stp: PiPress on Central Corridor

The PiPress put the Central Corridor all over their front page today, with a story about how University Avenue business owners are trying to put the kibosh on the street's oft ballyhooed LRT project. The piece mentions the curmudgeous owner of Midway Books (@ Snelling & Univ.) as well as the publisher of the Asian American Press.

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.
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.

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.


Driver2165 said...

Let's not forget it will go through the U in Minneapolis as well.

I'll never understand how an owner of some bookstore nobody goes to can hang a sign in his window and have more power in this city than all of the residents combined.

Andrew said...

I am sure you guys have heard BRT-standing for Bad Republican Transit right??? Have you guys been to any of the meetings on central? The book store owner is nuts, and angers very quickly. Plus wouldn't a bookstore owner benefit from having more people frequent his place of buisness, or make a ton of money selling it to another developer? I think we will have to wait a while and see, because money changes everything.