Long-awaited construction of the Loop Trolley system — with initial projections having it up and running by the spring of 2014 — is set to begin in March.
Chris Poehler, administrator of the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, said construction will begin with the installation of a permanent roundabout near the Lion Gates in University City — in the area of Trinity and Delmar Boulevard.
The roundabout, according to Poehler, is designed to increase safety, improve traffic flow and create an attractive, landscaped entrance to the Delmar Loop.
Trolley track construction is expected to begin in late May of this year, starting on Delmar near Kingsland. Traffic will continue to flow through The Loop business district during construction.
The 2.2-mile, fixed-track electrical trolley system will run along Delmar and DeBaliviere, connecting The Loop restaurant, shopping, and arts and entertainment district to Forest Park, with a stop at the Missouri History Museum. The Loop derived its nickname from the streetcar system that serviced the area until 1966.
Cathy Gregory Studio Gallery
The project includes construction of the roundabout, the trolley tracks, an overhead contact system, 10 station stops, a maintenance/storage facility and rehab of vintage trolley vehicles.
On the eastern end of the trolley route, the Loop Trolley Transportation District is working with Great Rivers Greenway to extend the St. Vincent Greenway from Delmar along DeBaliviere south to Forest Park Boulevard, with new landscaping and multi-use paths. The trolley will run adjacent to the greenway.
Poehler said Loop Trolley construction is scheduled for completion in mid-2016 and is expected to begin service in late 2016 to allow for testing and training.
The $43 million project is funded by a $25 million Urban Circulator Grant from the Federal Transit Administration, other federal grants, and proceeds from the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District. Funding is also provided by The Great Rivers Greenway District.
A federal lawsuit that questions aspects of the proposed Loop Trolley project, originally filed in October 2013 then appealed in September of last year, will have oral arguments on March 11 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
The appeal was filed by citizens who claim the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District was established by an election that failed to comply with Missouri election laws. The lawsuit also alleges the planned route for the trolley is unlawful, claiming it goes beyond boundaries approved by voters.
A separate lawsuit claiming the City Council of University City violated the Sunshine Law when it approved the conditional use permit for the Loop Trolley is pending in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
West End Word © February 2015