John makes some valid points, as do many of the posters regarding
light rail or street cars.
However, I would disagree that this metro area was designed for the
auto.  There was a very good street car system in place until our
venerable Carl Pohlad and his friends destroyed it for his bus
The cost for the installation of a rail system is large.  But it
also affords opportunities the current system of highways and
byways.  The one thing that a rail system can do that paved roads
can't do is increase the amount of passengers without additional
lanes of traffic.
The cost of additional lanes of traffic is more than just the money
it takes to acquire the land, and build it.  The cost includes
destruction of neighborhoods, added pollution etc.
We may be a community of cars, but if you look most of the cars
have only one person in it.  Talk about an expensive proposition. 
Think about this.  How fast could we build a light or heavy rail
system, if the money we spend on cars and other modes of
transportation annually were devoted to the rail system?
Many of us seem to think its necessary that we have a car at hand. 
It allows us to go where we want to go when we want to go. 
Unfortunately, most of us also think its our right.  Yet if you
moved to Washington, New York Chicago and other cities, I think you
would quickly change your mind.
I have ridden the  European, Salt Lake and the entire Portland
systems.  When in Washington, I only use the Metro.  The wait is
short.  The rides are enjoyable and you don't have a whole lot of
limitation to getting to where you want to go.  In fact, the bus
system works in partnership with the Metro.
What can be better.
I favor a spoke system.  One spoke to St. Cloud through Maple
Grove.  One Spoke North to, Say, Hinkley, One South to Red Wing,
Cannon Falls, and Rochester.  One Spoke South west to Burnsville.
One spoke West to Willmar.  One Spoke North East to Stillwater.  One
East to Hudson.  Of course there would be a link between St. Paul
and Minneapolis.
In many cases there are old rail lines that could be used.  Yes, in
many cases this would mean working within the current bike system to
ensure that we wouldn't lose those amenities.
Mike Fratto
Payne Phalen

>>> John Birrenbach <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> 11/08/2004 8:36:49 PM

I don't know I get conflicting ideas from the City... on one hand 
they have this idea of Street cars which well might look cutsie are

really a pain and don't adjust to the needs, wants, or changing
of the community (rail tracks and all).  On the other you have what

is on the Cities website (which you should really take a look at ).  It 
happens to show LRT going down Univerisity going in and out of 
Downtown through what looks like Robert St to the Union Depot.

St Paul, Minneapolis the entire metro area was designed to be a
to drive your car (for goodness sakes we have one of the remaining

DRIVE IN THEATERS in the East Metro).  People in MN are attached to

their cars and that is not likely to change.  We might, if the 
transit system metro wide, is convenient enough, get a few people 
from WI, Northern, Western, and Southern suburbs to use LRT to get
and from work, but traveling to the airport and between DT's is not

really gonna happen to as great a degree as I think (my Opinion) 
others believe.

LRT is very nice idea to bring people in and get them off the 
Interstates.  But you have to do it smartly kinda like Chicago
Pick a point (Union Station) and have all your communter trains
the burbs converge there, then it's just a matter of picking up 
either another train or a bus to reach your local destination.  No

where do Trolly's fit into a picture of a ever changing transit 
system needs.

The idea of connecting each of the DT's is nice, but not many are 
gonna wait for a train they will want to use their cars especially
it's a regular thing, but it is not really gonna solve the problem
94, 280, 35W, 35E intersections being congested.

What strikes me odd is that in one single swipe, the Native 
American's could shut the yam holes of everyone now wanting a piece

of their pie, by building a LRT to the Hinkley Casino.  Not only 
would it be usable as a commuter rail but also to bring people to 
their Casino.  It would be a move that would make so many people 
happy it would be a coup in public relations state wide for all the


John Birrenbach
W 7th Neighborhood, St Paul MN
=== Political & Business Consulting ===
The Counter to Republican Radio
"Six years on the council has trained me to feign interest for long

periods of time"
Chris Coleman Jan 21, 2004
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