MetroLink wants to expand through Midtown, a shift from previous proposals

Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Metrolink wants to expand its tracks through St. Louis and is proposing a new plan to add a train line in the Midtown area.

This plan is a big shift from previous proposals that focused on expansion Downtown.

Bi-State Development, the board that oversees MetroLink, is proposing a train line that would run on Jefferson Avenue from Chippewa to Natural Bridge. The proposal includes shifting traffic lanes to add a separated area for the train.

Metrolink wants to expand its tracks through St. Louis and is proposing a new plan to add a...
Metrolink wants to expand its tracks through St. Louis and is proposing a new plan to add a train line in the Midtown area.(Bi State Development)

“I think this is a bold plan, I think this is the right plan,” said Bi-State Development President & CEO Taulby Roach. “Over the past year and a half, our city has changed beneath our feet so our transportation infrastructure needs to change to accommodate that.”

Roach says they’re focusing on where St. Louis is growing. The train would run steps from the new soccer stadium and NGA headquarters.

“If we’re going to rebuild some of these neighborhoods, rebuild and make some of these investments, one of those investments needs to be transit,” Roach added.

A phase two plan would expand the line down Natural Bridge and into West County.

According to MetroLink ridership is down by 30 percent, and that’s an improvement from a year ago when it was even lower.

People who live near the proposed line hope the expansion will bring more people on the trains.

“I could use it to get directly to Downtown, to the Central West End, to the airport,” said Michael Powers, who lives in South City. “If you were to make a list of the things St. Louis is lacking I think many people would point to access to transit as high on that list.”

Powers says he’s okay with losing lanes on Jefferson Avenue and adding a train. He hopes that will slow down speeding drivers and help grow local businesses in his neighborhood like Stump Coffee. He says he also wants to see changes in the short term on Jefferson to make his neighborhood more accessible.

“I live on that side of Jefferson, it’s unsafe for me to walk to the dog park on that side of Jefferson,” Powers added. “Settle on a plan, settle on a project, and let’s get going.”

Bi-State Development says the goal is to finalize a plan in the coming months and present it to the East-West Gateway Council of Governments for approval by September.

Bi-State Development wouldn’t comment on cost and said that would be announced when the plan was finalized.