The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the category “transportation”

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


Privatizing Lambert Airport

The Post had a long article this weekend on the pros and cons of privatizing Lambert Airport. This idea was proposed by Rex Sinquefield, a very wealthy conservative in the area who had the ear of former Mayor Francis Slay. I honestly don’t know if the idea is good or not, but I am suspicious of most things put forward by Rex. It may be a case of cognitive dissonance. It is hard for me to understand how the city would save money by this privatization. Written by Paul Dribin

Calm Street Project

St. Louis has received federal funds through East West Gateway for a Calm Street Project. This project will be located in the Benton Park=Gravois area and try to create a long quite street that is amenable to bikers and walkers and will slow traffic with speed bumps. The idea is good except for speed bumps; snow plows and garbage trucks have trouble getting over. This is a nice but fairly expensive idea for a city that is really struggling. Written by Paul Dribin

Good Decision by Stenger

County Executive Steve Stenger has said he will probably not approve another $500000 of county money for the loop trolley project. I consider this project a boondoggle. Good decision

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

How St. Louis Can Get Ahead of the Curve

Here is some free advice about an obvious advance that will soon take place, driverless cars. In the not too distant future these cars will be available. People will be able to order them up on short notice and go where they want. It will have a revolutionary effect on our culture. St. Louis leaders need to anticipate how this technology will affect our lives. A few thoughts of mine:

1. People will be taking fewer auto trips. If you order a car you are going to be more efficient in its’ use.

2. What effect will they have on crime and auto theft?

3. Will people in disadvantaged communities be able to use this resource? Right now taxis will not go to high crime areas.

4. What effect will it have on our existing public transportation systems? I would predict fewer people would ride trains of buses.

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

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?


Metrolink our light rail system has been a favorite cause for progressives. We have heard all kinds of promises about how it would lead to economic development, cause St. Louis to become a world class city and cure cancer(just kidding). I believe it has been a failure, wasted hundreds of millions of dollars and increased crime. If you don’t believe me just ask merchants in the Loop or at Galleria. Recently someone was held up at gunpoint in broad daylight at the Metro station in Clayton, normally one of the safest cities in the region.

To make matters worse, efforts are now underway to expand Metrolink. There are many reasons why this is a bad idea. They include:

1. The cost is enormous
2. St. Louis is too sparsely populated to sustain the system
3. More people are working at home and don’t need to commute.
4. The job market is dispersed.
5. With light rail we are stuck with a given route. If conditions change there is no room for flexibility.
6. Self driving cars and van pools can be utilized to provide cheap and flexible transportation.

A vital public transportation system is still important. Metrolink has stood in the way of a viable bus system. I recommend lots of buses with flexibility in their routes, van pools, and other means of public transportation. The money spend on Metrolink can well be used to provide our region with a world class public transportation system.

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