July 01 2013

The Revival of the Streetcar System in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Long before mass produced automobiles paved the way for interstates, the streetcar system was the dominant mode of transportation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In an effort to revive this old mode of public transportation, several studies have been conducted, resulting in the Minneapolis Streetcar Feasibility Study Final Report. This report identified potential corridors for a long-term streetcar network to be implemented in the course of the next 20 – 50 years.  A second study, called the Minneapolis Streetcar Funding Study Final Report, identified several federal and local funding opportunities.

Old Streetcar Minneapolis

Current urban planning efforts include the Nicollet – Central Transit Alternatives Study, which will determine the benefits, costs, and impacts of implementing a variety of transit modes and service types, including streetcar and enhanced bus options or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), in order to identify a locally preferred alternative for the Metropolitan Council’s 2030 Transportation Policy Plan. The Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis will also determine benefits, costs and impacts of implementing light rail, streetcar, busway, or BRT along two major city arterials near the Midtown Global Market.

Whether it is a new fad or a permanent solution, the streetcar provides numerous benefits as opposed to the BRT or light rail.  Some of the benefits include increased economic activity, reduction in gas emissions, and being a tourist attraction, making this transit mode more sustainable. And while the streetcar requires more funding than a BRT, it would be a permanent solution as opposed to a bus line. However, the required infrastructure would also makes the streetcar less flexible in changing routes when compared to buses.

Taking into consideration the positives and negatives of the said types of transit services, which one is most feasible? What benefits has the streetcar system generated in your city?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Jasna Hadzic

Born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but having spent most of her adult life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.; Jasna Hadzic has been greatly influenced by both cultures, most specifically in terms of architecture, planning, and design. The transition of living in a small European pedestrian-oriented city to a large and vehicle-oriented American city greatly influenced her interest in the field of planning. She came to appreciate the vibrant, culturally diverse and faster-pace of life, while also looking toward her native city as a paradigm of sustainable living with traditional architecture, multi-modal transportation systems, and pedestrian-friendly spaces and streets. A recent Master’s graduate in Community and Regional Planning and G.I.S from Iowa State University, Jasna’s Thesis focused on the analysis of the built environment and demographic factors that influence physical activity, while examining street connectivity and infrastructure. In addition, Jasna holds a B.E.D. in Environmental Design, with a minor in Urban Studies, from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Her most recent work experience as a Planning Research Assistant at the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, as well as volunteer work with the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has exposed her to new city projects, as well as community engagement. Her career goal is to not only work directly on sustainable urban design projects, but to also ensure equitable and sustainable planning practices.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 1st, 2013 at 9:45 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “The Revival of the Streetcar System in Minneapolis, Minnesota”

  1. Farewell From Jasna Hadzic and Minneapolis, Minnesota | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    […] Minneapolis, Minnesota through posts dealing with Creative CityMaking, Urban Farming, City Parks, Sustainable Transportation, and many more. As a result, I have enjoyed the process of creative writing via urban planning and […]

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