This morning I’m meeting a friend at the airport so we can catch up on the ride to his downtown hotel. Sure, he could take a cab or ahotel shuttle or I could drive out there to get him, but why?
Our light rail connection to the airport is outstanding. We’ve enjoyed the connection since 1993. When I flew to Seattle in 2009 their airport light rail wasn’t yet complete. Â Flying intoÂ LaGuardia Airport in 2005 I took a bus into Manhattan, NYC’s excellent rail system didn’t reach the airport.
No doubt the airport connection helped garner so many favorable responses in the poll last week, Poll: Was MetroLink a Good Investment?:
Q:Â MetroLink light rail opened 18 years ago, was it a good investment?
- Yes, it is an important part of our region’s transportation system. 180 [79.3%]
- Other answer… 19 [8.37%]
- No, likely cost too much given the ridership 16 [7.05%]
- Possibly, need data to know 10 [4.41%]
- unsure/no opinion 2 [0.88%]
Here are the numerous other answers:
- If it went faster I would easily say YES. Right now it is a VERY “nice to have”
- Yes, although we need more lines for it to be truly effective.
- Good starter line but not designed to take advantage of STL’s Urban Form
- Yes, but it needs more lines to make it fully functional
- No, because it’s taking away from the bus system.
- It’s a good start, we need a north south line in high density residential nabes
- It’s a needed part of trans. system, but need data to know if good investment
- Yes, but it needs to be expanded to MidAmerica to grasp the airport’s potential.
- ghetto link
- Good investment, but really need to encourage TODs to maximize investment return
- Overall yes but NIMBYs have strongly compromised its potential and overall worth
- Yes, but the subsequent failures have hurt: lack of extension down 40, etc.
- a good investment subsequently wasted by failure to expand to critical mass
- It would have been but not as it stands.
- No. It is too limited to be useful.
- Only if they build more lines
- Yes, but we need to do better.
- yes, but it still needs improvement in service hours and number of stops
- Without turnstiles, we have no idea how much revenue we are losing.
Here are some of my thoughts:
- Light rail is one of several types of fixed rail transit, others include heavy rail and streetcars. Each has it’s place. Light rail into Illinois and to the airport was a good investment because we had the right-of-way, bridge, and tunnels to support the construction.
- The extension further into Illinois was also a good investment as the distance is substantial, getting many cars off the roadways with minimal infrastructure since the line used existing at-grade right-of-way.
- The extension to Shrewsbury, however, was not a good investment. Expensive tunnels and flyover bridges drove up costs enormously. The distance covered is not that great.
- The lack of turnstiles made sense in the late 80s when the original line was being planned, ridership was unknown and the additional costs to construct a closed system would have been too much. I don’t think much revenue is lost by those who don’t pay, but not having a reloadable card option (yet) is a huge disadvantage.
- Light rail is typically run in it’s own right-of-way so therefore it isn’t where you need it to be – in the street next to your destination.
- Light rail doesn’t belong in street right-of-ways, that’s what a streetcar is for.
- I see very limited need for additional light rail in the region. Â An extension into Madison County Illinois would be nice. Â Connecting north county via existing right-of-way from Clayton or airport area makes sense too. Â Extending into south county from Shrewsbury also makes sense.
- I oppose street running light rail going through north & south St. Louis to get county riders downtown.
- We will never again have a streetcar system serving all neighborhoods in the city and light rail only serves a very small portion of people. Â Bus service, therefore, is the main mode of transit.
- Light rail distracts Metro and funding from bus service, which has been getting the short end of the stick for too long.
- Steve Patterson