From: John Birrenbach <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> Subject: Re: [StPaul] Bring The Streetcars Back > > St Paul, Minneapolis the entire metro area was designed to be a place > 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 to > 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 does. > Pick a point (Union Station) and have all your communter trains from > 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.
Let me correct this base assumption right off the top. The core cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul were, in fact, designed for and using trolley transportation from about 1870-on - after William (?) Lowry built Archbishop John Ireland's Grand Avenue streetcar line all the way out to the farm fields near the river where St. Thomas College was built and expanding even then. Lowry had a lock on the public transit system in the cities - what became the Twin Cities Street Railway system, the Twin Cities Rapid Transit. Anyone alive in the Twin Cities of the 1940's backward rode those exquisite electric streetcars. They were sold off to General Motors in about 1951 by - thank you - Carl Pohlad, with whom the public system had been privatized - again. The whole idea was to rid cities of rail system and replace them with gasoline-powered rubber-wheeled buses. GM promptly ceased running streetcars, sold them off in different directions and engineered the asphalting and cementing over of the street rail. The rails in some places remain buried, but almost all of it was finally ripped out with the major sewer projects and roadbed reconstruction. The TC Metro would have had its urban backbone in place all these years and accustomed to using transit without argument had this corporate boondoggle between Pohlad and the rapacious GM been disallowed as matter of condemnation, if necessary. Now we're trying to retrofit an all-too-developed metro area with multi-modal rail - commuter and LRT at the moment - and its costing multi-billions. This was the beginning of Minnesota's regression from a strong progressive policy state to the tax-timid, privatizing politics of the 21st Century - a prescription for disaster if ever there was one. Yes, we desperately need all of this and the paranoia over ridership issues has been splattered by the Hiawatha line's incredible acceptance and the ancillary development along the corridor. This was the project that naysayers kept shouting - you can't build your way into acceptance of this - they all want their cars, not a rail system. HA! The critical mass of rush-hour parking lots that we call freeways has changed everything, and this was predictable 50-100 years ago, you'd better believe. Trolley's along the main corridors of the urban core remain a highly viable and stable option. John is incorrect here. The inner cities are not so changing or changeable as to create arterials where none now exist or to eliminate existing arterials through development. Streets like Grand, St. Clair, Selby, University, Payne, Concord, Arcade, and West 7th, etc. etc. will ever be thus. Now, let's see, especially in the wake of legislative defeats of transit obstructionists, whether we've got the hindsight and a bit of foresight and courage to stand up to the road-builders in MnDOT (esp.. The Lt. Governor and her crew) to take advantage of the Hiawatha experience and, as the Star Trib said last Sunday, exert the political will to really link this area of 190 separate municipalities. Andy Driscoll Crocus Hill/Ward 2 ------ _____________________________________________ 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/