A special University City 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.
- How many tourists will the trolley attract? — Patrons of the businesses and cultural and entertainment venues along the route will be the majority of the ridership. At the same time, local residents and their visitors will equally have access to the trolley for work, shopping and all other trips they may take without relying on the automobile. To the extent that patrons live outside the area, they
- could be considered “tourists” but such patrons are a key ingredient in the success of the Loop and will offer similar benefits with new developments.
- How will the trolley influence property values in adjacent neighborhoods? — Numerous trolley studies have shown that real estate values increase in walkable urban neighborhoods.
- What interest does the City have on the front end of the project? — The concept of the trolley had been discussed and dealt with favorably by past Councils and at this point under the TDD law, the City has approval authority over the construction plans and specifications.
- What zoning changes, if any, were approved by the City Council to permit the construction of the trolley along Delmar? — No zoning changes will be or have been made in order to accommodate a trolley along Delmar.
- Where exactly will the trolley cars park or wait on the University City end of the line? I have heard rumors about the proposed use of the green space in front of the and the area around the Rain Man Plaza? — The stop at the end of the line will be just west of Kingsland, in front of the small park and the Postal Service parking lot. The proposed maintenance and storage facility will be in a renovated historic building located on Delmar in the City of St. Louis.
Traffic and Safety
- In case of an emergency, will you be able to de-energize the overhead wires along the corridor for emergency responders to have access? — Yes, we will be able to de-energize the overhead wires along the corridor for an emergency. Power is only in the overhead wires. There will be a disconnect at Eastgate Avenue and emergency responders will have access to this control panel and be trained on how to de-activate the power for the trolley. In other communities across the county, the wires have not been an issue for emergency vehicles. If needed, the wires would be taken down and the trolley operator will be responsible for replacing them.
- What is the ridership capacity? — The capacity of ridership is scalable based on demand. The proposed trolley cars can each carry 145 passengers. When single cars are operating with 20 minute headways, the system can move up to 435 people per hour. During peak periods, adding an additional car to operate will double capacity to up to 870 people per hour. Headways can also be reduced during peak periods. Reducing headways to 10 minutes and using two cars in tandem, the system can move 1,740 people per hour.
- How were projected ridership numbers for the trolley developed? — A ridership study was performed in accordance with the guidelines of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Ridership is estimated to be approximately 350,000 to 400,000 riders in the first full year of operations. This equals out to approximately 2,400 riders per day.
- How will pedestrian and bicyclist safety be addressed? — The design calls for the rail and the pavement surfaces to be flush. The gap between the rail and the pavement is narrow (less than 2 inches) so when crossing at a right angle, there is no safety hazard for wheels. Clear and obvious signs on the route and at all crossings will explain that right angle crossing is the safest way to cross. Crosswalks painted on the pavement will be obvious, and signs will direct people to the crosswalks.
- Has there been any consideration as to the impact the trolley will have on bicyclists along Delmar and will there be any accommodations made? — The trolley will have room to accommodate some bicycles, and there may be racks provided on one or both ends of the trolley car.
- What will be the trolley’s hours of operation? — On start-up, the trolley will run year round, seven days a week, at 20 minute headways. It is currently planned to operate from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, with Friday and Saturday hours extended to 1 a.m. These are not final operating hours and they will be studied further before opening the service.
- Where will trolley riders park at all designated trolley stops along the route? — Many of the people will park in remote places and use MetroLink to ride to the Forest Park and/or the Delmar Loop Metro stations in order to ride the trolley. The technical design team will be working with officials from both University City and the City of St. Louis to further consider the potential impacts of trolley ridership and what actions might be taken to avoid spillover parking to neighborhoods or excess demand on existing parking facilities. The results of these analyses will be presented and shared with the public for review.
- How will emergency responders navigate Delmar with the trolley? — The trolley will operate with the flow of traffic so if an emergency vehicle or responder will need to pass, the trolley will stop and allow the emergency vehicle to pass. If the trolley is in a location where it is able to pull over to the curb, like at one of the station stops, the trolley will do so and will remain there until the vehicle or responder has passed.
- How will the trolley fit into the existing traffic flow? — It is expected that the trolley will go with the flow of traffic and that at those points along the route where the trolley will have to cross traffic the trolley operator will be able to control the changing of the traffic signal so as to cross safely and unimpeded.
- What are the plans for security? — Detailed plans will be put in place after final design is completed and the project is further along. There will be ongoing coordination with local authorities and utilization of existing security forces.
- Will the trolley cannibalize Delmar and dilute the success of the Loop area? — It is not likely that the trolley will cannibalize Delmar and dilute the success of the Loop area. In fact, it is anticipated that new businesses will locate in the area. There is already talk that technology companies will want to locate along the route since there is an initiative out there that is looking to install a new form of a high speed internet connection along the route. The technical design team has been in contact with this group and is working on coordinating efforts during construction.
- How can anyone get the 2011 environmental assessment study? — The study can be found on the Loop Trolley website, www.looptrolley.org.
St. Vincent Greenway
- How will the trolley fit with the St. Vincent Greenway? — A grass type track structure will allow the trolley tracks to blend into the greenway grassed area. The streetcar will operate along the grassed portion of the greenway adjacent to the multi-purpose pathway. A curb will separate the grassed area from the pathway.
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