Would Chesterfield and West County benefit from express bus service to and from downtown St. Louis? That’s the question under consideration by Metro and several regional partners that are seeking public input on the question.
A study by the consortium has put forward plans for what’s called “bus rapid transit” routes along four corridors, all starting and ending at the Civic Center Station in downtown St. Louis:
To and from the Chesterfield Mall along Highway 40.
To and from Westport Plaza along Page Avenue.
To and from the North County Transfer Center along Natural Bridge, Lucas and Hunt, and West Florissant.
To and from the North County Transfer Center along I-70, Riverview and Halls Ferry Road.
It’s possible only two of the routes will be approved and Chesterfield officials are keen to make sure one of them comes to West County.
“It’s important to be able to bring workers to Chesterfield for jobs in healthcare, hospitality and retail that typically West County residents don’t perform,” said Libbey M. Tucker, economic development director for the city of Chesterfield. “There are employees riding from Illinois to work in Chesterfield, taking two hours one way.”
She said the new outlet malls, for example, will draw an estimate 1,600 new retail jobs, with many workers commuting from miles and miles away over the jigsaw puzzle of the region’s mass transit.
- NOTE: Chesterfield officials are urging residents to voice their views on this issue on the Metro survey posted online here.
The so-called “bus rapid transit routes,” according to Metro, “feature high-frequency service, (and) limited stops at dedicated stations” and “operate frequent service throughout the day and in both route directions.”
Such service, Tucker said, would “greatly increase (the) quality of life” for long-distance commuters who fill thousands of service jobs in the West County area. “Conversely, people commuting to downtown for work or entertainment don’t take public transportation because it takes so long.”
The consortium of agencies that produced the study include Metro, the Missouri Department of Transportation, the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the City of St. Louis, and St. Louis County.
The group is seeking public input through Sept. 9 on the plan on its website, where readers can read more and fill out a survey. Two “finalists” will be selected and the consortium will seek additional feedback on those choices during three public hearings:
Sept. 10, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open house with presentation at noon St. Louis City Hall, 2nd Floor, 1200 Market Street, St. Louis.
Sept. 11, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Open house with presentation at 6:30 p.m. The Heights (City of Richmond Heights Community Center), 8001 Dale, Richmond Heights.
Sept. 12, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Open house with presentation at 6:30 p.m., St. Louis Community College—Florissant Valley Campus, Student Services Center, Multipurpose Room, 3400 Pershall, Ferguson.The consortium of agencies would seek federal funding to pay for the buses and the services, which would include wi-fi, comfortable bus shelters and new vehicles.