Landscape Architect & Specifier News

AUG 2014

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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102 Landscape Architect and Specifier News I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 4 6 Desiring Streetcars—St. Paul City Council Gives Nod to New Network Top: Historic streetcars still operate in Boston, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia and San Francisco, but streetcars have made a comeback in Charlotte, N.C., Portland, Ore., (photo) and the Seattle-Tacoma area. New streetcar service arrives in Dallas and Washington, D.C., later this year, while Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis aren't far behind. Bottom: Older Minnesotans recall riding streetcars in Minneapolis and St. Paul, part of a 520-mile streetcar grid that ran from Stillwater to Lake Minnetonka before being phased out in the 1950s. PHOTO: MiNNeSOTA HiSTOriCAL SOCieTy Saint Paul, so the story goes, was once known, circa 1840s, as "Pig's Eye," after the name of Pierre Parrant's popular tavern at what today is Lambert's Landing. Saint Paul is a city that not all that long ago had 1,000 steamboats ferrying up and down the Mississippi. Its past still seems close at hand, and its distant past still present in the landscape: six prominent prehistoric Native American burial grounds rising above the banks of the great river. Densely populated, the city is known, at least by tourists, for its confusing street layout, which is generally blamed on topography and the serpentine flow of the river. St. Paul is just getting use to the convenient new Green Line light rail connection between itself and big sister Minneapolis . Now the city fathers are going retro—planning for a citywide network of seven streetcar routes, which would also use rails like the light-rail line, but operate on city streets as part of the traffic mix. Actually, it seem St. Paul is just trying to keep pace with its big sister, as Minneapolis approved its streetcar network four years ago. As one city councilman told the Star Tribune, St. Paul can't afford to be a bedroom community for the job center of Minneapolis and the western suburbs. The initial phase for St. Paul's streetcars is a four-mile stretch, but some in the community think its $250 million price tag is just way too expensive, money that could be much better spent on resurfacing its roads. One city councilman estimated St. Paul could strip and reasphalt all 873 miles of its paved streets for about $48 million. St. Paul is counting on qualifying for up to $75 million in federal funding for the streetcar project. St. Paul's Metropolitan Transit Council, meanwhile, has endorsed plans to start construction this year on its first arterial bus rapid transit (BRT) line, with an estimate price of $25 million.

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