The federal government plans to spend more than $900,000 in the next three years to reduce the number of motorists who are alone in cars going to downtown St. Louis, Clayton and the Central West End.
The money will go to transit management associations for the three areas. Citizens for Modern Transit, the major civic organization backing public transit, will receive $529,000 to operate the ones for downtown St. Louis and Clayton, and the Washington University Medical School will receive $373,000 for one in the Central West End.
Officials hope the results will be fewer vehicles with more passengers in rush hours, more bicycle and pedestrian paths, cleaner air and less need for expensive highway improvements.
"Our focus will be on reducing single-occupancy vehicles driving to the medical school so we can improve air quality," said Carole Moser, director of facilities administrative services for the medical school.
The association hopes to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles at the medical center by 644 in three years.
Citizens for Modern Transit plans to have its associations in place on Jan. 1, said Kim Cella, who will operate the associations. Moser said her association also should start soon.
The associations want employers to encourage workers to car pool, Cella and Moser said. One possibility in Clayton is for employers to give car-pooling vehicles preferential parking spaces, Cella said.
"We plan to work with corporations with over 100 employees to explore ride sharing, MetroLink and public transit for their employees," she said. "Our goal for the first year is to have eight companies - four in each area - working with us."
Cella said employers could make purchases of MetroLink and bus passes more convenient by selling them at their workplaces.
The associations also will promote bicycle and pedestrian paths, Cella and Moser said. A bicycle path for Clayton is a promising possibility, Cella said.
The Central West End association would try to expand the number of bicycle parking racks at the medical center, Moser said.
"We will look at traffic congestion," she said. …