Tuesday, April 8

University Avenue "Central Corridor" Light Rail: My Position

I oppose the "Central Corridor" light rail plan that's going through various levels of government right now.

I am not against urban train transit--in fact, I support all other commuter train routes proposed for building by 2030.

But I am against putting commuter trains on University Avenue in St. Paul. I believe that the small, largely minority-run and lower-middle-class-run businesses depend not only on the high traffic of University (which would stay with light rail, of course), but also on every bus being within a block of a bus stop.

In the best-case scenario, trains would only stop every 4 or 5 blocks. What few buses are left would only come by every 40 or more minutes.

Although upper-middle-class owners of new businesses on University could be profit by simply renting property close to train stops, minority and currently-low-income business owners will be priced out of property close to train stops and will not have enough customers to remain open in between train stops.

Since business ownership is tied for best way to accumulate wealth (another common one being born into a family line that was allowed to buy suburban homes in the 1940's-1970's), I strongly oppose putting trains on this street.

Since University Avenue is already highly developed in terms of the number of successful, worthwhile businesses on it, I believe that arguments claiming that trains would "develop" University Avenue are false. Trains would only shift the "prior wealth" business owners on the street have. They would not develop the street.

I believe that despite how much planning has gone into putting trains on this street, the whole plan should be scrapped.

If legislators and planners want to start over with a different route, like the middle of Interstate 94, that's fine with me.

But I want them to halt light-rail-building along University.

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