The four routes St. Louis regional leaders are mulling for MetroLink expansion snake through wildly different neighborhoods.
Crumbling buildings and weed-choked lots line parts of proposed corridors. Other routes would run near tidy shopping centers and trendy restaurants, reaching deep into the suburbs of St. Louis County.
Experts say younger workers and empty-nest boomers are increasingly looking to live next to light rail stops and the amenities that seem to sprout up around them. Those changing preferences have made the land around light rail stops in other cities valuable real estate, attracting development dollars and residents that will shape neighborhoods for decades.
With a potential development magnet up for grabs, political discord has already surfaced over where the next route should be built. While St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay strongly backs the Northside-Southside line through the heart of the city, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has refused to endorse it, arguing that three other routes that mostly extend into the county also should be studied.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch