Update: See http://streets.mn/2014/07/07/strangulation-on-the-green-line/ for one take on how the current alignment came to be. Ah, politics.
This is Rob's Rail Transit Suggestion for the Central Corridor LRT Project connecting Minneapolis and Saint Paul, in graphic form:
Addendum: An abadonded rail line lies along Charles Ave in Saint Paul, one block north of University Ave. This would seem to offer an excellent option for the LRT alignment in far western Saint Paul, for as far as it runs. Using Charles Ave and Territorial Road seems to me a better option than the center of University Ave, if transit is the priority. Image here.
These images are meant to help clarify the following comment on the Central Corridor Draft Environmental Impact Statement:
My name is Robert Rossi, and I am a resident of Minneapolis, residing at ***************
I am writing to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Central Corridor project, understanding this to be my opportunity, as a member on the community, to comment on this transit project in general. My comments are as follows:
1) I am a strong proponent of light rail transit. I believe we do need a rapid, convenient rail link between Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and strongly favor that over a Bus Rapid Transit connection between the two cities.
2) I believe the transit function of the Central Corridor project should be front and center - it should not be viewed and assessed as a development project - specifically, as a way to gentrify University Avenue. I am concerned that in much of the proposed planning, the tail has been wagging the dog, and thought has not been placed first and foremost on quickly and efficiently moving folks from one place to another. I have grave issues with the proposed alignment of the LRT, down the center of University Ave in Saint Paul, moreso with the plan calling for traffic signals to not be timed in favor of the train. I understand the challenges associated with using existing rail corridors, but remain unconvinced that enough consideration has been put toward doing so. If we can't build an LRT capable of getting from Minneapolis to Saint Paul more efficiently than would a BRT, the BRT seems the right choice...and that would not bode well for the future of Saint Paul, to my eyes.
3) While I do not have a concrete suggestion for the Saint Paul section of the LRT route (there are too many things I do not know), I do have a concrete suggestion for the Minneapolis segment, which perhaps illustrates the sort of thinking that I fear has not been sufficiently applied to the Saint Paul portion of the alignment. I'm flabbergasted at the plan to tunnel under the Mississippi river at the Washington Ave bridge, and then under the U of M campus, rather than to use existing, abandoned rail corridors over nearly the same region. The cost of the tunnels and underground stations could be much better spent elsewhere. In this document, I describe my suggestion in words, which will only make sense to one quite familiar with the area in question. Thus I refer you to
for a graphic depiction of the proposed alternate route. In words, however: I suggest that the Central Corridor LRT split off from the Hiawatha line at the Metrodome station, as per the DEIS proposal. However, it should then turn northward to parallel Chicago Ave, passing through what are now parking lots. At the parking lot of the new Guthrie Theater (perhaps a location for another station), it turns east and follows an abandoned rail bed, which has not yet been built over, and passes under existing bridges for 35W and Cedar Ave. There it turns slightly southward, then north again to cross the river on the old Bridge #9, which is now a pedestrian bridge. This brings it to the East Bank. Here it can either immediately join University Avenue, if that is indeed where the Saint Paul segment is decided to run, or it can turn east again and continue to follow a very wide rail corridor (only two lines of which seem active, the rest used by U of M shop employees to drive their trucks, and again, bridges are already all built over it) around the north end of campus. Staying at the south side of the rail corridor, it avoids the large railroad switchyard on the north end of campus, and turns southeast to join the U of M transitway. From this point it follows the existing LRT plan.
Other than some rationale specifying that the LRT must run right through the center of the U of M campus, I am at a loss to see why the Washington Ave tunnel route would be favored over this one. This proposed route requires far less infrastructure, utilizes existing bridges and tunnels to improve transit speeds, and does not require the removal of any existing structures, save for some parking lot asphalt. Granted, this route isn't quite as convenient for students, but were that of utmost importance a tunnel could begin where this route reaches the east bank, and be put through the heart of the campus.
Thanks for considering my comments,