TransitKC

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.

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