Life With a Car
Having gone most of my undergraduate career without a car, I knew I wanted one for medical school. So far, it’s been great. Compared to the situation in other metropolitan areas, parking in St. Louis is relatively easy to find and pretty cheap. (Parking in the Central West End is free on weekends and after 7 p.m. on weekdays). I did have to brush up on my parallel parking skills, though! It’s great to be able to head out to stores or activities further away without having to ask for a ride or plan out a route via public transportation (though public transportation can also be really handy). Parking on campus is only free on weekends and after 2 p.m. (until 8 a.m.), so if you want to drive to class, you’ll have to pay for a parking space.
– Kat Z., M1
Life Without a Car
For the first time since high school, I am car-less. Not by choice, but by force: Two days into moving to St. Louis, my car was totaled by an unlucky out-of-towner. Despite this setback, I have found St. Louis and the Central West End to be fully manageable without a car. The majority of students live within 10 minutes walking distance from the medical campus/Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and many of St. Louis’s best restaurants and bars are in the Central West End. The St. Louis MetroLink lightrail is free to all WUSM students and stops at places such as Busch Stadium, the Danforth Campus and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. If you do need a car, you will undoubtedly find someone among your 122 new friends who would be willing to drive you. It does become more complicated during the clinical years as some elective rotations are offered at off-campus sites, but there are more than enough opportunities available at the main campus to not necessitate a car for all four years.
– Brian H., M1
MetroLink and MetroBus
All WUSM students receive a free pass each semester that allows unlimited access to the St. Louis area bus system (MetroBus) and light-rail system (MetroLink). Most of the city’s major tourist attractions can be reached easily via MetroLink, including Busch Stadium, the Scottrade Center, Forest Park, the Arch, Union Station and more. Many of the train stations have free parking, and a few even have free long term parking. This is especially helpful if you’re headed out of town a few days. You can drive to a long-term lot, and take the MetroLink straight to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. You can also carry bikes aboard MetroLink or MetroBus. Although there are people with complaints about St. Louis public transit, in my experience the train arrives on time most of the time. It’s also nice that the walk from the Central West End MetroLink station to Moore Auditorium takes approximately 94 seconds. And did I mention, it’s totally free?
– Dean O., M1
Biking in St. Louis
Whether for pleasure, exercise, or to get to class each morning, a number of WUSM students bike. St. Louis is no Copenhagen, but biking around the city is definitely doable, with bike lanes on some streets and a general lack of traffic. Use standard precautions (not the infectious control kind) — helmet, lights at night and U-lock. There’s also a secure bike lot at school. Forest Park is great for a leisurely spin and has separate paths for cyclists and runners. For the slightly speedier folks, you can join up with group rides that leave from bike shops like Big Shark in the University City Loop, or South Side Cyclery. For the truly ambitious among us, the Katy trail runs across much of the state along a former railroad. You don’t need a car to have St. Louis at easy reach!
– Maya S., M1