Not to disrespect anybody, but these people are either selfish or stupid. And my guess is selfish. University Avenue business owners have been complaining about the University LRT project for as long as it's been talked about, which is almost twenty years at this point, and it's probably mainly beacuse they're worried about getting priced out of an improved University Avenue real estate market. That's self-centered, short-term thinking.
There's no question that the LRT line would radically change the street, but anyone who's ever walked around Frogtown/Midway alone after dark would agree things could get better. As both the PiPress online poll and the Hiawatha ridership show, an LRT train is overwhelmingly supported by the citizens of Saint Paul. The only issue is how soon the city can get federal and state funding, and whether or not the project planners will be able to stave off the folks who want it to be a "Bus Rapid Transit" line.
More from the story:
The draft environmental impact statement projects 32,000 daily rides on light rail when it begins operation in 2008 and 26,500 on the busway.More on this later, but it's safe to say that changing the LRT to BRT would make Saint Paul a second-class city for decades.
Also, the model had to be reworked because it was doing a poor job of accurately predicting ridership when compared with the actual Hiawatha line numbers, said Nacho Diaz, transportation service director for the council. The model is important in calculating a cost-effectiveness ratio that the FTA uses when awarding money.
Diaz said he expects to send all the data to Washington by the end of the year so the council can make a final decision on whether to go with the busway or light rail and then proceed with the final environmental impact statement.