Saint Paul Officials Share Plans for Streetcar Network
Five years from now, the City of Saint Paul could have its first new streetcar line, and city officials have decided on possible routes.
But the controversial project will be pricey. City Planner Michelle Beaulieu explained that each line would cost $200 million to $300 million to construct. With seven lines planned on Selby Avenue, Snelling Avenue, Grand Avenue, Rice Street, Payne Avenue, East and West 7th Streets, and Robert Streets, that could total as much as $2.1 billion. Beaulieu also says the source of funding has not yet been determined. She adds, "It's a substantial investment but it's good for the city and good for the businesses along the corridor."
However, not everyone agrees. Saint Paul resident Molly Varley echoed other concerned neighbors saying, " I just think it would be so disruptive and such a huge cost." James Morris said, "It's a waste of money. It's just another thing we have to pay for.
But Beaulieu said of the findings of a $250,000 largely privately funded year-long study, "the study that we are doing right now showed that street cars have the potential to improve transit service along neighborhoods and also catalyze economic development along the corridor."
Once construction starts, it could last 10 to 15 years, according to Beaulieu. The first line could be completed by 2018. But before that, there will be another 1-2 year study, then engineers will begin assessing and planning. City officials are also gathering feedback on their website, and at two open houses at the Rondo Community Outreach Library on August 28.