Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reconnecting the Twin Cities

The Central Corridor Line has been on the planning stages for over 30 years now. The train that would connect downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis and run through the heart of neighborhoods is a regional game changer. We need better transit in the Twin Cities, but the road blocks for the central corridor have been many and often. Currently, three separate lawsuits threaten the project and meeting the federal deadlines to secure the $500 million. Issues such as route, alignment, and noise vibrations seems to be a never ending discussion. We have no mitigation plan for the 1,000 business that are going to loose 85% of on-street parking and see 30-50% revenue drops during construction.

The line is still right in my opinion, but it seems that the Met Council might have gone about engagement in the wrong ways:

Even in Minneapolis, the Hiawatha project produced no fewer than eight lawsuits. None succeeded in delaying or halting the project. But to say that every transit project spurs a flurry of lawsuits just isn't true.

There's an art to bringing together different factions, said business consultant and light rail advocate Bill Knowles of Salt Lake City, which built two light-rail lines over the past 11 years and now has three more lines under construction. Knowles said after the first light-rail project, which disrupted some downtown businesses, the process for building future lines got easier, not harder.

He said what he's heard about Central Corridor make him think something has gone off track.

"I'm just totally amazed," Knowles said. "When an entity like a university has to sue, it really speaks to lousy communication, doesn't it? The fact there's lawsuits, and the fact that there's still these people who are rounding themselves up individually tells me there's apparently not anybody big enough who is in control of that situation. And consequently, people are flying off on their own deals."

Is the Central Corridor line our modern day urban renewal or is a project this large going to break some eggs regardless? It seems that too many issues are still unresolved, but the rush to get federal funding always makes other stakeholders issues secondary at best.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"We have no mitigation plan for the 1,000 business that are going to loose 85% of on-street parking and see 30-50% revenue drops during construction."

The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce along with its partners has has introduced a parking plan for the current construction in downtown St. Paul. Twitter @SpotForBusiness you can also check the link below. more comprehensive plans are being developed for other areas along the University Corridor that will alleviate the anticipated parking problems there as well. http://www.saintpaulchamber.com/cwt/external/wcpages/index.aspx