The University City City Council on Monday approved an amended Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the Loop Trolley Company.
The CUP allows for the installation and operation of the proposed Loop Trolley in the CC – Core Commercial District and PA – Public Activity District Address/Location: Delmar Boulevard right-of-way from approximately Sgt. Mike King Drive to the eastern City limits.
The amended CUP allows operation of the trolley from 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. daily. Any change to the trolley's operating hours must be approved by the city's Community Development department.
The Loop Trolley will be a 2.2-mile fixed track trolley line from the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park to the University City Library. Since its inception, the ultimate goal of the Loop Trolley project is economic development and improved livability along Delmar east of Skinker and along DeBaliviere.
"This is one more positive step forward," said Joe Edwards, chairman of the Trolley Transportation Development District. "We hope to break ground later this year and we're shooting for opening in summer 2014."
The CUP was approved 6-0 by the council. Councilman Michael Glickert was not at Monday's meeting.
Councilman Stephen Kraft said while he had doubts about the economic viability of the trolley, as a council member, all his questions had been answered.
"I am satisfied that no U City money will be used to operate the trolley," he said. "If it fails, U City will not have to spend money to take down wires or repair the street."
Resident Elsie Glickert spoke on the Trolley three times at the meeting, each time noting that the city never held a public meeting in the City Hall chambers on the issue.
Others noted that many meetings had been held on the topic and that public discussion had influenced plans for the Trolley
The Loop TDD accepted a $24,990,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Sept. 5, 2012.
This grant is part of the FTA’s Section 5309 funds for exempt discretionary grants for Urban Circulator Systems that support the Department of Transportation Livability Initiative.
This grant was initially approved for the Loop Trolley in July 2010. However, only the funding for design work was released at that time.
This final approval gives the Loop Trolley TDD access to the balance of funds in order to initiate construction.
“A fixed-track vintage trolley system built in a first-class manner can add to quality of life, increase tourism and spur economic development,” said TDD chairman Edwards. “The heritage trolley can be an environmentally positive attraction as well as a prototype for connecting other areas in St. Louis through clean electric transit. It will be a source of pride for the metropolitan area.”
Annual operating costs are estimated to be about $1.3 million. The system will be revenue supported with $600,000 from fares, $500,000 from the TDD, and $200,000 from advertising and institutional subsidies.
The Loop Trolley is scheduled to open in mid-2014.
For more on the Loop Trolley, see:
- Loop Trolley Moves One Step Closer to Reality
- Live: Loop Trolley Public Hearing
- U City Seeks More Information from Loop Trolley Co.
- Loop Trolley Company Director Steps Down
- Loop Trolley Loses $1 Million from History Museum
- University City Signs Letter of Support for Loop Trolley
- Loop Trolley Receives $25 Million Federal Grant