by Greg Struve
In the recent Policy Advisory Committee meeting and subsequent public presentations, the Riverview Corridor Plan has gone from bad to worse. In determining that the existing tunnel on Highway 5, under Fort Snelling, is the only route available, either one or two tracks will be added to the tunnel. This tunnel is now a four lane 50 mph (at minimum) busy roadway connecting St. Paul to the airport, the Mall of America, and the prosperous southwest metro.
Required lower speed limits and additional signals to allow safe passage of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) streetcars will reduce capacity of this important St. Paul access to a crawl. It is also time to expose the “Big Lie.” The “Modern Streetcar” is actually an LRT system that shares stations with the Blue Line and Green Line at both ends of the alignment. The name “LRT” was vehemently opposed on West 7th way back in 2013, so the name was changed to be more acceptable.
An LRT “Streetcar” will also require LRT stations of more than 180 feet in length and station frequency of only every half mile. The vision of streetcar access at every existing bus stop or street corner is another myth, or perhaps a memory of times gone by. An LRT Streetcar on West 7th, without dedicated Right-of-Way (LRT use only), is proposed to mix in with existing traffic. This is the worst possible scenario in good weather, let alone during Minnesota winters. One delivery truck, stopped on the LRT track, can cause total disruption of all traffic.
The current Riverview Corridor Plan has managed to combine the worst parts of the existing Green and Blue Lines and is jamming them onto West 7th Street and through the Highway 5 Tunnel. The Riverview Corridor Project should be stopped dead in its tracks, sent back to 2013 and restarted with new alternatives that will work in 2021 and beyond.
Greg Struve is a member of Citizen Advocates for Regional Transit (CART).
by Greg Struve