Posts Tagged ‘Metrobus’

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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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Vote Yes on Prop A April 6th!

March 16, 2010

Today I spent some time at the Brentwood Metrolink Station.  I was shocked by the large number of people who were both registered voters in St. Louis County and direct consumers of transit, but were unaware that Prop A is on the ballot.  Luckily I had some great conversations with Metro riders and hopefully convinced a few extra people to make it out to the polls.

Metrolink in Clayton

Due to my very positive experience today, I would like to encourage everyone who uses transit and is a proponent of Prop A, to start conversations about it.  Transit users have great motivation to vote on April 6th, but they will not make it to the polls if they are unaware of what is going on.  We need every vote we can get so take Metro to the County and start a conversation!

UPDATE:

An excellent editorial and cartoon appeared in today’s Post-Dispatch (Sunday March 21st) on the subject of Prop A.  I highly recommend giving this a read and spreading the word.

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A day trip on Metro

March 14, 2010

Today I decided to take a day trip using public transportation.  I walked down to Manchester, took the 57 Downtown to the Civic Center, and then hopped the Link out to Belleville, Illinois AKA Belle-Vegas.

The trip was very interesting – the view contrasts sharply on the two sides of the river, with Illinois being predominantly woods and rural looking homes (at least in my opinion).  I imagine that this trip would be very pleasant and surrounded by a lot of green during the summertime.  Being able to really enjoy the scenery is wonderful for someone like me who usually drives places.  Not having to focus on the road lets you notice so many wonderful little things!  Being a pedestrian and a transit rider is great – especially if you are a photographer. Despite the cool and damp weather, I had a great time exploring this small but well preserved town (and seeing some new Ghost Signs).

Ghost Sign on the Exchange Club of Belleville

Ghost Sign on the Exchange Club of Belleville

I was getting pretty hungry by the time I made it to Main Street, but the only places open to eat were Quizno’s, St. Louis Bread Company, and Jimmy Johns (okay there was also a Caribbean restaurant but I just didn’t feel like it).  They must really love sandwiches in Belleville.  I’m surprised that I didn’t see a Subway.

Bread Company on Main Street in Belleville, Illinois

Instead of eating at one of these chains (even though two of them are fairly local), I ended up randomly buying movie tickets and watching “Green Zone” at the Lincoln Theater on Main Street.  This option left me eating a hot dog, nachos and chocolate covered almonds.  Actually not too bad.

Lincoln Theater - Belleville, Illinois

The tickets at the Lincoln were only $4.50 for the Sunday Matinee, and food was also shockingly cheap (in comparison to what I’m used to paying at movie theaters).  Afterwards, the walk back to the Metrolink station was just as pleasant as the walk there (thanks to daylight savings today it was still light).  Anyway, the trip home was pretty uneventful, but it really proved how easy it is to take a little day trip using Metro.  Total transportation fees?  $5.50 - approximately what I would have spent on gas if I had decided to undertake the hour and a half round trip (an amount of driving that I simply don’t like to do).  The moral of the story is to vote yes on Prop A.  Transit is great.  View the rest of the pictures from my day trip here.

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