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City Council to Weigh Loop Trolley Action

Mayor Shelley Welsch asked the council to think about how it wanted to proceed with the project.

The University City City Council heard from the Loop Trolley Company Monday, getting its first chance to formally question the planners as a council. The special council meeting was called specifically for the trolley update.

Doug Campion, project manager for the Loop Trolley Company, updated the Council on the current state of the plan before opening the floor to questions from the council and the public.

Not much has changed since the last presentation of the plan, except that the track configuration has changed to go to single track from Kingsland to Mehlville. Campion said the change to the 2.2 mile fixed track route was made after hearing input from the public. He also noted the width of the road shrinks at that intersection.

Campion addressed other public concerns, including questions of public safety and working with local police, fire and EMS districts along the route. He said that while a hard plan is not in place yet, the project won't go forward without plans for emergency services.

"Clearly there are a number of issues to be dealt with, including with the police and fire," he said. "All of this can and will be dealt with until it is satisfactory for all parties."

Questions about security on the trolley itself also will be worked out as the plan comes closer to fruition. 

"Those plans are far from being developed," Campion said. "This is one of those areas, until we are further along, we won’t know how much. We will work hand in hand with what exists in the Loop." 

He did add that no permanent police presence, like on MetroLink, is planned for the Trolley.

Trolley Costs

Councilman Terry Crow and several citizens questioned the financing for the plan and what, if any, financial liability the would have toward the trolley in the future.

Campion said there would be no financial responsibility for the city. The Transportation Development District (TDD) bears the costs. The businesses in TDD area is already collecting sales tax for the construction and maintenance of the trolley. 

The board of the TDD includes Joe Edwards and representatives from the area taxing entities—University City, the City of St. Louis, MetroLink and St. Louis County.

Paul Schumer, former owner of Paul's Books, urged the council to move forward with the project. 

"This must go forward," he said. "Every member of Loop Special Business District are all in favor and supported the tax on their sales and real estate. The East Loop supported the tax. If we stop this now, there is no way to ever revive it."

Jan Adams suggested the city hire special council in order to review all Loop Trolley documents to insure that the city has no financial responsiblity toward the project or any insurance liability should something go wrong.

Several other citizens questioned the financial risk and who would be left holding the bag should the project fail. 

Andrew Wohl told the council he didn't want to see $100 million spent on a tourist attraction. 

"I don't give a damn about what happens east of Skinker or about white people coming in from West County," he said. "I care about University City."

Wohl said University City had bigger problems and the city shouldn't be focusing any time on the Trolley project.

"U city used to be about schools and people," he said. "Now its all about sex, drugs and rock and roll."

City Manager Lehman Walker is compiling a list of frequently asked questions about the project and the answers to those questions for next week's council meeting. 

Mayor Shelley Welsch asked the city council to think about how it wanted to proceed on the Loop Trolley issue before its next meeting—specifically whether it should write a letter or pass a resolution expressing its decision on the issue.

No vote was taken Monday.

For more on the Loop Trolley, check out our previous coverage:

Earl Higgins July 17, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Andrew Wohl sounds like an... ummm, interesting dude.
Charles F July 17, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Mr Wohl may not care about the "white people coming in from West Co.", but fortunately they are spending money when they come to the Loop, and last I checked, it was the "urban youth" from east of Skinker and University City that were causing problems, hence shootings, fights in the Loop etc., not the "White People from West County". I can assure you that these "urban youth" as we call them are not listening to "rock n roll". Their are definitely bigger issues than the "loop trolley" in UCity that need to be dealt with, but Mr. Wohls comments at the council meeting are rediculous.
Adam Woodson July 17, 2012 at 06:05 PM
actually, one of the biggest issues that the entire STL region needs to deal with is this attitude that "i don't give a sh*t what happens over there because i live over here." such parochial B.S. is killing saint louis. until people with Mr. Wohl's curmudgeonly, antiquated, NIMBY attitude shut up and get out of the way, or get pushed aside, the region's death spiral will continue.
Douglas Andrews July 21, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Y'all are right. Who cares about schools. Police protection. Fire department's readiness. Streets and trash pick up. Parks and the like.... As long as you can buy a hamburger and a beer everyone can go home( not in U.City) and sleep happy. At least this Wool guy seems to care enough to go to the meetings, read the documents, hear the proposals and voice his opinion as a citizen. Say , as opposed to sitting on his/ her fat ass at his computer commenting ignorantly whilst using big words. Charles; you sound like a racist. Adam; you need to put a " think globally, Act locally" bumper sticker on your car. You know the one that was made in Japan. Or do you ride a bike? In which case be wary of those trolley tracks when you get your front wheel caught in the rut..... It's not pretty. Next city hall meeting Monday night 6:00.... See you there.... Oh wait right! You're probably going to see the new batman movie for the third time....alone. Be part of the solution, not the problem! U. City needs Uniters! P.S. it's a Tiger for goodness' sake!!!!

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