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St Louis moves closer to Loop Trolley development
 Judith Rubin, InPark contributing editor

Some 60 citizens gathered April 22 at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis for a public hearing on the Draft Environmental Analysis for the proposed Loop Trolley. The Loop Trolley is the brainchild of local entrepreneur Joe Edwards, a well known local figure and the developer of The Loop, the metro area’s popular, six-block, retail/entertainment strip and an award winning example of successful urban revitalization. 

Joe Edwards
In 2007, the American Planning Association designated the Delmar Loop “One of the 10 Great Streets in America.” Located in University City adjoining St Louis proper, The Loop originated in 1972 when Edwards opened the restaurant and music club Blueberry Hill at 6504 Delmar Boulevard. A special business district was established for The Loop in 1980. 
Signature properties on The Loop today include the restored Tivoli Theater, The Pageant concert venue, the Pinup Bowl and the Moonrise Hotel. The Loop is also home to the St Louis Walk of Fame and the headquarters of the Regional Arts Commission.

The Loop Trolley is envisioned as a fixed-track, vintage-style system to serve locals and tourists alike.  Loop Trolley Transportation Development District has been set up. The trolley’s projected 2.2 mile route will trace an “L” from University City’s City Hall east on Delmar Boulevard and then south on DeBaliviere Avenue to the Missouri History Museum and back. It will connect with two MetroLink stations (Delmar Loop and Forest Park). By virtue of crossing Skinker Blvd as it traverses Delmar, the trolley would help to tie two neighborhoods together and bridge a development divide. Edwards has emphasized the importance of a fixed-track system as being the most conducive to development, because developers can put stock in its permanence.

Of the 18 people who gave oral comments at the April 22 session – including Edwards himself, who spoke about the quality-of-life benefits of walkable neighborhoods, citing a June 2010 article in The Atlantic and an April 21 article in USA Today – nearly all were pro-trolley. Concerns that were raised included safety for bicyclists, neighborhood parking, the effect construction would have on businesses in The Loop, and job creation.

The Loop Trolley is a $43M undertaking and conditions appear favorable for $25M of that to be in the form of a Federal grant. The projected timeline has the design being finalized this year, construction beginning in 2012 and the trolley open for service in 2013. Organizations on board with the Loop Trolley and represented at the meeting include East West Gateway and Great Rivers Greenway. A representative of the Federal Transit Administration was also present, as were several city Aldermen and a representative of the NAACP. The public comment period for the Loop Trolley remains open through May 5, 2011.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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