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Minneapolis - April 2007

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Minneapolis — Streetcars Seem Practical

Rail Transit Online, April 2007

A still-incomplete study into bringing streetcars back to Minneapolis has found six potentially feasible routes: Nicollet, Hennepin, Chicago, Broadway, Central and University avenues plus the Midtown Greenway.  The analysis should be completed this summer and will prioritize the order of construction and, most importantly, where to find the capital funding.  Although Mayor R.T. Rybak and most city council members have strongly endorsed the concept, which would be similar to the downtown Portland system, some members of the regional Metropolitan Council believe other transit needs are more important and should take priority when scarce state and federal dollars are sought.  If streetcars are approved, the city may have to handle the project itself if the Metropolitan Council decides not to become involved.   

A streetcar on the Midtown Greenway has the support of 14 of the 16 adjacent neighborhoods and by many in the business community.  First proposed in 1999, the idea has gained traction but still needs money.  “We want the streetcar there as soon as possible,” John DeWitt a member of the board of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, told the Star Tribune.  “We have spent more money on parking ramps on the corridor than a streetcar line would cost, and we want to turn that dynamic around.”  The last trolley ran in Minneapolis 53 years ago. 


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