UMSL political scientist Todd Swanstrom on KETC

Todd Swanstrom, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at UMSL, talks transportation on a recent episode of KETC’s “Stay Tuned.”

Density is a “four-letter word” in St. Louis, according to Todd Swanstrom, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“The problem in St. Louis is land is cheap, we are on this flat plane and you can develop in any direction,” Swanstrom said Nov. 14 on a “Stay Tuned” episode devoted to public transportation on KETC (Channel 9). “Most cities have a desert or a mountain or an ocean that blocks it and pushes the development back to the center.”

While the St. Louis population has migrated outward from its urban core over the past 60 years, Swanstrom said he believes migration to the suburban frontier will likely end someday with rising gas prices possibly contributing to its demise. Perhaps that also will mean a greater embrace of public transportation and transit-oriented development in St. Louis. But Swanstrom said the real topic on “Stay Tuned” shouldn’t have been transportation.

“It should be accessibility,” he said. “The purpose of transportation is to access things. We don’t want to just move people around from point A to point B. We want people to have access to the things that make for a quality life.”

Swanstrom holds a joint appointment at UMSL with the Public Policy Research Center, Department of Political Science and Public Policy Administration program.

Visit the KETC website to view the full “Stay Tuned” video on public transportation. Swanstrom will also guest on “Stay Tuned” on Nov 21 for the second part of the public transportation discussion. Visit the the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website to read more about the episodes.

Swanstrom also recently talked transportation with St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU, which featured the proposed South County Connector in a story that’s part of “How We Move,” the station’s ongoing series on transportation and infrastructure in the St. Louis region.

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Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz

Eye on UMSL: Sweet ride
Eye on UMSL: Sweet ride

Triton Leaders Allison Lendman, Ashley Schauwecker and Cole McWilliams take a seat in the newly wrapped, UMSL-branded red golf cart outside the Millennium Student Center.

Eye on UMSL: Sweet ride

Triton Leaders Allison Lendman, Ashley Schauwecker and Cole McWilliams take a seat in the newly wrapped, UMSL-branded red golf cart outside the Millennium Student Center.

Eye on UMSL: Sweet ride

Triton Leaders Allison Lendman, Ashley Schauwecker and Cole McWilliams take a seat in the newly wrapped, UMSL-branded red golf cart outside the Millennium Student Center.