Delmar Loop Trolley

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
First unread post1572 posts
Does anybody know what they are held up on here? The trolley twitter has been radio silent since June 1st and I anecdotally haven't even seen a car on a test run in probably a month now. This morning I noticed plants beginning to grow out from between the tracks. After all the past troubles and money issues I have an ominous feeling about this whole thing.
It has been doing test runs for at least the past couple months now. Just a few days ago it was on a test run, and it stopped for like half an hour because of a poorly parked car.

A lot of folks on https://www.reddit.com/r/StLouis/ have been discussing removing car parking from where the trolley runs or even banning cars entirely from Delmar until Des Peres. Like making Olive, Kingsland and Skinker the arterials instead. Personally, I'm very skeptical since there are a lot of people who drive to the Loop from the county and elsewhere, not to mention through Delmar as a main road. Not to mention eliminating car traffic, which might work for other places, could end up killing the street. I have no experience owning a car though so what do other people think? Maybe incrementally shifting car parking off the streets and widening the sidewalks in those spaces could be a first step. Not sure how much parking is subsidized in that area but perhaps some structural changes could happen there too.
Eliminating street parking could also open the possibility of a dedicated bike lane along Delmar. The street in its current condition is a hellscape for bikers
While I'm usually a huge proponent of street parking due to its traffic calming and sidewalk protection measures, far too many people think they can get a parking space on Delmar at 8:00 on a Friday night. I'd much rather see protected bike lanes and addition space for sidewalk dining.
From a very quick count on Google Earth, looks like there's about 110 street spaces on Delmar between Skinker & Kingsland.
By comparison, there's well over 300 in the public lot behind Starbucks and Seoul Taco. Plus another 60 behind Fitz's.
Your call on how many street spaces are used by Loop visitors on surrounding streets. My guess would be at least another 300+ vehicles.
To expand on your patio seating idea:

If they did every take out some or all parking along Delmar, Ucity should do a small-grant $1-2K program for business to build Parklets for new restaurants. Would be really cool way to make it look very artsy and not have to have to spend $$$ to rebuild the street either.

Also, I love parklets.
pattimagee wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:12 am
If they did every take out some or all parking along Delmar, Ucity should do a small-grant $1-2K program for business to build Parklets for new restaurants.
I thought about that too. The only problem is that it wouldn't allow for protected bike lanes. It would be a good phased approach to reducing the reliance on Delmar street parking.
Again, this is pretty much the opposite of what I'd usually say but the less Delmar parallel parking spaces, the less congestion, fewer Trolley delays.
Another option, not this is a good idea by any means, would be to use the parking lanes as travel lanes and leave the center trolley tracks as dedicated trolley lanes. But again, that wouldn't allow for bike lanes.
And should there be any bike lanes, they'd have to be separated by some kind of bollards, otherwise drivers would try to use them to pass the trolley or something stupid like that.
Wouldn't dedicated bike lanes be tough with the trolley stops taking up where they might go?

Shame the lack of a complete street grid in the area leads to this predicament.
This idea of parklets is phenomenal. I think of Delmar how it is today, and then I think about built-out parklets most the way down and that is a much more exciting idea.

Are there any successful parklets in STL to serve as an example? I just worry the weather is too nasty that the spaces will be under-utilized.
Mostate16 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:49 am
Are there any successful parklets in STL to serve as an example? I just worry the weather is too nasty that the spaces will be under-utilized.
Clayton has a couple that they move around. They're open to the public but they let restaurants use them as seating. They had signs saying that anyone is welcome to sit there.
Downtown St. Louis participated in PARKing day back in 2014 or 2015. I would say that I haven't seen us participate since but I don't even think I've seen any other cities do so either.
Seeds cafe off of Demun has one that's pretty solid.


Pretty easy to see on google maps -> https://goo.gl/maps/yqYg8mjScjm
Less than 10 days for an announcement?

https://kmox.radio.com/articles/loop-tr ... ment-close
moltingcicada wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:14 am
It has been doing test runs for at least the past couple months now. Just a few days ago it was on a test run, and it stopped for like half an hour because of a poorly parked car.

A lot of folks on https://www.reddit.com/r/StLouis/ have been discussing removing car parking from where the trolley runs or even banning cars entirely from Delmar until Des Peres. Like making Olive, Kingsland and Skinker the arterials instead. Personally, I'm very skeptical since there are a lot of people who drive to the Loop from the county and elsewhere, not to mention through Delmar as a main road. Not to mention eliminating car traffic, which might work for other places, could end up killing the street. I have no experience owning a car though so what do other people think? Maybe incrementally shifting car parking off the streets and widening the sidewalks in those spaces could be a first step. Not sure how much parking is subsidized in that area but perhaps some structural changes could happen there too.
shutting down streets has a terrible track record in st. louis, whether it's from the creation of superblocks, or calcified pedestrian malls.. it's one thing to do it in shanghai, or a medieval city center, but delmar was built in the mechanized era. most of the side streets are restricted partially or completely, it would be a disaster.
^I don't think anyone was suggesting closing Delmar, just eliminating the on-street parking. A bit of quick math suggests there's about two hundred spaces between Skinker and Trinity, which is the busiest and narrowest part. An even quicker estimate suggests there's half again as many spaces in the lot between Delmar and Loop North. There might be almost as many in the garage. To be frank, there's not really any shortage of parking in the area. Just at a quick guess. the spots on Delmar probably constitute less than ten percent of the parking in the neighborhood when you factor in all the lots, garages, and side streets. It's not inconsequential, but the significance of the move would probably have more to do with our behavior and perceptions than any actual change in supply.

Hell, there's enough free parking nearby that I don't believe I've ever once paid for a space in the neighborhood at any time of day on any day of the week. I think the loop would probably weather it. Especially since the sidewalks would be nicer and more user friendly. Though there would still be cars trying to run people over. And without on street parking those cars might move even faster. (Which is something to consider.)
Simply removing parking kills streets, period. Unless there is *massive* pedestrian density it's not worth considering, and Delmar isn't close. Even streets like Maiden Lane in San Francisco that are very short and alley-like have a hard time staying alive in the dead zone created by the lack of car movement and the ebb, flow and action of parking and traffic.
^I can personally attest to several alleys with no parking that have recently gained storefronts because they're close to places with pedestrian density. (And parking.) Spontaneously, so far as I can tell. There was never any parking. There were never any storefronts. But there were back doors and basements and rents had gotten high so someone rented out a basement and, voila, spontaneous pedestrian mall. There's even bollards now preventing traffic in at least one I can think of. (Though presumably they can be removed to facilitate deliveries or dumpster service or that sort of thing.) Mind you, these are nowhere in St. Louis, but I can actually think of a couple of places here where that might happen soonish for similar reasons.

Delmar has among the highest pedestrian densities in town. And I actually think the parking helps to keep traffic slower, which is a great thing. That said, the sidewalks really do seem overcrowded sometimes, particularly with all the cafe tables. (Which actually kind of make things feel exciting. So . . . I'm not suggesting we get rid of those either.)

So what are your sources? And what makes you think it will stay like that forever? And what makes you think it was lack of parking and not something else? There are so many interconnected things that saying definitively that removing parking killed a street, any street, would be difficult. What else changed? How did it kill the street? Why?

Again: I'm not advocating we get rid of the parking. I'm just skeptical that it would necessarily prove fatal if handled carefully. Why should we? Why shouldn't we? What would it accomplish? What would replace it? Would the new uses contribute to Delmar? In what ways could the changes make things worse?

I have no strong opinion here. I just think it's worth actually asking the right questions.
Dang symphonicpoet, that's about a thousand questions. Worthy of discussion for sure but it's too early on a Sunday, maybe over a beer.

My point was you can't simply remove parking from Delmar. What would you do with two empty lanes that are a mile long? Using them for car traffic would kill the pedestrian buffer and result in higher traffic speeds. Can't leave them empty, you would be building in a dead zone and kill the street feel. You would have to do major changes- huge sidewalk expansion, parklets down the length etc. Could be done but would be a long road so to speak.

Of course there are ways to do it right, but so much has to do with street scale. There are good examples in San Fran (I use SF a lot since I lived there for 12 years) like Claude Lane and the others in the financial district- but they are narrow, human scaled, and used for deliveries during the morning then outside seating for lunch and dinner. They feel tight and packed. Delmar is wide and open, different issues. Assuming you gave pedestrians a full additional "lane" on each side, even on Delmar's best day it would struggle to have the density to justify it, it would generally feel empty.

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/201 ... width.html

The best example of complete parking removal that is more scaled like Delmar (4-5 lanes wide) that I can think of is Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicollet_Mall . I works but was master planned with pedestrian buffers, meandering street re-config, has had decades to establish in this configuration, has busses going by every 2 minutes, and a lot of density around it on neighboring streets. It essentially has turned the street in to a string of parklets.

>Mostate16 wrote: Are there any successful parklets in STL to serve as an example? I just worry the weather is too nasty that the spaces will be under-utilized.

Big fan of these- they moved one in front of Sasha's on Demun and it is used a ton as overflow seating and for people reading. Surprisingly well used, even in 90 degree+ as they have umbrellas out. They told me that the city of Clayton owns it and restaurants apply to have it moved in front of their locations each year. Would be great to see more of them, and tying together my response to symphonicpoet, Delmar would be a great place to have a few.
tztag wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:00 am
Dang symphonicpoet, that's about a thousand questions. Worthy of discussion for sure but it's too early on a Sunday, maybe over a beer.

My point was you can't simply remove parking from Delmar. What would you do with two empty lanes that are a mile long? Using them for car traffic would kill the pedestrian buffer and result in higher traffic speeds. Can't leave them empty, you would be building in a dead zone and kill the street feel. You would have to do major changes- huge sidewalk expansion, parklets down the length etc. Could be done but would be a long road so to speak.

Of course there are ways to do it right, but so much has to do with street scale. There are good examples in San Fran (I use SF a lot since I lived there for 12 years) like Claude Lane and the others in the financial district- but they are narrow, human scaled, and used for deliveries during the morning then outside seating for lunch and dinner. They feel tight and packed. Delmar is wide and open, different issues. Assuming you gave pedestrians a full additional "lane" on each side, even on Delmar's best day it would struggle to have the density to justify it, it would generally feel empty.

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/201 ... width.html

The best example of complete parking removal that is more scaled like Delmar (4-5 lanes wide) that I can think of is Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicollet_Mall . I works but was master planned with pedestrian buffers, meandering street re-config, has had decades to establish in this configuration, has busses going by every 2 minutes, and a lot of density around it on neighboring streets. It essentially has turned the street in to a string of parklets.

>Mostate16 wrote: Are there any successful parklets in STL to serve as an example? I just worry the weather is too nasty that the spaces will be under-utilized.

Big fan of these- they moved one in front of Sasha's on Demun and it is used a ton as overflow seating and for people reading. Surprisingly well used, even in 90 degree+ as they have umbrellas out. They told me that the city of Clayton owns it and restaurants apply to have it moved in front of their locations each year. Would be great to see more of them, and tying together my response to symphonicpoet, Delmar would be a great place to have a few.
I agree, Delmar is too wide (plus several other factors) for parking to be removed, let alone be fully pedestrianized.

I doubt the neighborhood (and St. Louis generally) will reach a critical mass for trolley usage and complete pedestrianization to be possible anytime in the near future. Call it pessimism, but realistically, I don't see it happening.

I'm more optimistic about leveraging it to reclaim some more space for people with additional sidewalk space and parklets though. There's a parklet in Clayton (https://nextstl.com/2015/08/clayton-par ... y-forward/), and though I have no experience with it, the article said results have been mixed. There are several examples of quasi-parklets throughout St. Louis though. The one at Maryland and Euclid where Coffee Cartel is comes to mind, for example. And hey, even if adding these to Delmar isn't step one to making Delmar a transit and pedestrian paradise, a little extra sidewalk and patio space would be a nice addition to the neighborhood. (Shameless self plug, I go into this further in a post on my new blog: https://anunearthlyglow.com/leveraging- ... p-trolley/)
symphonicpoet wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:37 pm
^I can personally attest to several alleys with no parking that have recently gained storefronts because they're close to places with pedestrian density. (And parking.) Spontaneously, so far as I can tell. There was never any parking. There were never any storefronts. But there were back doors and basements and rents had gotten high so someone rented out a basement and, voila, spontaneous pedestrian mall. There's even bollards now preventing traffic in at least one I can think of. (Though presumably they can be removed to facilitate deliveries or dumpster service or that sort of thing.) Mind you, these are nowhere in St. Louis, but I can actually think of a couple of places here where that might happen soonish for similar reasons.
This has been an interesting idea I've been thinking about lately. Alley-to-street conversions. If many American streets are too wide to be pedestrianized, alleys with enough flexible-enough buildings and infrastructure could be. I don't think there's anywhere near Delmar that's immediately ready for this to be applied though.

One idea that could be applied in the far (far) future is making a Delmar North and Delmar South on both sides of the trolley. These two streets would be 12-20 ft wide (I don't know what the actual widths would be; haven't measured but might later) shared streets with mixed traffic, like the ones you see in Tokyo (and basically every other city, town and village in Europe, Asia and Latin America). The trolley would get its own right of way too.

A street in Tokyo
https://www.google.com/search?q=tokyo+s ... 7zdV2rLAM:

A sidewalk in Paris with storefronts on only one side. Imagine it with Louisans walking around and a Loop Trolley on the other side of the trees.
https://www.google.com/search?client=fi ... jlkF962GM:
As you said, I wouldn't want to see two lanes of parking removed and two lanes of traffic added to replace them. And I suspect you're quite correct, simply stripping out the parking along the entire length of the strip and replacing it with sidewalks would make it too dead. But a few parklets might not be a bad idea: at the busier spots, say. Widen the sidewalk there and create a larger tree lawn where you could eventually have fairly large street trees and cafe tables beneath them. Out in front of Three Kings, say, and Subteranean. That spot always seems crowded. (Maybe even select locations based on where business owners are willing to support them.)

As to good local examples of parkets: The fountain on Maryland Plaza, while not my favorite, is perhaps a decent local example of how to do it and make it work. It slows down traffic. It doesn't hurt the pedestrian experience and quite possibly helps it. It's a nice place to hang out on a hot summer evening. (Or at least it was when I was hanging out there regularly . . . oh . . . too many years ago to discuss right now.)

As to pedestrian alleys, the example I had in mind is in Columbia:

https://goo.gl/maps/5TBvTWFNAzB2

It's not perfect, by any means. Still developing. But there are businesses there that have been there four or five years now or more. And people go there. And there are no cars and no parking. Strictly pedestrian. Happened slowly and rather spontaneously to several blocks of what is now called "Alley A" and you can see the same thing happening over between the Wabash Station and the Catacombs. (Though there is parking there. Dang sea of it, really, what with the adjacent surface lot. And still traffic.)

The same thing is slowly happening in a few places here. Argyle and York are both basically alleys that grew names. There are at least a few back entrances and some patios. That's how it starts. I don't think it would take a big nudge for Loop S. to go that way as well. (Honestly, sooner or later I think it will happen.)

But yes. Many questions. And beer would be an excellent grease for such a conversation. Maybe we should do an Urban StL night out someplace in the Loop. :) The rooftop at Moonrise is pretty sweet. I've been meaning to try Three Kings forever and a day, if they have enough space. I very much suspect folks that hang out there more than me can make better suggestions, but . . . name your time and place. ;-) (Just not on a Thursday night. I have rehearsals I'd prefer not to skip.)
You can't add two lanes of traffic because of the trolley stops.

State St in Madison is bus only. It helps that there is "city" on surrounding blocks and a complete street grid. Delmar has neither.
Both were out and about this evening. Wonder if it has to do with WUSTL move in day.

Image

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^^^ To further the points made several posts above, I posit Stone Street Gardens in Dallas as an example of something that Delmar could possibly look like way down the line (though I'm not sure if Delmar is quite dense enough).