ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, November 20, 2013 —— The national urban park advocacy organization City Parks Alliance (CPA) announced Forest Park as its “Frontline Park” for the month of November, specifically spotlighting the Forest Park Trolley program that has carried more than 230,000 riders since its creation in 2011.
Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes a “Frontline Park” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.
“We selected Forest Park for recognition because it exemplifies the power of partnerships to create and maintain urban parks that build community and make our cities sustainable and vibrant,” said Catherine Nagel, Executive Director, City Parks Alliance. “We hope that, by shining the spotlight on this park, we can raise awareness about both the necessity and the promise of these kinds of partnerships to spur investment in our nation’s urban parks.”
In early 2011, Forest Park Forever, Metro Transit (Metro), the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center and Missouri History Museum began to improve upon the summer bus route that serviced the park between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This special service was subject to annual cuts based on transit funding, meaning the service wasn’t guaranteed to operate each season. The idea to brand the service as the “Forest Park Trolley” and extend the service operations to target peak times came about during these initial discussions.
Introduced later that year, the Forest Park Trolley has been the largest contributor to the success of the Park’s overall traffic management plan. By linking key destinations within the park to the closest light-rail system, the service offered a new and immediately popular transportation option for both locals and out-of-town visitors alike. To date, this initiative has carried 230,000 riders, surpassing any previous park circulator.
“We are so pleased that the City Parks Alliance has recognized the phenomenal spirit of collaboration here in St. Louis and Forest Park,” said Lesley Hoffarth, President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever, the private nonprofit that works in partnership with the City of St. Louis to maintain the Park. "We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with the City of St. Louis in everything we do. In recent years, we have also developed a meaningful partnership with Metro Transit and the cultural institutions here in Forest Park to increase accessibility through the Trolley program. We are grateful to City Parks Alliance for recognizing the positive impacts such a program can have on a public destination such as Forest Park."
“Metro and Forest Park have forged a great partnership, and the Forest Park Trolley is the result,” said John Nations, President and CEO of Metro Transit. “It’s a great way to get tourists and residents alike to all the attractions in the 1,300-acre park.”