Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lots of MetroBus Changes Coming Monday June 11th!

Lots of MetroBus Changes Coming Monday June 11th!

I felt kind of guilty this morning, because I gave a novice bus rider bad instructions. She got off the #11 Chippewa on Jefferson at Market, and needed to continue northward to Gateway Elementary School. I said to catch the #04 Natural Bridge at the next stop north on Jefferson, near Pine Street.

Trouble is, since August 2006, the #04 Natural Bridge has been routed via Market west of Jefferson, to serve Harris-Stowe State University's campus -- initially, via Ewing, then after complaints from the University, via Compton. Only the Madison County Transit express routes (the green-and-white low-floor buses) service the bus stop at N. Jefferson and Pine.

I hope she figured it out despite my bad advice, but it reminds me that I need to do a better job keeping up with the frequent restructuring and rerouting of MetroBus service, even though I'm driving more now (although never, so far, for the work commute -- and I hope it stays that way!).

Anyway, Metro has a decent summary online of the routing changes coming up next Monday (in PDF, of course).

And check the MetroBus Maps and Routes page for links to all the updated schedules and route maps. Here's some highlights by location:

Shaw, Lafayette Square, and vicinity

Last month, I discussed ad nauseum the upcoming changes in the Shaw and Lafayette Square neighborhoods involving the rerouting of the #13 Union, #59 Shaw Kirkwood, and #92 Macklind; along with the elimination of the #80 Lafayette Square circulator. Those changes are reflected in the new schedules posted on the MetroBus web page.

Hwy 40 at Kingshighway Long-Term Construction Detour

A number of routes are already on re-route as a result of the construction at Highway 40 and Kingshighway, in an effort to alleviate the traffic congestion there. These re-routes are incorporated into the new schedules and routes effective Monday, June 11th, and apply to the following routes:

#13 Union and #59 Shaw Kirkwood, again; #90 Hampton when operating as a shuttle to Forest Park Community College; and #95 Kingshighway. Most of these routes will operate north via S. Taylor Ave. and south via Taylor, Chouteau, Tower Grove between Forest Park and Manchester, avoiding Kingshighway entirely between Oakland and Forest Park Parkway.

Meanwhile, a number of other routes will have some changes worthy of note, unrelated to either situation.

Richmond Heights and Maplewood

The #16 City Limits will be changed significantly on its southern end, to cope with the demolition of the Bellevue Ave overpass as part of the Highway 40 project. The detour is via Big Bend, and so to keep to a decent schedule the southernmost end is truncated at Sutton Loop, rather than continuing to Maplewood MetroLink and Brentwood garage.

The #16 will still connect with MetroLink at Skinker (Shrewsbury leg) and Delmar (Airport leg), or you could walk six blocks or so west via Flora Ave. from the Sutton Loop to the Sunnen MetroLink station.

Penrose and O'Fallon

Remember the #195 Carter Shuttle? Probably not -- it was a very short shuttle to serve the part of the Penrose and O'Fallon neighborhoods near I-70 that's a long, uphill, and potentially dangerous walk from Lee Avenue, to address concerns of riders in that area when the #96 Walnut Park was eliminated.

For the past couple years, the #195 was replaced by limited service runs on the #74 Florissant. Now, that service via Bircher, Shreve, Carter, and Pope, is being removed from the extremely long #74 route, and placed on a shorter, City-only route: the #18 Taylor. Only southbound trips of the #18 will make this loop, but will go clockwise, causing the southbound #18 to take about twice as long as the northbound #18 to get from the northern terminus (North Broadway MetroBus Center) to the timepoint at Natural Bridge and Newstead.

The current service on the #74 via this loop runs counterclockwise in the mornings, and clockwise in the afternoons; this routing will eliminate the bus stops on the "outer" side of those streets. As confusing as that may be, at least some semblance of service is being retained, although I'm not sure it gets much use.

Far West County

Service to far West County is being changed again; as you might expect, having a single route to Chesterfield (via Hwy 40 outer roads) and to Ellisville (via Manchester Rd.) hasn't worked well, because there's just too much demand for these routes from reverse commuters. Given that, the route will be split back into two routes:

#58 Chesterfield. This route will serve Clayton MetroBus Center instead of Brentwood MetroLink, and will serve Clayton Rd. east of Ballas, instead of those tiny little Connector vans. West of Ballas MetroBus Center, it's still pretty much the same as the current Chesterfield leg.

#258 Ellisville. This new route will cover far west Manchester Road, all the way to Wildwood Town Center, and still provide express service from Brentwood MetroLink to Ballas MetroBus Center.

Other changes in this vicinity include truncating the Clayton Road Connector's eastern end at Ballas MetroBus Center, since the eastern leg is now put back onto the #58 route; eliminating weekend service and service to Town & Country Commons on the Hospital Connector and some minor changes on the two remaining West County express routes: #58x Twin Oaks Express and #158x Hwy 40-Clayton Rd Express.

University City and Washington University

It turns out the Connector vans won't go to waste, however: Metro is now taking over the WashU Green Line shuttle route, which connects the Danforth campus with a small area, mostly of WashU student housing, in University City and (believe it or not) a tiny corner of Wellston to access the Loop Lofts complex (old Bardenheier Winery) on Skinker Parkway along the Wellston/St. Louis City boundary. WashU got out of the shuttle business several years ago, contracting it to Huntleigh Transportation. Now Huntleigh's contract will be limited only to the Campus Circulator route that operates on-campus only at WashU -- which, really, is all that most college campuses in St. Louis have anyway, an on-campus circulator route that serves very few areas off-campus.


Both the #66 Clayton Airport and #45 Hazelwood Ferguson routes will offer limited direct service to Valley Industries, a sheltered workshop off McDonnell Blvd. in Hazelwood.


The #274x Paddock Hills Express will run via Lillian Ave. in Northwoods and Pine Lawn, the south outer road of I-70 between Jennings Station and Lucas Hunt, on all trips. Currently, only one afternoon trip makes that run. I actually ride this bus several times a week, and while it may add a few minutes to the trip, it's made up for by the fact the adjacent section of I-70 is often congested at peak hour.

It also conveniently provides transit service just a little bit closer to Charlie Dooley's house. ;-)

Schedule Changes Only

The #42 Sarah and #91 Olive will only have schedule changes.


matthurst said...

full disclosure - i grew up in the country with cars.

but something about reading that seems not just like a foreign language, but more like a dead language. i;m interested in using public transportation more readily now that i live in st louis propper, but i can't really figure it out. can you point me in the right direction to learn this?

Anonymous said...

I would have taken the opportunity of New I-64 reconstruction to re-route the #95 onto Vandeventer, or take the #92's 2006 route between Southwest and the CWE. Then, #92 could have been eliminated along with #80.

Of course, that would mean providing coverage on relatively high transit needs Shaw Boulevard between 39th and Tower Grove another way or even losing such service. However, with the #92 now covering this leg, this area already lost its evening and weekend service provided previously on #59.

At least with these changes, I hope no bus needs to pull into the Shaw MetroBus center at Vandeventer anymore. Very few people ever used this park-and-ride lot.

Anonymous said...

Some exceptions to #92's routing for a revised #95 would be to take Chouteau between Sarah and Taylor for northbound trips instead of Clayton. Also, southbound trips would be the reverse, except taking Tower Grove between Chouteau and Vandeventer, instead of service.

Ideally, this would be a permanent change, not just a temporary detour during New I-64. The only transit need lost with such change would be Gateway Tech HS near McRee and Kingshighway, but the SLPS no longer contracts with Metro. Otherwise, the section of Kingshighway between Forest Park and Vandeventer/Southwest is really the land of viaducts, not needing as strong of bus coverage as Forest Park Southeast, which would have improved frequency and coverage.

Besides, intersecting routes of #52, #59 and #93 would still be nearby for those wanting to walk to a closer stop in this "land of viaducts." Transfers for #52, #59, and #93 would move from Kingshighway to respectively Tower Grove/Manchester(SB), Sarah/Manchester(NB), CWE transfer center, and Shaw/Vandeventer.

Anonymous said...

Last line of first paragraph in previous post should have read "instead of Sarah," not "instead of service."