Metro East news briefs

Metro bus, light rail, and call-a-ride vehicles

‘Ride and Abide’ code gets first round okay

A long anticipated “Metro Ride and Abide Policy” was approved May 14, by the Security Sub-Committee of Bi-State Development Agency’s Board of Commissioners.

Central to the policy is a new Metro Code of Conduct which will require all Metro Transit System (MTS) riders, generally to:

  • Be respectful of fellow MTS passengers and authorized MTS personnel, such as security staff;
  • Comply with all lawful orders and directives of MTS personnel,
  • Obey any instructions on duly posted notices or signs, and
  • Provide accurate and complete information or documents requested by MTS personnel.

More specifically, the policy would allow MTS security personnel to expel riders from Metro trains and buses, for 15 classes of prohibited action including:

  • Assault or other violation of federal, state, or local law,
  • Possession, use, distribution, or sales of controlled substances,
  • Weapons possession,
  • Loud, threatening, abusive, harassing, or offensive language which could precipitate violence,
  • Alcoholic beverage possession, or
  • Failure to present a valid, unexpired pass, transfer, or ticket, or otherwise failing to pay

appropriate fare.

Infractions could bring on-the-spot suspension of ridership privileges for up to 12 days — longer suspensions for repeated offenses.

However, the policy would also establish a new hearing system to appear suspensions.

Bi-State plans a public education program, including a new “Ride and Abide Card” for riders, to facilitate awareness of the policy.

The policy is to be considered by the full Bi-State Board of Commissioners at its June 26 meeting.


Top business leaders target segmented recovery plans

The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois is among St. Louis area economic development organizations taking part in the STL Regional Business Recovery Initiative — which over the coming weeks will propose segmented, area-wide business reopening strategies on an industry-by-industry basis, according to a May 1 announcement.

Included will be protocols for the reopening of businesses safety, according to the announcement.

“As part of this work, the Initiative is convening working groups tapping industry experts to help recovery efforts in key segments including restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and attractions, commercial office buildings, retail, salons, gyms, and more,” said Alex Reischman, spokesperson for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, in a prepared statement.

The working groups will then provide input to public health leaders in regional governments, for use formulating reopening policies.

Proposed reopening strategies for several segments of the business community are already under review, according to the announcement.

Participants for additional small working groups, targeting other business segments, are being sought.

“The Initiative will share the plans and recommended protocols for each industry segment widely when completed,” the announcement states.

Reopening plans, as they are developed, will be posted on the St. Louis Regional Chamber website (


Industrial growth totals $19 billion 

Burgeoning industrial clusters in Southwestern Illinois’ nine-county Mississippi Industrial Corridor have now attracted $19 billion in business development investment, according to the Leadership Council Southern Illinois.

That includes advanced and light manufacturing, cybersecurity and geospatial Intelligence, biomedical healthcare, green energy, data centers, multi-modal transportation networks innovation, as well as long-established business sectors such as heavy industry, agriculture, food processing, finance and insurance, aviation, metal fabrication, e-commerce, energy production, chemical and medical processing.

Among the investments: more than $2 billion in state-of-the-art electrical networks, water, natural gas, and municipal services

The region now even has utility mapping capabilities to facilitate industrial planning as well as identify best uses of existing resources, the Leadership Council notes.

The total includes some planned but funded projects such as replacement of the Interstate 270 bridge and the Merchants Bridge.

The Mississippi Industrial corridor consists of Madison, St. Clair, Macoupin, Clinton, Monroe, Jersey, Bond, Washington and Calhoun counties.

The Leadership Council’s report can be accessed online at

A video of the report can be accessed at

Southwestern Illinois Flood Protection District’s levee update has been completed and is awaiting Federal Emergency Management Agency certification. (Courtesy of the SIFPD)

Flood protection? Turn to social media

The Southwestern Illinois Flood Protection District’s (SIFPD) $75 million Metro East levee update has been completed and is awaiting Federal Emergency Management Agency certification.

However, living or working in a flood plain like the American Bottoms will always involve some risk, according to the St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance.

In Metro East’s extensive network of public and private levees, overtopping, internal erosion, seepage and slope erosion are inherent concerns, Alliance speakers noted during a just completed, year-long series of “American Bottoms Levee (Risk) Communications” presentation.

Conducted in conjunction with the United State Army Corps of Engineers and the SIFPD Council, the programs were designed to ensure both local government officials and area residents are ready when flood emergencies arise.

Steps range from adequate flood insurance to use of e-media.

Most area emergency management systems now provide flood warnings through: Signal systems, social media, mass media, and Code Red telephone notification systems.

The Alliance’s presentation can be viewed at

Cities plot reopening strategies

Eyeing the easing of stay-at-home orders, designed to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, at least two Metro East municipalities are developing efforts to help businesses reopen successfully.

Granite City, on May 7, sent 500 letters to business owners, organizations, and community leaders, outlining programs, such as:

  • A first ever Granite Restaurant Week,
  • A “Community Gift Card Challenge;”
  • “Support Granite, Shop Granite” promotional campaign,
  • “We are Ready…We are GC” campaign, and
  • A mayor’s proclamation on ice cream.

Some of the projects are already underway, according to the city.

For information, contact the office of Mayor Ed Hagnauer at 618-452-6214

The city of Alton, in conjunction with the Riverbend Growth Association, is conducting an online survey on business-owner plans for reopening.

The Alton “Supporting Small Businesses through COVID-19 Recovery Survey, will remain live through today (May 20) at 5 p.m. and can be accessed at