It’s been a long road, but after about 3 years of study and nearly 100 public hearings, the Riverview Corridor Policy Advisory Committee has voted in favor of linking downtown St. Paul with the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport via streetcar service.
It’s been more than 60 years since streetcars were up-and-running in the Twin Cities, but it now appears as if “modern” streetcar service is making a much-needed comeback to the St. Paul area.
In short, the modern streetcar is similar to a light rail, but only involves one car and operates in traffic. And as the cars move south, they’ll eventually connect with the already existing tracks for the Blue Line Light Rail trains beginning at the Fort Snelling stop.
According to the release, the Riverview Corridor streetcar route will mostly run along W. 7th Street, ultimately connecting Union Depot with the airport and Mall of America.
In total, the project is estimated to cost anywhere from $1.4 billion to $2 billion, and will undoubtedly be complicated to build. Along with a new bridge, there will also need to be a tunnel that burrows under the Historic Fort Snelling property as well. And while some concerns regarding pedestrian safety and construction impact to existing businesses certainly exist, city planners say new transit options are much-needed as congestion grows and younger generations continue to look for transportation alternatives.