39 North AgTech District (Creve Coeur)

Discuss new retail, dining, business and residential projects within St. Louis County, including Chesterfield, Riverport, Earth City, Westport and more.
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CarexCurator
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by CarexCurator » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:15 pm

^Good grief man.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by CarexCurator » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:43 pm

It looks like the area planned for this district is going to back up into the Centennial Greenway. That may one day be a 40 minute bike ride from Washington University. Many interns could make the trip. Less than thirty minutes from downtown Clayton. A huge number of houses could connect as well. You could even bike from St. Charles in under an hour.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by CarexCurator » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:07 pm

^The district doesn't just back up into the Centennial Greenway, the plan for the Missouri Rock Island Trail would end there. So the plant science district is to the rock island trail what the confluence is to the katy trail.

http://rockislandtrail.org/about/

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by STLEnginerd » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:43 am

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by wabash » Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:47 pm

I think this project could provide a big boost to the Westport Metrolink alignment's viability and likelihood.

Currently there's not a whole lot to highlight along the Westport alignment - jobs or otherwise - between Clayton and Westport, and Westport itself isn't exactly an exciting, cutting edge, growth engine of a corporate or consumer destination (although the new WWT HQ certainly helps). This proposal will help change the narrative to jobs, growth, and investment not just at either end of the line, but also along it.

County voters aren't going to be easily won over, but this will help justify and rationalize the cost. They'll have to look no further than the CWE to see that copying Cortex's playbook word-for-word could pay real dividends. Once the Boyle station opens I'm sure Cortex and new companies moving in will only reenforce this by ramping up the pro-transit rhetoric. They're already making sure to mention how important transit accessibility is to companies' decisions to move to Cortex.

Also, as we saw with Prop A, the voices (and dollars) of major corporate and civic institutions can really galvanize transit support. This proposed district could bring Monsanto and Danforth into the fold more (along with WWT, Caleres, and anyone else along the Westport alignment) to openly and outwardly advocate for transit investment.


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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by goat314 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:02 pm

I've said for years the next extension will be Westport. There was chatter of pushing the NS line to the front after Ferguson, but the NS just doesn't have the institutional backing of the Central Corridor and is seen as a charity case. I think Westport is announced next month, with convenient timing with this plan and WWT HQ plan. Not to mention the ROW is there and preserves the heavy rail feel of the system. If DB is correct about MoDot having to contribute big money towards transit in the coming year I could easily see Co. bonding out this project with a federal match. A connection from Westport to Clayton to DT via Cortex would be a big deal.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by imthewiz » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:53 pm

Are there really that many businesses in Westport that would benefit from this? I just don't understand the push for this line.

I would so much like to see tower grove/shaw, Benton park, Lafayette square connected from the south. Would be awesome to have to have a preliminary extension to old north maybe. Why not these popular south city neighborhoods first?

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by STLEnginerd » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:12 am

goat314 wrote:I've said for years the next extension will be Westport. There was chatter of pushing the NS line to the front after Ferguson, but the NS just doesn't have the institutional backing of the Central Corridor and is seen as a charity case. I think Westport is announced next month, with convenient timing with this plan and WWT HQ plan. Not to mention the ROW is there and preserves the heavy rail feel of the system. If DB is correct about MoDot having to contribute big money towards transit in the coming year I could easily see Co. bonding out this project with a federal match. A connection from Westport to Clayton to DT via Cortex would be a big deal.


I'd would wager next year that if anything, they approve funding only for the route study, not funding the construction.

So while I get the argument for a NS line first, I would be pleased with Westport being the next line as well. It benefits the city as the frequency through the central corridor. To sweeten the deal for the city I propose they look at altering the route of the current tracks slightly. From grand to union station, the link should follow Market. Adding a stop at market and Compton (chafitz/Harris-Stowe) and one at Market and Jefferson (Wells Fargo). Merely a co solution prize, but a pretty decent one IMHO.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by MarkHaversham » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:48 am

imthewiz wrote:Are there really that many businesses in Westport that would benefit from this? I just don't understand the push for this line.

I would so much like to see tower grove/shaw, Benton park, Lafayette square connected from the south. Would be awesome to have to have a preliminary extension to old north maybe. Why not these popular south city neighborhoods first?

N/S is better for the future of St. Louis, but unfortunately the future doesn't have a strong lobbying presence.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by roger wyoming II » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:54 am

I'm highly skeptical of a Westport line... just don't see it doing well with ridership even with a new, rather robust plant science district. With overall low density and seemingly pretty serious last mile problems I question how many riders this would attract. Sure, it would be a nice thing to round out a true light rail system, but the first priority should be actually creating a system, and that means going where the riders are and that means N/S.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by quincunx » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:19 am

Ditto to the last two comments.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by moorlander » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:28 am

I agree. I think the Westport line would be great but not next. I think it's just smart policy to run fixed transit through our most dense neighborhoods with highest ridership projections first.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by MarkHaversham » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:52 am

I think the future of N/S is probably a BRT/streetcar within the city borders, without county funding. Start with running a normal bus every ten minutes, upgrade to improved BRT gold-standard stops, assign bus-only lanes, add bigger/nicer buses or streetcars/tracks, all incrementally. It might take 50 years to implement all the capital improvements, but it would happen eventually.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by STLEnginerd » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:38 pm

roger wyoming II wrote:I'm highly skeptical of a Westport line... just don't see it doing well with ridership even with a new, rather robust plant science district. With overall low density and seemingly pretty serious last mile problems I question how many riders this would attract. Sure, it would be a nice thing to round out a true light rail system, but the first priority should be actually creating a system, and that means going where the riders are and that means N/S.


I agree with you BUT I'm also a realist. If the choice is Westport line, or nothing, I would support the idea of a Westport line.

I do think for the city as a whole to stomach supporting a line that is exclusively built in the county they need something substantial out of it and while increased frequency through the core is significant I think a sweetner would need to be added. IMHO diverting metrolink from Union Station, through the 22 street interchange to Market St. (clock is ticking on this option btw) and following Market to Mill creek Valley where it diverts to Grand station with two added stops that serve core institutions (SLU, Harris Stowe, and Wells Fargo) would be sweet enough.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be pushing for your preferred options (N/S) now as it is the best for the city, and probably regionally. But down the road IF Westport is selected for the proposal, don't get out your picket signs, look to broker a compromise. The one I offered is IMHO a pretty solid compromise.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by chaifetz10 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:55 pm

^If that alignment is even remotely feasible, it needs to happen NOW. SLU, HSSU, and Wells Fargo would absolutely help increase ridership, if stations were actually built closer to their institutions. That's my biggest knock on Metro, it's built too far away from many populations by being in the Mill Creek Valley.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by MarkHaversham » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:13 pm

STLEnginerd wrote:I'm not saying you shouldn't be pushing for your preferred options (N/S) now as it is the best for the city, and probably regionally. But down the road IF Westport is selected for the proposal, don't get out your picket signs, look to broker a compromise. The one I offered is IMHO a pretty solid compromise.

I'd get out the picket signs if the Westport alignment doesn't incorporate TOD around the stations, which would really make the extension a waste of money.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by roger wyoming II » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:28 pm

^ definitely.

STLEng, I don't think I'd picket but my skepticism is such that I question whether a Westport extension would even qualify for federal funding.... iirc to qualify for funding under New Starts program feds look at a range of factors including projected ridership. Maybe they'd take plans for a new research-oriented district into consideration and not just existing conditions, but I still don't see that and Westport being sufficient density centers that would justify it getting green lighted as a local priority or for federal funding.
Last edited by roger wyoming II on Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by roger wyoming II » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:41 pm

^ Elaborating on that a bit more, I think it makes sense to add a station for Cortex because it will have around 12,000 workers along with mixed-uses in a fairly tight and walkable 200 acre area and the track is already there. But it wouldn't make sense to build 4 or 5 miles of track out to Cortex to service that unless you had tons of money laying around for light rail. I don't see how the Plant Science Center and Westport would be different, especially as it is unlikely to draw many riders beyond the footprint of those two magnets.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by CarexCurator » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:54 pm

STLEnginerd wrote:
I do think for the city as a whole to stomach supporting a line that is exclusively built in the county they need something substantial out of it and while increased frequency through the core is significant I think a sweetner would need to be added.


I would support expansion of MetroLink just about anywhere even it is badly done provided there's room for future tweaking to make it work. I don't think you'd need to do anything for the city but make the county expansion useful to people. More people using the system means more people riding to stations in the city.

The Brentwood station is a complete failure, but it doesn't have to be that way forever. Those stores are the kind that leave after a decade or two and want to rebuild.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by mill204 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:12 pm

So I visited the Danforth Center for the first time today. The building itself from the inside and from far away is very impressive. Otherwise, it's shocking how isolated how poor access is for pedestrians and cyclists. I did not realize that the east side of the center is lined with the functional equivalent of an impassable moat nor that the center is designed essentially as a suburban corporate campus. Heck, it would be trivial to add security gates to the entrance drive, if so desired. I thought the plans were supposed to be better than this.

Ultimately, if St. Louis is serious about a plant science and technology district in this area, the Danforth Center is a model that should NOT be emulated.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by dredger » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:44 pm

I think how the county has put little effort into extending the cross county extension over the years & the munis unwilling to maximize the investment and can't help but think over time that Westport line in terms of ridership and development will not be any better then cross county at end of day. The fact that if Westport line does indeed terminate at Westport Plaza itself you will at least connect WWT HQ/small jobs center/node into the Central Corridor and the powers behind Dansforth Center at least have some political pull might offer some better hope that it will be more than just a construction program for a couple of years.
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I think metrolink alignment through the city is pretty decent. Yes, the Grand center is misplaced but the alignment offers a stop at the door of Forest Park (which will also include the loop trolley, in the heart of BJC/Wash Medical school and Euclid is turning into a great street, a new Boyle Street stop in the heart of growing urban job/tech center, and all the stops after Grand Center are literally in downtown a stones through away from Union Station, Scottrade, Downtown bus center, Busch Stadium/BPV, Wash Ave loft district/convention center/hotel rooms & Laclede's Landing. I think the city focus is finding ways to improve/increase metro N-S bus frequency off its major north south arterials and finding a way to break ground on a streetcar network that would compliment metrolink & development, offer a north south city corridor for far less investment as well as support future BRT.

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by quincunx » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:56 am

I'm doubtful this area can be made into a walkable place.

Plant Science + Technology Area Master Plan

http://plantsciencemasterplan.com/

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by moorlander » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:50 pm

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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by CarexCurator » Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:26 am

That plan is an amazing start with just the great streets project and the amazon biosphere suggestion. It looks like the best local comparison is UMSL. Two campus areas disconnected by a major road, poor walking options, no place to eat lunch without driving, and a lack of density. Good greenway trail connections and the natural bridge great street project are a great start in healing the disconnection from the surrounding neighborhoods. Ultimately, for lack of a streetscape, at least making big fancy sidewalks in straight lines between buildings does a lot to add to foot traffic as the sidewalks intersect with the trails. If the plant science district becomes more of a botanical garden of maintained plantings along walking paths, then it would still be an improvement over buildings connected by circular drives and parking lots.
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Re: Plant Science District in Creve Coeur

Unread post by quincunx » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:08 am

Stl Public Radio - Planning continues for Creve Coeur innovation district

Representatives from the urban planning firm Ayers Saint Gross told an audience of interested parties on Tuesday that they'd like make the area more pedestrian friendly, which involves reconfiguring traffic patterns and converting old railroad paths into roads.

"The idea is to take the existing roads and rail spurs and have an interconnected set of streets that people can walk, bike and drive on," Kevin Petersen, a principal of the firm, said at a forum to provide updates on the district.


http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/pla ... n-district


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