Making Green Line history: ‘This is really smooth, really user-friendly’

A steady drizzle couldn’t keep thousands of people from making history as first-time riders of the Green Line Saturday. As the train kept a-rolling, MinnPost caught up with a few:

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Heather Houston, St. Paul. “It’s awesome. Long overdue. I lived in Europe for a while and I travel a lot, and every modern city has a train system like this. I can’t believe it’s taken so long for them to do this, but I’m glad they did. I’m a ref for Minnesota Roller Girls, and I bet I use it to go to games a lot. I live in Midway, and the stop is a block from my house.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Laura, Tomas, and Jeff Florence, St. Louis Park. “We have friends in town from Colombia, and this is a perfect way to show them the Cities,” said Jeff. “I ride the bus to work in downtown Minneapolis every day, so I’m looking forward to the Southwest Line when it goes in. But this is really smooth, really user-friendly. This whole corridor will be transformed. I just remember University Avenue was a place that didn’t have much to offer, and in 100 years you won’t recognize it. All sorts of development will happen around it.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Margarite Nelson and Bonnie Conroy, Minneapolis. “We live in the same condo, and this has been wonderful. Metro Transit has been really organized,” said Nelson. “We’ve had a wonderful day. I couldn’t be more impressed. We’ve been riding it since 10 a.m. We started out at Old Apache at 8:30, took the bus downtown, took the Blue Line to Target Field, then we got on the Green Line, collected all our buttons and filled our bags with free stuff from opening day. We’ve got bags of bananas, corn on the cob, pasta, carrots, bread. We feel like old people who go places for free stuff. We didn’t even plan it!”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Ashley Chester and Alicia Beeler, Minneapolis. “I think it’s pretty neat,” said Chester. “I’ll use it to get to the farmers market and any activities in St. Paul. It’s perfect because I live in North Minneapolis and now I can just go straight to St. Paul. It’s a great convenience because you don’t have to worry about gas or parking or anything at all. Plus, it’s fun. That’s mainly why we’re here: fun!”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Ronnie Tawmbe, Minneapolis. “I’m from Belgium, and this reminds me of Brussels, where everything is connected, and the [train] cars are crowded with people going everywhere.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Steve, Jeanelle, Kaitlyn, and Josiah Kummer, North St. Paul. “I work for the Department of Natural Resources in downtown St. Paul, and I think I’ll use it to go to area restaurants over lunch time. My kids love trains, so we’ll be frequent visitors,” said Steve. “This makes the Twin Cities feel grown-up, and it’s about time. I’m from White Bear Lake, and they’re talking about a line going through White Bear Lake. They’ve already got a track there, there used to be a train there, so …”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Glen and Karen Bellefuil, Minneapolis. “It’s wonderful,” said Glen. “We use transit all the time. We live in Kenwood, and we use Amtrak all the time. This way you can look out the window and really see the sights. We’ve traveled all over the world and used the metro trains in Japan, France, Spain, Italy, and all these wonderful train systems, and didn’t drive anywhere, and with a train, you can do it comfort. There’s all sorts of leg room and side room.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Dan and Miriam Nash, Bloomington. “I rode the bus from Bloomington to St. Paul for 26 years for my job, and that was slow-going,” said Miriam. “I wish they had this 10 years ago.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Candace Falk, Eve Borenstein, and Ricky McMillan, Minneapolis. “My office is close to the Prospect Park stop, and we live in Linden Hills so I’ll probably use some kind of bike-Green Line combo,” said Falk. “We’re hoping to promote it at my work, Grass Roots Solutions, by putting up a map of the line and marking out where our clients are and then have passes available for people and say something like, ‘Oh, if you’re going down to the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits, just take the train.’”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Kristin Chepp and Tien Tang, Minneapolis. “I’m a student at the U and I’ll be using it to go from my place in Stadium Village to downtown St. Paul because I have an internship with the Ramsey County Attorney’s office,” said Chepp. “I’ve been taking the bus, and I’m so excited because it takes over an hour to get home after my internship and this will take half the time.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Julia O’Brien, Nan Soohoo, Rosemary Butler, Minneapolis. “I work in Minneapolis, and it’s so easy to get to,” said Soohoo. “I’ll park in my ramp and jump on and I’ll use it to go to all the good Asian restaurants in St. Paul. I was in Toronto recently, and all types of people – professionals and working class – take the subways and light rail and I hope to see that here.”

“University’s been closed for three years or so, so it’ll be fun to go back there,” said O’Brien. “I travel a lot, and I always appreciate going to other countries where subway is the main mode of transportation. I prefer it.”

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 06/16/2014 - 04:50 pm.

    Green Line

    They should have caught up with me to chat–I would have given them a bit of an earful. I thought the trains were great, but the staff kept the public hanging out in the rain while the Union Station platform and trains were largely empty.

    I heard there were going to be some people protesting near Dale St. and chug-a-lugging a lot of tea, but I didn’t see them anywhere.

    On the plus side, there were a heck of a lot of cranes along the route putting up new buildings. I’m sure we’ll get the usual suspects complaining that it’s a boondoggle or 19th century technology, but the line looks pretty good to me.

  2. Submitted by Mike Worcester on 06/16/2014 - 11:25 pm.

    Let’s Returen In A Year

    and see how the ridership is holding up and the running times are holding up and see how that compares to the estimates developed before the opening of the line.

    The Hiawatha/Blue Line exceeded ridership by significant amounts (http://hizeph400.blogspot.com/2011/01/hiawatha-leads-metro-transit-to-record.html) though Northstar did not.

    So let’s return on June 15, 2015, and see how it looks, shall we?

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