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.