A lot of discussion at various levels needs to take place before any specific proposal might be advanced. But when I intially learned about the some of the streetcar concepts, my reaction was admittedly positive.
I belive John Birrenbach is right in that not all of St. Paul is well-suited for rail transit. Yet I strongly believe some parts of the City would not only support a streetcar, but reach their potential only with a streetcar or rail. I guess my core concern is that people are allowed the *choice* to take the kind of frequent, reliable service that a streetcar would provide. Ultimately, government should not favor one or two alternatives only, but should provide a variety of alternatives, where those alternatives are feasible. And for me, the initial evidence would suggest that it is feasible. Let's just conceptually imagine a line that goes from Union Depot west to the Mississippi River. Who would ride? - A portion of the 20,000 attendees to Xcel Center events. Already, several Grand Avenue establishments use the "mock" tolleys John describes to bring their diners downtown for the game. - Downtown will soon have 10,000 residents, all within walking distance of a streetcar. A significant portion of those people will use a streetcar, if only to get around the downtown area. Transit, not autos, is the natural lifeblood of downtown. - Similarly, my cursory evaluation, based on what I know of other cities, is that most of Cathedral Hill, along with most of Selby, Marshall and Grand all have the kinds of densities that would support fixed rail transit ridership. In fact, these densities exist because of being historically near to transit. As you move further south from these corridors, I agree with John. I think the housing may be too spread out to support rail transit. - College students & employees. St. Thomas has about 10,000 students & employees in St. Paul. Macalester about 3,000. William Mitchell, maybe 1,500. Students are very likely to use transit. - Those going to smaller bars, restuarants, entertainment and shopping. More transit = a more convenient destination = access to more shoppers. - Convention-goers. - Those making a connection to Amtrak, LRT, or commuter rail at Union Depot. - Some of the 45,000 employees who work downtown. - The hundreds or thousands of tourists who stay downtown each night. Of course, these are the kinds of numbers that we really need a formal study to pin down. But a cursory look is helpful to understand the potential. I'm glad John brought up these concerns, because I think these are the kinds of questions that will either guide us to move forward with streetcars or rethink them as a concept. But with the announcements of these Civic Dialogues next week, the conversation has begun, and its a conversation that is long overdue. Thanks, Bob Spaulding Downtown Resident _____________________________________________ To Join: St. Paul Issues Forum Rules Discussion Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED] _____________________________________________ St. Paul Topics - This Week: Light Rail http://www.mnforum.org/mailman/listinfo/stpaul-topics _____________________________________________ NEW ADDRESS FOR LIST: [EMAIL PROTECTED] To subscribe, modify subscription, or get your password - visit: http://www.mnforum.org/mailman/listinfo/stpaul Archive Address: http://www.mnforum.org/mailman/private/stpaul/