St Louis light railRiders crowd the platform at a MetroLink grand opening in 2006.Steve Patterson/Urban Review STLSt. Louis, Mo. Pop. 354,361
The Gateway City is working to reinvent itself, and its MetroLink light-rail system has played a crucial part. Ridership exceeded predictions, and advocates say the system has helped attract new shops, offices, residences, and hotels in both the Missouri and Illinois sections of the greater metro area. But after a November sales-tax referendum failed to get countywide support, the system had to raise fares and make major cuts in service. Despite the bumpy ride, experts say St. Louis is a great example of the positive impact that transit can have on development patterns.