Cross County MetroLink: One Month Out
I guess I should stop referring to the eight-mile leg of new MetroLink track from Forest Park to Shrewsbury Lansdowne I-44 as Cross County. Nobody really calls it that in practice; that was just the name for planning purposes.
And despite the student-created signage on bus shelters near WashU, nobody calls it the Green Line, either.
In practice, MetroLink now has two routes:
1) Shiloh-Scott to Lambert Main and back;
2) Emerson Park to Shrewsbury I-44 and back.
After one month of revenue service, I can say this routing is working out pretty well. Sure, some folks have gotten confused and backwards; but the trains usually run often enough that's not a big deal.
The best part is if you miss a train at rush hour between Forest Park and Emerson Park, it's only five minutes until the next one. On the other hand, waiting 15 minutes for the next train at mid-day on the Shrewsbury leg or the Airport leg can be tedious.
Also at mid-day, if you want to go truly 'cross-county' (that is, Airport to Shrewsbury), you can wait up to 8 minutes at Forest Park station. Not an unreasonable wait time, but I've found you can cut that down to 90 seconds or so, if you just keep riding eastbound to Central West End, then cross the platform to get the westbound Shrewsbury train. But at rush hour, waiting at Forest Park is best.
Another frustration is that right after rush hour ends, a few trains end at Grand, as was the previous practice. I find waiting at Central West End better in these cases too.
I think confusion about new MetroBus routes is more problematic and pervasive. That's particularly the case in the areas around WashU -- I guess I just didn't realize it because, as a WashU student already familiar with their shuttle system, the shuttle route changeover seemed to make sense to me. But for older folks used to riding the #93 Lindell along Pershing for years, the change to the #01 WUSTL-Gold is strange.
As for me, I thought I'd miss the direct routing of the #93 Lindell from WashU to SLU's library; but now whenever I need to go to that segment of Lindell, I can quickly and easily take MetroLink to Central West End, take the walkway to the transfer center, then catch the #93 Midtown South County.
It's interesting the WashU sphere of influence seems to extend into Pagedale and a sliver of Wellston. The Green Line shuttle (still operated by Huntleigh ShuttlePort under contract to the University) ends at the Loop Lofts, 1019 Skinker Parkway, where many WashU undergrad students are now housed as a result of overflow on campus. This complex straddles the St. Louis City-Wellston boundary.
Meanwhile the #02 WUSTL-Red line serves the section of Ferguson Ave in North U City and Pagedale, up to Rock Road MetroLink, formerly part of the #64 Lucas Hunt. WashU leaves this segment off their map entirely. Still, this "WashU shuttle" route will take you only one MetroLink stop south of UMSL.
In another post, I'll summarize my experiences with usage and the pedestrian environment around each new station.