Ah, remember the days when you could jump on a streetcar and ride it to your destination? Probably not, since jumping on a moving streetcar only happens in movies; ask the operators in San Francisco. We haven’t had a real streetcar in Minneapolis/St. Paul since 1954 and that is before many of us were born.
Minneapolis is doling out money again for another study to determine if we can get a streetcar in Minneapolis. This is the third time that I am aware of, that they passed out money, like candy, to run a survey in the $1.2 million range. When the estimated cost for the streetcar line is running as high as $67 million per mile when does the insanity stop?
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has insisted over and over that Minneapolis needs this and one of the suggested lines would run from Minneapolis, north on Central Ave into Columbia Heights. By adding Anoka County and Columbia Heights into the mix, Minneapolis has more sources for funding for the project when federal money runs out, which will happen before the project is even complete.
Columbia Heights has an added incentive not to work with Minneapolis on this project: Many citizens in the Heights are discussing a new library and there is discussion on the council to start saving money for this project. We could build six, really nice libraries for the cost of one mile of a streetcar!
It is time to tell Minneapolis, “No, we don’t want your streetcars!” We can’t afford to build them and we can’t afford to maintain them. There will be three times to do this: Sept. 26, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. at Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall; Sept. 26, 5:30–7:30 p.m. at the 5th Precinct Police Station, 3101 Nicollet Ave. S.; and Sept. 27, 5:30–7:30 p.m. at the Eastside Food Co-op, 2551 Central Ave. NE.