If you are a fan of Punching Kitty on Facebook, you saw us post a link to the RFT article about Joe “Loop Godfather” Edward’s plans for the Loop Trolley take one step further. Exciting news to be sure, with its short run to Forest Park and back and its classic look, it will no doubt be a cool addition to the Loop and add to it’s “Coolest Street” cred.
But should the cars be in that classic design like Edwards currently plans, or should the cars take on a more modern feel. Someone in St. Louis thinks they should opt for the modern approach, but not simply for aesthetics:
[Classic-style trams have the same problem]: access. Stepping up into them is not friendly to wheelchairs, strollers, bikes, small kids or just a person carrying luggage or packages. The Loop Trolley folks want that vintage look rather than providing the best transportation for the 21st Century. They are looking backward rather than forward.
Filming a period movie? Great, use [the classic-styled cars]. Investing tens of millions in a modern transportation system that will last into the second half of the 21st Century? Wrong choice! The Loop Trolley folks are stuck in 1904. The World’s Fair is over guys.
The above quote was from Steve Patterson of UrbanReviewSTL and honestly, being of the able-bodied sort [Editor’s Note: and I mean really able-bodied…you should see us in our hot old-timey onsie bathing suit! H-O-T!], this is an issue we hadn’t thought of. Patterson goes on to suggest that what Edwards should invest in is the low-sitting modern-style tram cars which would allow for easy wheelchair entry.
We see Patterson’s point, and emphasize for the pain in that ass that must be, but we don’t exactly agree with him. If these plans were for a city-wide public transportation system, we would be 100% behind him in his thoughts of total and complete handicap access to the train cars, but that’s really not what the plans for the Loop Trolley are. The plans have the train cars going east on Delmar to DeBaliviere and down to roughly the Metrolink station by the entrance for Forest Park making this not a full blown public transportation system, but more of a novelty and a throwback to the old trolley system that gave the Loop its name meaning the classic look of the trains is of the utmost importance. This won’t be a system that people will be flooding on to go to work or to reach a section of town that was hard to get to before, this will be more akin to the “Its a Small World” ride at Disney World. We are sure that something can be worked out to get wheelchair access to the trains when the need arrises, but to go to the step of having a modern, monorail-style car purchased for the 2-3 mile ride to the park and back would be losing the entire spirit of the project and frankly make us look a little stupid.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment or by calling the tip line.
[Photo Source: looptrolley.org]