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Development opportunities around MetroLink one of St. Louis' best kept secrets

Community meetings being held this week for area residents to voice their opinions on what should happen near MetroLink in the region

The East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG), the local metropolitan planning organization, and its partners have launched a regional study that examines the potential economic development opportunities around MetroLink light rail stations – one of the best kept secrets of the region – or at least we think so at Citizens for Modern Transit. This week the consultant team will be holding public meetings beginning tonight (Monday -Thursday) to hear what area citizens for have to say about building around light rail in their communities.  

All of this work is a part of the Regional Communities Planning Grant that EWG was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The purpose of this study is to explore opportunities to create additional retail, residential, housing, office, entertainment and real estate uses around the 37 stations that we have in the region like the Clayton Station in Downtown Clayton, the Richmond  Heights Station across from the Galleria, the Brentwood Station near adjacent to Dierbergs and many more. 

What would you like to see built around the MetroLink station in Richmond Heights? How could riders better access both sides of the station? Maybe you don’t live by MetroLink but work near the Clayton station. As a commuter, what would you like to see?  Maybe you choose to use the bus, what would you like to see as a bus rider near transit? Do you think that if more housing options were built near the transit infrastructure we have in place in St. Louis, more people would ride?  What other types of venues near MetroLink would entice you to use the system for the first time or more if you are a current rider? How do you think this region could better utilize the transit infrastructure that we have in place to increase ridership and build livable, sustainable communities?

Now is the time to come out and voice your opinions.  The format and content for all four meetings will be the same, and the locations will be along the MetroLink alignment. The agenda will include a presentation of the status of the overall process for the TOD Study and an understanding of the physical conditions near the alignment.

Key pad polling will be used to gather public input regarding issues and preferences related to development at station areas that would contribute to local communities and  transit ridership. This is your opportunity to let regional leaders know what you would like to see near MetroLink whether you use the system or not. It is especially important for regional leaders to hear what would entice you to use the system if you are not a current rider. 

Each open house meeting starts at 4pm and runs until 8pm. The overall presentation runs about 1 hour and the first begins at 4:30 and will be repeated at 6:30 at each meeting. The information gathered will help clarify concerns and priorities, and will help in the subsequent activities in the TOD Study.

One of our primary goals at Citizens for Modern Transit (www.cmt-stl.org) is to reveal the secret about the benefits and opportunities of building near MetroLink. This region has spent billions in building our transit infrastructure. We have record ridership, but the opportunities to build on what we currently have in place are completely underutilized.   There are very few if any of the stations that have been built out to their full potential.  Let’s creat some ‘places’ around MetroLink that help our region improve mobility, create sustainable, livable communities for the future and improve our transportation options. At the same time, creating the demand for such ‘places’ for St. Louisans to live, work and play. Wouldn't you like to hop on the train, stop for coffee, head out to a new entertainment venue, have lunch or head to work all while sitting back and relaxing? Come out this week and help St. Louis create a place where you want to be.

Meeting Schedule:

Monday, July 16, 2012: Southwestern Illinois College-Belleville Campus, The Garden Room, 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville, IL 62221

Tuesday, July 17, 2012: Crossroads College Preparatory School, 500 DeBaliviere Ave., St. Louis, MO 63112

Wednesday, July 18, 2012: Maplewood Richmond Heights High School, 7539 Manchester Road, Cafeteria, St. Louis, MO 63143.

Thursday, July 19, 2012: East St. Louis City Hall, 301 River  Park Dive, East St. Louis, IL 62201.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jessie Hoagland July 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Thank you for posting on this important topic. Our light rail system is second to none, and it makes me proud to live in Saint Louis. Families with babies and young children are often under-represented at public input meetings, which happen during family dinner and bedtime. If the built environment works for strollers, toddlers and dogs, it will work for the disabled, the elderly, and virtually everyone else. On behalf of young families, may I put in a word for abundant fountains, low seating and natural play spaces? I regret that I won't make the meetings, but will try to input online. Again, thank you for the post. - Jessie Hoagland, Green Spiral Tours
Nick Bettger July 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I wasn't able to attend the meeting last night, how did it go?

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