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$600 Million Metrolink Development

In the wake of a recent proposal to expand the Metrolink, STL Post-Dispatch called for millennial input. SLU students respond

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$600 Million Metrolink Development

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The Metrolink is an important mode of transportation on the Saint Louis University campus. With students being given free Metro passes and encouraged to get out and explore the city around us, the Metrolink is often a convenient, and for some students the only, way to get around St. Louis.

This August, the East-West Gateway’s board of directors approved a proposal to expand the Metrolink public transportation system. The new proposed line will be the first to run north and south through the city, from Grand to Chippewa with 16 new stations.

The current Metrolink lines extend from Shrewsbury and Lambert Airport and across the river into Illinois.

Some SLU students think that a new north/south line would be useful, especially for students.

“It would make public transit so much better. Because if you’re on the metro you can only go on the east/west corridor,” said SLU junior Seth Hardin. “Especially for SLU students it is such an economically smart way to get around.”

“I think having quicker access to areas that are north or south of the original line would be nice because it would make it faster and easier for people to access these areas,” said SLU sophomore Erica Mackin. “I would be more encouraged to go check these areas out if they were more accessible.”

However, the new line will not be cheap. The proposed cost of the north/south route is over $600 million and will take close to two years to complete.

Earlier this year, the Northside-Southside Consulting Team announced results of a study about potential users of a north/south route. The results showed that the route would be widely used, as a substantial amount of the potential users did not have access to a car.

Despite its potential benefits, however, some people are not sold on the idea due to its high costs, as well as the fact that the number of riders of the Metrolink has gone down around 20 percent in the last year. Causes of the decreased ridership are numerous. The system itself has a number of problems, including security concerns.

This past September, the Metro Public Safety Department experienced radio issues, which rendered them incapable of communicating with the city and county police departments. St Louis County Council voted to withhold a large chunk funding from the Metro security. Until they are convinced that their security concerns are being addressed.

Due to all the issues with the Metrolink system, many SLU students are not convinced that the new, expensive station is a good idea at present, or that it is even needed at all.

“With the current Metro system, most of the main city hotspots are covered, like the Delmar Loop, Forest Park and Busch Stadium. If someone needs to get to a location not covered by the MetroLink, odds are a Metro bus can take you there right from the Metro stop,” said SLU sophomore Caleb Vetter. “Adding such an expensive addition just to include a few extra stops would not be worth it. I don’t think the decline in current revenue is due to the lack of stops, but caused by the problems with the current system that could be improved on.”

The cost of the project does seem like a lot for adding into a system that already does access these areas.”

— Mackin

Although students have varying opinions on the $600 million MetroLink addition, the decision will remain in the hands of Missouri politicians.

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