Minneapolis — Long Range Streetcar Plan Approved
Rail Transit Online, April 2010
Minneapolis City Council has approved a long-range transportation plan calling for the development of six streetcar lines along specific routes, five of which would replace existing bus services. The council's action allows city staff to apply for federal funding to advance planning on the projects, which include the following alignments:
• Nicollet Mall/Nicollet Avenue;
• Nicollet Mall/Central Avenue;
• Washington Avenue North and Broadway Avenue;
• 9th/10th Streets South and Chicago Avenue;
• Hennepin Avenue and University Avenue Southeast/4th Street Southeast;
• Midtown Greenway linking the Hiawatha light rail line with the proposed Southwest light rail project.
The plan calls for narrowing the six down to a shortlist of two or three, then selecting one as a starter and applying for capital funding from Washington. City officials decided to move ahead with streetcars after the Obama administration signaled its intention to help pay for new systems, an about-face from the Bush administration which rejected all such proposals.
"When Minneapolis started planning for streetcars a couple years ago, some people said we were moving too fast, because we didn't have a federal partner who was willing to help us," Mayor R.T. Rybak told Minneapolis City Pages. "The council took a big step forward toward making sure we put modern streetcars where they belong — along the commercial corridors in Minneapolis that used to have them."
The once-extensive streetcar system covering Minneapolis and St. Paul carried 238 million passengers in 1920.