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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “light rail”

North South Metrolink Expansion

This is a copy of a letter I sent to the Post-Disptach on the subject of Metro Link expansion. It is self explanatory.

Written by Paul Dribin

I am writing to express my displeasure with the idea of Metro Link expansion and especially the north-

south route.

When you look at the overall costs of Metrolink and the number of people served it is a financial albatross which will only get worse. Expanding the routes will not help and will only hurt the problem. Security will continue to be a major issue.

More important, fixed light rail is an obsolete mode of transportation. It was really an early 20th century invention created to get masses of people to work when most everyone worked in the downtown and fewer people had cars. This is no longer the case. The job market is widely spread in the St. Louis region and we don’t have the population density to support light rail. The density in the city and county will probably lessen.

Finally new technologies are speeding the demise of Metrolink. More people work from home, work multiple jobs, or need a car to call on clients. Ride share services will increase their market share. Soon people will be able to call up self driving cars which will take you directly door to door. Why would someone ride Metrolink where you endure security challenges and the odds are you will still need transportation once you finish your ride.

If Metro wants to get ahead of the curve, they should dramatically increase bus service and even provide van pools for workers. They could invest in their own ride share and driverless car technologies so all our citizens can be served by these opportunities.

We should not be chasing federal dollars just because they are there. Redoing the same thing that did not work in the first place is the definition of insanity.

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Light Rail

St. Louis is going ahead and holding meetings with regard to the north-south expansion of metrolink. This is a farce. Light rail is extremely expensive and in St. Louis has been a dangerous mode of transportation. Furthermore, new technology such as ride sharing and driverless cars will make the technology obsolete. We need to invest short term in buses and cities developing some relationships with ride sharing company so that poor people can avail themselves of these services. Written by Paul Dribin

Trolley Follies Again

This story just gets worse. Les Sherman, President of the Trolley Group has now said they need $500,000 or the trolley will be never begin. This is worse than a fiasco, it is borderline insane. What makes anyone think people will want to ride this thing. To add to the woes, I now hear concerns about security.

Comparisons are made to the success of the trolley in Kansas City. In KC, the trolley is a popular means for taking people from downtown to Westport for lunch etc. That is a popular destination, something we do not have. Furthermore, Kansas City does not have a light rail, so the trolley serves as a means of transportation. Written by Paul Dribin

Trolley Follies Again

The St. Louis Business Journal has written an editorial called Trolley Follies, criticizing the trolley effort in University City. I am disappointed they stole my headline and more disappointed I have been proven correct on this issue. Now we are stuck with the unsightly tracks that disrupt traffic flow. When will we learn? Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Again

More bad news about Metrolink. I know a guy who does various assorted tasks for Metrolink. He provided me with some amazing information:

1. He gets paid to ride the trains and check on service, safety, etc. He rode them hundreds of times last year and was never asked for a ticket.

2. When the police were on the trains they would not confront bad actors.

3. At some high crime Metrolink stops the police forced drug dealers onto trains so they would go elsewhere.

4. The crime levels at most stations are high.

Written by Paul Dribin

St. Louis Glitz-Build it and They Will Come

Here is a major beef I have with how things get done in St. Louis in the 21 years my family and I have lived here.

Instead of investing in neighborhoods, education, crime prevention, etc. St Louisians invest in glitzy and trendy project that may work elsewhere but are unsuitable for our community. Some examples include, Union Station, City Center, adding a runway at Lambert, football and soccer stadiums, a downtown convention hotel, metro link, and a trolley. There is a place for all of these things in some communities, but glitz put on top of a crime ridden city with crumbling infrastructure will not work. The problem is compounded by a build it and they will come attitude, meaning that data does not support the endeavor but it will be so cool that people from somewhere will come and use it after it is completed. (I;E THE LOOP trolley)

Written by Paul Dribin

Loop Trolley Folly

Once again some more stuff. Joe Edwards, the head of this fiasco has informed the community the trolley needs another $500000 from St. Louis County. This is in addition to the $53000000 or so that has already been spent on a project over budget and behind schedule. Worse, the US Department of Transportation has stated that if the project does not get off the ground pretty soon, St. Louis will lose future transportation funding. Need I say more. Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Safety Again

A big story today. Vince Schoemehl, Chair of Metro, the transit agency said that he thought portions of Metrolink are unsafe. That is an incredible statement for a person of his position. Are we sure we want to invest additional dollars in this operation? Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Policing in the St. Louis Area

The Post Dispatch led by Tony Messenger has written a number of articles which focus on the problems of adequate policing on Metrolink. The gist of the story is that police officer assigned to patrol trains and platform were sitting in an office, texting, sleeping, etc. This is of course terrible.

What is worse however is the lack of cooperation shown by the county to Metrolink, Bi-State, the parent company, and to other units of policing. They came up with a silly ruling that the Metrolink police personnel could not collect fines because they were not official police. Consequently fines are not collected and thugs are having their way on the trains.

This lack of cooperation is the more major problem and again points to the fundamental problem in the St. Louis area; the proliferation and lack of cooperation of the various units of government. Let’s hope this can be a teaching moment for moving things forward. Written by Paul
Dribin

More Metrolink Problems

More shootings drug dealings etc in and around Metrolink. People are afraid to ride it. I was correct in predicting Metrolink would be an albatross for the region. When are the leaders going to do something?

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