Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Loop Trolley - Looking Forward to Spring, 2017

I was in the Delmar Loop recently checking out the site of a proposed mixed-use development at Skinker and Delmar as well as the construction progress on "the Everly" student housing project. 

Stay tuned for my blog on the latter.

As I was bumming around the Loop I was really taken by how much progress has taken place on the Loop Trolley. Man, I just don't make it to this part of town very often. I need to spend more time here. Especially on the St. Vincent Greenway at Ruth Porter Mall. There is so much happening in our city right now, I just can't keep track. It's fun. These are good times, folks. I am working my way through my favorite 20 projects announced or under construction in 2016 and the Loop Trolley wasn't one of them. 

That is a testament to just how much is going on. I am really looking forward to this, especially to hear what people think. I tend to think it will be a rousing success and a real treat for people visiting the Loop and those that live around the trolley line.


I remember buying a Citizen's For Mass Transit Loop Trolley poster almost 10 years ago so it's good to see things on the verge of operation come Spring, 2017.

The infrastructure of the trolley line is really taking shape. You can see how it will flow and how people will get off and on:


My wife was looking at some of my photos, and said if you put a sepia tone filter on that, it would look like St. Louis in it's heyday. So for her sake, here's an effected look down DeBaliviere Avenue:
At some stretches, the trolley runs down the middle of the street such as this section along Delmar nearest the eastern end:
At other stretches of Delmar, it makes it's way to either side of the street depending on which direction it is heading.

Even the signage is going up:
The 2.2 mile stretch will take people from the inner ring suburb of University City to the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park with ten stops in between:
image source: Loop Trolley

The trolleys themselves are coming from Portland, OR which is odd considering we had the most sophisticated street car system in the United States until we scrapped them...for buses.
photo credit: The Loop Trolley

It's great that the trolley will provide another connection to Metrolink as the Delmar Loop and DeBaliviere/Forest Park stops are on the trolley line. The latter is critical as you can get on the red or blue line.

Another plus of this project is that it brings a shuttered historic building back to life. The trolley car maintenance and storage shed will be at 5875 Delmar. There are new windows and other investment that will allow this building to carry on for at least another generation with a new life.
This building is actually the combination of two buildings (5875 and 5893 Delmar Boulevard).  The first was built in 1914 the latter was built in 1911 with an extension added in 1951. These buildings were once auto showrooms and repair bays which later became the Delmar High School. 

Delmar High School opened in 1975 in the Delmar Elementary School building at 5883 Delmar as an alternative high school program, used for overflow during a period of high enrollment. The school was named for the street it was on, and the street name was derived from the first three letters of the states Delaware and Maryland. The school closed in 1980. 
Since then the structure sat vacant until the last year or so when construction began. Per a February, 2012 story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
A Loop Trolley feature will be its maintenance building in the old Delmar High School. (Tim) Borchers (the trolley's technical manager) said it will have a public viewing area for people "to see the normal day-to-day-life of a streetcar."
It's good that it'll be open to the public.
Before:
Recently:


I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product!

For an amazing blog following the progress very closely with lots of photos, check out Derek Knight 007.

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