St. Louis — Streetcars Could Return to Downtown
The Post-Dispatch reports that downwtown advocates are proposing a 7-mile streetcar system to spur economic development downtown and stretching to the Central West End.
The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis' president, Maggie Campbell, said that federal funds and a new tax on property near the route could cover the cost which is estimated at $219 million for tracks and overhead electric lines or $270 million to if improved amenities are included along the route.
Advocates estimate the streetcar could spur around $540 million in economic development along two projected lines during the first five years in service.
The streetcar proposal followed the decision by the St. Louis University to relocate its law school from midtwon to downtown and connect the two campus locations with shuttle buses. Soon the idea of using streetcars instead emerged. The downtown partnership funded a $200,000 study by the URS consultancy to demonstrate the streetcar project's feasibility.
Click here for a link to the reasibility study.
Real estate tax funding for the project would require approval by property owners along the line. Supporters also hope the University and other nonprofits would contribute to the funding.
One route would circle on a one-way single track through the middle of downtown to Kiener Plaza. West of 14th Street. It would runin both directions along Olive Street and Lindell Boulevard through Grand Center to Taylor Avenue and the Central West End MetroLink station. An alternative is a one-way loop on Euclid Avenue and Forest Park Avenue.
A second line would connect the MetroLink Civic Center station and St. Louis Avenue by using 14th Street and North Florissant Avenue.
As planned, this new system would not connect to the Loop Trolley, the two-mile rail line designed to run between the Delmar Loop and Forest Park.
Supporters are working to find $300,000 for an environmental impact study for the downtown streetcar.