Posts Tagged ‘Joe Edwards’

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Modern Streetcars could be coming to Downtown Kansas City

August 23, 2011

Today, while randomly exploring Kansas City, I walked into Union Station during a Open House event featuring a modern trolley that KC leaders would like to see downtown by 2015.  The model on display, courtesy of Kinkisharyo, was a new ameriTRAM designed specifically for American cities wishing to bring back streetcars.

ameriTRAM on Display in Kansas City, MO

Its bragging points include a 100 percent low floor and an “e-hybrid” system designed to run on overhead power or lithium-ion batteries for up to five miles.  Even while operating on batteries it has several security cameras, wireless internet, and lcd information screens.   The light weight cars will not necessitate bridge replacement on the proposed routes through downtown Kansas City, and will help to lower the cost of laying track.  Because the plans include only routes that are around two miles long, overhead wires are unnecessary, eliminating not only a possible eyesore but also the associated expenses.

Map of Proposed Streetcar Routes in Downtown Kansas City

Coincidentally, the length of the Loop Trolley in St. Louis is approximately two miles long as well.  Could our local streetcar project use the ameriTRAM?  Could completely eliminating overhead power help lower the price tag?  One of the first things that this blog did was come out against the Loop Trolley project.  I still don’t think that this particular implementation is a great addition to our transit system because it does little more than duplicate the coverage of the Metrolink and the 97 Delmar Bus.  Other critics have argued that it just connects Blueberry Hill to the Pagent.  If the project is perceived as a failure, it could help prevent new investment in more substantial public transit infrastructure in the future.  On the other hand, streetcars are awesome, and the potential for this project to spur expansions is too exciting to ignore.  To best take advantage of this opportunity, we must make sure that the Loop Streetcar is effective and well received.  One easy and substantive way to make this project more legitimate is to use cutting edge technology – the latest modern streetcars.  In my opinion, a sleek, modern and attractive streetcar will be even more enticing to the curious pedestrian or motorist than a replica of a historic trolley.  I think it’s an option worth considering.  The advantages are considerable.

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Joe Edwards’ Trolley

December 20, 2009

I really love any idea to add any sort of public transportation to St. Louis, but this particular idea just seems silly to me.  Joe Edwards wants to run a Trolley from the Missouri Historical Society in Forest Park, to Kingsland and Delmar at the far western end of the Delmar Loop.  Both of these locations are in close proximity to a Metrolink station.  Consecutive Metrolink stations.  The history museum, according to Google’s Walking Directions Beta (which doesn’t really get the walking route right but does provide a good distance estimate in my opinion), is .2 miles away from the Metrolink.  A 3 minute walk.  If they were really serious about adding something beneficial to the city  and not just attracting attention to the loop, this is not the route they would have chosen.  I think that the choice of the history museum as one end of the “Loop Trolley” is because the planners of this project think of the trolley as an exhibit for the history museum and site for tourists to see in the loop, not as an addition to our city’s useful infrastructure.

Loop Trolley Route Map

On the other hand I really do like the idea of a Loop Trolley.  Not too long ago I lived close to Metcalfe Park, not far from the western end of the Loop.  I enjoy using Metrolink to get around and was pleased to be in an area in which I could walk to a station (3 in less than 15 minutes each), but I still complained about the walk and really wished I could hop on something like a trolley and get to the Metrolink station (or home from it).  I commuted to work Downtown on Metrolink for a while and would often dread the walk down Delmar to the train, but in actually making the walk I would always enjoy myself the whole way and found that the real problem was getting distracted on the walk and being late for the train!  This walk will be more enjoyable when more buildings and businesses are added around the station (which I really believe will happen soon).

It does seem counterproductive to simply complain about the current plan and not propose anything better, but lots of people have proposed plans for extending this trolley and I enjoy complaining.  I must concede that this plan could be a wonderful thing for the stretches of Delmar and DeBaliviere that would be served by the trolley but the scope just seems too small to justify such a large expense.  A project like this failing would really set us back in making real improvements to a system of public transportation which badly needs them, and a need to make visiting opposite ends of the loop easier could be solved by increasing the frequency of MetroBuses.

UPDATE:

Maybe this project could be combined with Paul McKee’s NorthSide Trolley and turned into something more substantial?

Also, WashU Students seem to have voiced opinions similar to mine in comments on this article.