The North Hanley MetroLink station (map) was one of the original stations when our light rail system opened on July 31, 1993. Unfortunately, after 19+ years, it has yet to see any Transit Oriented Development (TOD). But finally it is getting some attention:
CMT received a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to look at areas surrounding MetroLink stations in our communities. We are asking for your help to create a healthier place to live through better use of our transit system.
Our goal is to get the community’s opinions about development near MetroLink and walkable neighborhoods. What do you like about the station? What would you like to see near your station? How is access to your station?
The North Hanley Station is located in unincorporated St. Louis County. How does this effect the zoning around the station?
We will a facilitator on-site to lead us on our walkabout and to help facilitate conversations about the possibilities for the community. (CMT)
I attended this walkabout as I’d never explored the area before, though I had switched from light rail to MetroBus here a few times.
What about the headquarters of Express Scripts you might ask. Yes it is located next to the light rail line and is visible from the station platform, but at best it is transit-adjacent development. Although just a short distance, employees use a bus shuttle rather than walk because of the poor physical design of the station. Again, the surface and structured parking are a huge barrier.
I say build a hotel on the dry hilly part, excavating most of the earth for a lower level to have a restaurant or two serving hotel guests and Express Scripts employees. The forest/drainage area can become a green entry to the hotel. By doing this you’ll make it possible to simplify the walk from the station to Express Scripts.
Scroll back up and look at the map again, the existing route, shown in red, requires pedestrians to cross the same access drive twice. Trying to get pedestrians to take extra steps, cross in front of buses twice and going around a huge parking garage it is no wonder nobody walks to work. But, it can be fixed!
Maybe a hotel isn’t the best option for that site, although officials said a hotel has been desired for years. If built, it would be the first hotel a traveler could reach from the airport via MetroLink. Also, a hotel adjacent to one of the region’s largest employers would benefit both. The topography would allow for two different levels at grade (north vs south) and the height could be as needed.
I look forward to seeing what CMT’s team comes up with for North Hanley.
– Steve Patterson