating in the median, until it reaches MetroLink's Delmar Station. Just before the Delmar bridge over the MetroLink the tracks fork and the trolley will enter vehicular traffic and operate similar to a bus in two lanes through The Loop. This design could be slightly modified during final engineering after the final operation plan is selected.
At the western terminus on Delmar, a roundabout will be incorporated in the design allowing the trolley to turnaround with minimal impact on parking and traffic.
Where will the trolley stop?
The Board approved nine station stops that will directly serve key attractions or be within reasonable walking distance to destinations. Locations include: The Missouri History Museum, Forest Park Metro, Crossroads College Preparatory School, Laurel and Delmar, Delmar MetroLink Station, the Pageant, the Tivoli, the Market and Trinity or Kingsland.
What kind of trolley?
The Loop Trolley Company will operate seven historic-looking “replica” vehicles using hybrid battery/overhead electric technology. The consultant team recommended using this approach instead of the Peter Witt heritage vehicles for several reasons. Unlike the older vehicles, the newer replica vehicles are accessible by people with disabilities – which is required by law. They provide greater flexibility in locating stations because there are doors on both sides of the cars. The combination of electric and battery power provides the vehicles enough power to operate cleanly and efficiently, but minimizes the use of overhead electric wires in visually sensitive areas like Forest Park.
What will it cost to build and operate? When will it operate?
The hours of trolley operation, fares and other operational issues have not yet been decided. The consultant team will make recommendations on these issues, along with an evaluation of potential funding sources for operations and construction, later this fall.
How many will ride?
Ridership will depend on the number of hours of operation and funding for the operations of the system. Assuming operations of 17 hours a day, up to a million rides could be given in the course of a year.
EWGCOG’s action allows the project to move into more detailed engineering, which will include more cost detail and propose recommendations for funding the trolley. As part of that effort, consultants are also working closely with the proposed greenway project on DeBaliviere, which will run adjacent to the proposed trolley line and link to the walking/biking path south through Forest Park or north to the St. Vincent greenway.
To view a copy of the formal presentation from the July
8 Open House, click here.
Progress to Date
Established Advisory Committee
Financial Planning Workshop
Decision to pursue funding outside of Federal Transit Administration New Starts/Small Starts program;
this may be revisited later in project
Scoping and Coordination
Loop Trolley Advisory Committee meetings, public economic development forum in June, public open house in July,
neighborhood briefings (ongoing), two editions of the newsletter, Web site, Facebook updates, media coverage
Transportation, environmental, utilities, surveying and mapping, bridge analysis
Problem Statement and Evaluation Criteria
Draft statement and matrix completed
Two fixed guideway alternatives and design options developed; includes double and single track alternatives
Conceptual design of alternatives
Two alternatives advanced to roughly 10% of final design plans; operating plans and station stop planning conducted
Evaluation of Alternatives
Alternatives "modeled" to determine ridership projections; various environmental studies conducted to assess impacts;
conceptual opinions of cost developed
Selection of Preferred Alternative
Project team worked with stakeholders to identify and recommend the preferred alternative;
East-West Gateway board approved recommendation on July 25th
Preliminary Engineering of Preferred Alternative
Preferred alternative advanced to 30% of design; cost estimates updated