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St. Clair County district plans ‘transformation’ of transit center

The St. Clair County Transit District is planning a “Transit Stop Transformation Project” at the Emerson Park Transit Center in collaboration with Citizens for Modern Transit, AARP in St. Louis and Metro Transit.

The effort is set to transform the area between the bus bays and MetroLink entrance into an active space that promotes creative play, cultivates community and increases transit use. CBB has been selected for the planning, design and management of the project. Area residents, business leaders and transit riders will have an opportunity to weigh in on project concepts and design elements via public forums that will be announced at a later date. Construction is expected to get underway this summer.

The “Transit Stop Transformation Project” serves as an extension to Citizens for Modern Transit and AARP in St. Louis’ ongoing efforts to raise awareness about “placemaking” around transit. This is a concept that transforms places people simply pass through in route to their next destination – like MetroLink and MetroBus transit centers – into active, engaging corridors that connect individuals and neighborhoods by offering access to products, services, activities and green space.

“We’ve added LED lighting, made parking lot upgrades and are in the midst of constructing a new, state-of-the-art security facility at the Emerson Park Transit Center that will house office space for St. Clair County MetroLink Sheriff’s Deputies and the St. Clair County 9-1-1 Dispatch Center,” said Herb Simmons, chair of St. Clair County Transit District’s Board of Trustees. “We are now ready to make the placemaking concept a reality here too. We look forward to creating an active, engaging space that further enhances the site – and reflects the community’s past, present and future.”

The “Transit Stop Transformation Project” at the Emerson Park Transit Center will be the second project of its kind in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Last summer, a MetroBus Stop in Maplewood, Mo., was transformed and now boasts enhanced bus shelters, a public art installation, a hopscotch game, vibrant colors, improved lighting and sightlines, and better access to surrounding green spaces.

“While it can be hard to see through the lens of current transit stops seen on the street, the benefits of public transit extend well beyond the ride,” adds Kimberly Cella, executive director for Citizens for

Modern Transit. “These sites can serve as a transformational tool to reconnect a community, promote social equality, increase accessibility, position an area for growth, activate and beautify the public space, and enhance neighborhood safety.”

The Transit Placemaking Program is an opportunity for communities, corporations and non-profits to partner with Citizens for Modern Transit and AARP in St. Louis to transform transit stops in their neighborhoods. Sites are selected based on local government/municipal support, corporate or non-profit partners, and community engagement. Citizens for Modern Transit has a Pilot Funds Program to assist with such projects. To learn more, call (314) 231-7272, email kcella@cmt-stl.org or visit www.cmt-stl.org.

PHOTO: Herb Simmons.

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