The St. Louis Development Corporation recently issued a request for proposals. To help the fledging CORTEX district reach its potential as it enters phase 2 of its development, the SLDC is seeking consulting services to examine the potential for transit-oriented development in the area centered on a potential new MetroLink station at Boyle Ave. A parking garage with ground level retail would also be built to serve the MetroLink station and nearby businesses.
Per the RFP, “a plan that has been approved by the CORTEX Board that includes a 200,000 square foot office building, the renovation of a 198,000 square foot historic building to include office and wet lab facilities, the development of over 2.2 acres of land to create a park-like environment with landscaping, open green space and bike lanes.”
Are you sure you’ve got the right street?
As mentioned in the 2003 Midtown Strategic Development Plan, a new MetroLink station was proposed to serve a “Technopolis” development district then centered on Sarah St. The center of CORTEX moved, however, the moment the concept became reality with the construction of the district’s first building at Forest Park and Boyle (property which formerly belonged to Markwort Sporting Goods). A few years later, Solae would build its new headquarters immediately to the south.
So at which street should a new MetroLink station be built? Arguments in favor of a MetroLink station at Boyle include:
- Centered at the heart of the CORTEX district
- Closer to BJC Medical Complex
- New I-64 interchange provides easy access for park-and-ride commuters
- Is a signed bike route
- Could easily connect with existing 8 Bates-Morganford bus route.
Arguments in favor of a MetroLink station at Sarah include:
- Closer to small commercial corridor north of Forest Park Ave
- Closer to The Grove and commercial corridor on Manchester
- Located almost midway between existing Grand and Central West End stations
- Could easily connect with existing 42 Sarah bus route
- Greater potential for transit-oriented development
Either station location would probably work. As long as the principles of transit-oriented development are followed, CORTEX and the communities that surround it will all become stronger and more easily accessible on account of the new MetroLink station (and highway interchange).
Why a parking garage? The CWE stop, mere blocks away, is already served by a massive parking garage.
The parking garage near the CWE stop are geared for use by hospital employees and visitors and not park-and-ride commuters. I wouldn't be surprised if CORTEX is thinking something like the Brentwood I-64 garage which serves adjacent businesses and MetroLink commuters for the Boyle stop, just hopefully on a smaller scale.
A parking garage with retail is not a TOD, its just a commuter car magnet. If a garage is part of something bigger, say office or residential development, thats fine, but the number of spaces should be less than typically required for the development BECAUSE it is on Metrolink. Real TODs promote WALKING no driving.
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