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At 2:18 PM -0600 11/9/04, Andy Driscoll wrote:
 after William (?) Lowry built Archbishop
John Ireland's Grand Avenue streetcar line all the way out to the farm

As I read and re-read this and what I posted yesterday the more and more I began to realize that what was built for Ireland, by Lowry, is what started the urban sprawl to begin with, and is the root of the whole metro area's current transit problems. We are sprawled out, not up.

How Ironic that we are now looking at building is the very thing that allowed communities like Merriam Park to SPRAWL out from the city of St Paul and Mpls, which in turn eventually caused the very transit issues we see today. See how the best laid plans of Mice and Men can go awry?

Another part of the problem that really needs to be talked about is the density of population per acre. It is my general understanding that those Rail transit systems that work, not only for the consumer but are also less of a drain on limited tax dollars, are those in area's of extreme population density.

NY for example.... all those people living in apartments in the HEART of the city (yea there are commuters, but look at the population density of residents the vast majority of the systems users).

When you look at some of these cities, you see massive towers, for MILES, packed with people. Here we have everyone spread out all over the place (thanks to planning in the early part of this century).

I look at who is gonna end up paying for the vast majority of this. I wonder what the rider costs vs the actual costs of setup and running are going to be. Anyone know what the costs per passenger are for the Hiawatha line vs the ticket price?

Is this a totally free ride at the expense of the taxpayers or is it's costs going to be born, eventually, by the riders? If it's going to be paid in total by ridership it seems to me that the population density of the cities doesn't make that happen, unless your able to drive and park at some station to ride the train.

If the costs are born by the taxpayers then there is no reason to not start right now, it's only gonna get more expensive as time goes on. If it's a free ride for anyone who wants to get on, it would certainly increase ridership and reduce traffic on a scale never seen before.

I have to agree with Eric that serious leadership needs to come from the County, serious money too if they want us to run outside the city. At the same time those other communities everyone is so quick to say the eventual routes will run through need to be involved as well... we don't need another 35E unconnected in the middle for three decades do we?

John Birrenbach
W 7th Neighborhood, St Paul MN
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