KC Light Rail

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Car-Free & Carefree, Part 4: Forest Park

By Joe Medley

I had intended to do a second post on Saturday, but things didn't quite go as planed. I found out at the last minute that my meeting started two hours earlier than I realized. This sucked up all of my spare writing time yesterday. Then I had trouble finding a free wireless hot spot. So here's part IV a little late.

On Saturday, I looked specifically to see if it were possible for someone to live without a car in the St. Louis area. About midday, I noticed that I had seen yet another transit rider toting a bicycle. Although there are plenty of cyclist in Kansas City, my impression is that I saw more people using it as a primary means of transportation than I had ever seen in Kansas City. This is just an impression, so I could be wrong. I would imagine that good public transit makes this easier by helping a cyclist cover longer distances. Obviously, cyclists are limited in the shopping that they can do, but is useful for getting to work, going to a baseball game, or visiting a friend.

I found an area outside the Forest Park stop where apartments, houses, shops, a bus stop, a park-and-ride lot, and the entrance to a major city park were all within 100 yards of the MetroLink station. This spot lacked a few local services like a grocery store, hardware store, and a drug store. I didn't have the time to find out how far away these services were, or whether I could get to them by foot, rail, or bus.

Yet, just being able to take a transit system to work is a noteworthy start. I recently guestimated that the 3/8 cent sales tax supporting the KCATA is costing me less than $100 a year. If I start taking the bus to work again, I'll spend $1500 a year. Out at North Hanley, there is public use parking garage right next to the MetroLink station. Even this will save residents money by decreasing the amount that a commuter will spend on gas, parking, and insurance.

2 Comments so far

  1. Patrick L. April 7th, 2008 1:31 pm

    Curious about the bicycle comments. I would add that I think the physical geography of KC is a setback to bicycles. I ride a bike a lot and the first thing someone notices on a bike here is that this town is far from flat. Many other major cities I have been to are much more friendly for bicycles not only for their bicycle lanes but also the fact that they are not very hilly. Even Denver, situated next to the mountains is amazingly flat along with St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, etc…

  2. Paul April 8th, 2008 10:30 pm

    I don’t know which edge of Forest Park you were on, but on the South and Western edges you have pretty good acess to areas where you would find grocery, hardware stores, restaurants etc. Even a hundred years ago when I lived there, bus service was readily available.

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