Some still prefer a loop for St. Paul light-rail route

Unhappiness about the proposed Central Corridor light-rail route through downtown St. Paul is emerging from several quarters: two churches on Cedar Avenue are complaining that the clattering trains could disrupt weddings and funerals, even cause architectural problems. And Minnesota Public Radio, just down the block, thinks the rail rumblings could affect its transmissions.

Not to mention that access to parking ramps on Cedar will be affected, no matter which side of the street the rails are placed. And they’ll have to tear down the old bank building at Fifth Street. And, the trains still won’t get all the way around to the back of Union Depot.

So how does Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett feel about all the whining? He’s long been an advocate of a loop route around downtown St. Paul. That not only would eliminate the Cedar problems, but it also would actually take riders to places they might like to go, such as the Xcel Energy Center and Science Museum of Minnesota. And it would swing behind the Depot, where Amtrak is expected to return, making it once again the rail hub.

Bennett advocated strongly for the loop, only to be overridden by the Met Council, citing extra costs. (Did they think about all the hidden costs on Cedar, though?)

Bennett now says that he’ll support advocates of the loop route (who are likely to be opponents of Cedar) but won’t take an active role himself.

He said last week that he gave it his best shot and now someone else will have to take the lead. “But I’ll help as best I can,” he said.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Sylvia Markus on 06/30/2008 - 10:53 am.

    With an aging population it makes more sense to have a loop system that will passengers closer to desired locations, like the Excel center or the Capitol. Making them walk several blocks from one central dropoff street defeats the purpose of a “convenient” transportation system.

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