Saint Paul Prepares for LRT

There’s a good editorial in the Star Tribune this morning about how the capital city is making serious plans for revitalizing the University Avenue corridor as it gets ready for the light rail transit line running through there that will connect Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Apparently the folks in the City Government are starting to ‘get it’ with regards to improving neighborhoods through less cars:

“In order for the university to attract and retain the faculty and students it wants, the neighborhoods around campus have to be stronger,” said Jennifer Jordan, a Minneapolis city planner. Two keys to that goal are better housing and fewer cars, she said, “and that’s why light rail is so important.”

It’s a move that would make even Kunstler smile. There’s even talk about putting small grocery stores right in at least one of the rail stations. One can only hope that as the central cities figure these things out, that simliar thinking will filter out into the suburbs as well. Imagine that: quality housing, walkable neighborhoods and human-scaled buildings make for a better quality of life, and therefore make city-living more appealing.

I lived in the Highland Park neighborhood of Saint Paul for a few years and loved it. I could walk or bike almost anywhere, and was within a few blocks of several restaurants, a grocery store, library, movie theater, etc. Changing circumstances led to my moving back out to the burbs, but I could see moving back at some point in the future, especially if development trends like this continue.

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2 Responses to Saint Paul Prepares for LRT

  1. Jared says:

    I watched 28 Days Later a few weeks ago, and forgot there are some wonderful shots of still, quiet, dark cities, lacking traffic and people. It felt like where we’ll be in a few decades.

  2. Bart says:

    As gas gets more pricey, the suburbs will likely become less desirable places to live for many people, and while some may opt for smaller towns and/or the country, most will opt to move back into the central core. A reverse ‘donut-hole’ as it were compared to today. Instead of a hollowed-out central city surrounded by more affluent suburbs and the like, you’ll have a resurgent central core surrounded by suburbs that are turning into lower-class housing as those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder are priced out of their current neighborhoods.

    It may very well get to the vision you’re describing some day, but first I think we’ll see a comeback thanks to the New Urbanism movement. Cities offer amenities and the image of successful, professional living that a lot of people will cling to no matter what. Until that ceases to be the case, I think we’ll see the rebound of the big city…

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