Archive | Streetcars

65 Years Later: Twin Cities Streetcars

On June 19, 1954 the streetcar system in the Twin Cities shut down permanently. I consider it one of the biggest mistakes our region has ever made as we’re now spending billions and taking decades to rebuild a similar system albeit with arterial bus rapid transit (ABRT), BRT, and light rail. There are several causes […]

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How a Hub-and-Spoke Model Could Improve Metro Rail Transit

Airlines utilize hub-and-spoke models of route mapping. For Delta, the Twin Cities’ local dominant airline, Atlanta (ATL) is a major hub of that map, along with Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Salt Lake City (STL) and other airports. Remember the refrain that the path to hell passes through Atlanta? Whatever your destination in the Southeast, chances are […]

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The Story of Saint Paul’s Selby Avenue Tunnel

As Saint Paul’s population grew in the late 19th Century, people began moving out of the city’s core and into residential areas adjacent to downtown. The Selby Avenue streetcar line was built in 1888 to provide people with transportation from their homes on top of the hill to the offices, factories, and shops downtown, and to […]

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Bring Back Streetcar Living

Minneapolis is a streetcar city. Maybe it’s hard to tell if you mostly experience it by using a freeway to get to downtown, but out on the city’s surface streets, it’s easy to see once you know what you’re looking at. The last streetcar rails were torn up (or just as likely, paved over) in […]

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Get on the Bus

The Riverview Corridor Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) recently dismissed the only transit options that were even slightly logical, and opted to continue forward with studying ways to construct the crowning achievement on a transit system that is backwards and self-defeating. Bill Lindeke recently opined on this site that the proposal is the “best…project in the […]

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The Riverview Transit Study Prioritizes Everything Except Good Transit

The Riverview Corridor study made news last week, after planners revealed the six alternatives that have survived the study’s analysis from which a final recommendation will be chosen. At the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo has a good summary of what remains, and the paper ran a separate article on the absence of light rail from […]

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Some Visions for West Seventh Transit

How do you fit all the public amenities needed for a 21st century city into a 19th century street? Some cities benefited from great forethought, like Salt Lake City, and gave a few extra feet here and there for the public realm. Saint Paul, my hometown, wasn’t as generous. As I have discussed before, I’m […]

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National Links: Strava Data for Bikes, Shut Down the Roads and More

Every day at The Direct Transfer we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list.  At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the DC region.  […]

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Historic Como Park Ped Bridge Restored

The St. Paul Parks Department recently finished the restoration of an historic pedestrian bridge that was used by streetcar passengers to cross the tracks in Como Park. Streetcars connected downtown St. Paul with Como Park in 1891, and turned around at a rambling wood depot. In 1898 the “Como Interurban” was extended to downtown Minneapolis via […]

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Minneapolis is Building the Wrong Streetcar

Imagine your city had miles of publicly-owned, mostly grade-separated right-of-way. A long, linear stretch of land formerly carrying trains through it every day. A “sub-way,” if you will. What would you do with it? Minneapolis has such a place. You all know it as the Midtown Greenway. Between 2000 and 2006, over 5 miles of multi-use trails […]

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