Earlier, Nate Hood outlined the blunder being committed by Southwest LRT planners at the Belt Line station in St. Louis Park.
It’s not a blunder limited just to this station – plans are to build over 3,500 park and ride spaces along the corridor. Large parking lots will displace transit oriented development at human scale at the majority of SWLRT stations.
Finance & Commerce noted that Eden Prairie’s economic development manager, David Lindahl, wants to see “larger structures with excess capacity” open from day one. Further up the line in Hopkins, the Met Council is redirecting $7 million away from Arterial BRT along Chicago Avenue in 2016 to instead fund a larger parking ramp at Hopkins Station. And I’ve noted before how park & rides investment equals walk & ride disinvestment.
But let’s focus on Belt Line station, since it’s one of the station areas with the most potential. It’s full of low-density industrial uses, but it’s circled by Uptown, Excelsior and Grand, and West End. What a great place to forgo parking and watch great transit-supporting mixed use emerge, right?
How much land is that, really?
This park and ride clocks in at just under 7 acres. That’s only 1.5 acres less than Target Field. And it’s roughly the same size as 1.5 blocks of the Lyn-Lake district in South Minneapolis.
Belt Line Park & Ride
Note the kiss and ride at left, featuring the sensuous combination of concrete curb and asphalt pavement sure to ignite a romantic peck.
A Slice of Lyn-Lake
Note the classical street grid, combination of new and old structures, and human habitat such as rooftop patios.
We have trouble truly appreciating and comparing scale between a land use that’s human-oriented and a land use that’s auto-oriented. We need to get our bearings to appreciate truly how wrong-headed it is to apply a financially-unproductive automobile-oriented land use next to stations. Let’s get the most out of our $1.8 billion investment. We can do better than park & rides, especially here.