Part 2: Loop Trolley Q and A
The FAQs were requested after the July 16 trolley meeting.
A special University City City Council meeting on the Loop Trolley July 16 answered several questions about the plans for the trolley's path and how it would operate. It also brought up several more.
In order to help clear up confusion about the proposal and any changes that may have occurred since the Trolley was first proposed, Mayor Shelley Welsch asked City Manager Lehman Walker to compile a list of frequently asked questions about the trolley.
The information is from the Loop Trolley Company.
To read Part 1, click here.
- With the construction of the roundabout at Trinity, will public parking spaces be eliminated around City Hall? — A small number of public parking spaces will be eliminated around City Hall as a result of the construction of the roundabout.
- What is the roundabout design process and will University City have an active role in its design? — The roundabout will be designed to current roadway standards and University City will have an active role in the design process. The City Manager and the Director of Public Works and Parks will be meeting with all of the affective parties and their subdivision trustees to ensure that the planned final design is satisfactory to all parties.
- Will the library parking lot remain easily accessible to library patrons from current entrances and exits? — The library’s parking lot will remain accessible to library patrons. There will be no changes made to the library’s current entrances and exits.
- Will this system be expandable to other areas? — The system could be expanded to the east or west on Delmar, to the north on Kingsland, or into Forest Park, should there be a demand for expansion at a later date, and if funding were available.
- Are plans for the Trolley consistent with the goals and objectives of the Forest Park Master Plan? — Yes, trolley plans are consistent with the goals of the Forest Park Master Plan. We have been working with representatives from the park and following the protocol they require for approvals.
- Why is the technical design team now recommending that the Trolley go to a single track design between Kingsland and Melville? — In an effort to address the concerns posed by emergency response personnel as well the community about the trolley entering the historic district of University City, and to offer a more cost effective alternative, the technical design team proposed a single track alignment that will run along the south side of Delmar at the existing curb through Kingsland at a station stop that is across from the library. This will allow the trolley to maintain the proposed 20 minutes trolley service headways and potential when required for 10 minute service headways. Also, the roadway widens enough at Melville to allow the single track to be separated from traffic by a 5' median strip and still allow parking on both sides of the street and two driving lanes.
- Why not stop the double track at Eastgate? — Delmar is too narrow from Eastgate to Melville to allow a separate trolley track and parking on both sides of the street. Also, from Eastgate to Kingsland is too long of a distance for single track without a passing siding. A passing siding would require another track width for some distance.
- How fast can a trolley car slow down crossing the intersection? — Trolley cars can stop very quickly because they have air brakes as well as electric brakes. They can stop quicker than a bus. For example, at Melville, the trolley will be traveling at approximately 10 to 15 miles per hour and have the ability to stop within approximately a half a car length.
- Why not have the trolley go down Kingsland and around back to Leland, the original loop route? — There is no longer any reason to go there. The buildings once served have been removed and it is now a parking lot. Also, additional cost of running the trolley around a loop where no development is intended to take place would only add cost and operating time with no tangible benefits to the community.
- Is this project a duplication of existing service currently being provided by Metro? — It is our belief that the trolley is not a duplication of existing service currently being provided by Metro. Initially, at the least, Metro will continue bus services that pass through the Loop to and from more distant areas. The trolley interface with the Metro light rail system at both their Delmar and Forest Park rail stations will enhance access to and from the trolley service areas. We feel that this project plays an important role in the region’s public transportation infrastructure and economic growth, and will ultimately ease traffic congestion and reduce pain at the gas pump.
- Why a trolley and not a double decker bus/rubber tire option? — Based on earlier studies it was determined that a rubber tire option while feasible hasoperating cost that are at least equal to a trolley service. Also, fixed rail trolleys systems have been proven to have 70% greater ridership over a bus alternative as developers and the people using the rail mode feel more comfortable because they know the route and stations are fixed so they can plan long term on its presence and connections.
- How was the concept of the trolley conceived? — There was a neighborhood design charrette in 1997 on how to attract development east of the City limits in order stabilize the various neighborhoods along Delmar. A fixed guideway system was identified by Joe Edwards as a potential mechanism that had been used in other communities like St. Louis to attract economic investment. The cities of Little Rock, Tampa, Kenosha and Portland are all examples of communities where development equal to 5 to 10 times the cost of the project can be attracted within the first several years of operation. In Tampa, most of the development occurred once the project was announced, before it was even constructed.