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ironchapman

Visions for Minneapolis-St. Paul

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First, I'd get freakin' Lightrail connecting Minneapolis to St. Paul. And get another line out along 394. And the North Star line, of course, up to St. Cloud.

Then, I'd give St. Paul a few more funky highrises and make downtown more energetic. Maybe not the same way as Minneapolis, but at least have it not feel like a ghost town at 5:01 pm.

For Minneapolis, I'd like to design an avant garde type highrise/space needle-ish type thing with an observation deck, restaurant and bar at the top.

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here are my top 3:

#1 I would give Minneapolis an architectual icon which would help identify the city/skyline. It needs to be something so big and unique that it gives the city an identity and becomes a tourist attration.

Seattle has the space needle, St. Louis, the gateway, sanFrancisco has the Golden gate and TransAmerica building, Montreal has the olympic stadium etc etc.

I thought the scafolding for the Washington monument was a great idea....too bad it fell through.

#2 Light rail, lightrail and more light rail. Every great city has convenient rail service. Forget doing 394 route. To be really useful, the light rail needs to run along real streets so that it encourages new developement along the line which helps fuel its success. Highway routes only encourage people to park and ride. Besides...let's serve the most densly populated areas first.

#3 If we build the Twins, Gopher and Vikings stadiums we could keep the dome and then we should host the olympics. With the Target Center, Williams Arena and the Xcel it is hard to believe we would need to build many more facilities.

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here are my top 3:

#1 I would give Minneapolis an architectual icon which would help identify the city/skyline. It needs to be something so big and unique that it gives the city an identity and becomes a tourist attration.

Seattle has the space needle, St. Louis, the gateway, sanFrancisco has the Golden gate and TransAmerica building, Montreal has the olympic stadium etc etc.

I thought the scafolding for the Washington monument was a great idea....too bad it fell through.

#2 Light rail, lightrail and more light rail. Every great city has convenient rail service. Forget doing 394 route. To be really useful, the light rail needs to run along real streets so that it encourages new developement along the line which helps fuel its success. Highway routes only encourage people to park and ride. Besides...let's serve the most densly populated areas first.

#3 If we build the Twins, Gopher and Vikings stadiums we could keep the dome and then we should host the olympics. With the Target Center, Williams Arena and the Xcel it is hard to believe we would need to build many more facilities.

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I been to Saint Paul many times and i gotta say for a city of that size and many people, Down town Saint Paul isn't very crowded with pedastrians. It's no where close as a lively street packed with people like Michigan Ave in Chicago and Broadway in NYC.

I think more attractions in downtown Saint paul and more High rise apartments would bring crowds.

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#1 Eliminate all surface lots in Downtown, Minneapolis, especially on East Side (happening eventually anyway with conversions to condos/grocery stores)

#2 Create transit terminals on the periphery of the downtown area. Move all buses coming from suburban areas to these terminals.

#3 Create downtown shuttle/streetcar network to move people within Downtown.

#4 Create a number of pedestrian-only streets.

#5 Place service necessary for downtown residents on these pedestrian-only streets, such as grocery stores (not supermarkets), fruit stands, bakeries, little shops, etc...

#6 Place at least two state-run magnet schools in the downtown area. One of the main things keeping the downtown stale is the that middle income people with families cannot live there due to the absence of decent schools. Surround said schools with middle-income housing and a ring of necessary services.

#7 Once this is completed and the downtown population is in excess of 70,000, I would begin closing many of the existing streets to car traffic. Those that remain will have fewer lanes. Also, lanes will be narrowed to slow car traffic. Instead of a 50% margin for fit in car lanes, it will be closer to 15%. This will open the option of wider sidewalks, streetscape redevelopment, etc.

#8 Light all residential areas. All streets should have good lighting, period. This will make people feel safer in the city.

#9. Once the population of the downtown is over 120,000, cover I-94 (convert to tunnel) and expand downtown southwards towards uptown.

#10 Assuming the population of uptown is rising in parallel, build a subway line out from downtown through uptown along Hennepin Ave corridor. The population density is not sufficient now, but it will be then.

At least, that'd be what I'd try if I were in power.

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Elevate LRT...Has anyone been down Hiawatha? It's a joke. Especially during rush hour. See what happens when you do things cheap. If they plan on increasing LRT lines then it needs to happen. Can you imagine going driving down University with LRT at street level? Not to mention the effect on downtown traffic.

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Elevate LRT...Has anyone been down Hiawatha?  It's a joke.  Especially during rush hour.  See what happens when you do things cheap.  If they plan on increasing LRT lines then it needs to happen.  Can you imagine going driving down University with LRT at street level?  Not to mention the effect on downtown traffic.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is excatly why I mentioned the thought of monorail as a viable option. We all know how crazy University Ave is, try tearing it up for 3-4 years and then the chaos of traffic light timing to accomodate the new trains for the light rail. It's just make University Ave the worst place on earth to drive.

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With the weather being what it is here, it makes more sense to go underground than to elevate.

As for elevating the system, that would add additional benefits. It would no longer be "light rail" as the "light" designation only means that it crosses streets. An elevated system would mean that the system could be automated, saving operating costs by an estimated 25% by cutting labor expenses.

That would reduce the operating subsidy to only 30% or so...

Don't expect an elevated system to happen, however. As they plan to use the same model of LRT vehicle, such as to simplify maintenance, they will not be elevating the Central Corridor.

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With the weather being what it is here, it makes more sense to go underground than to elevate.

As for elevating the system, that would add additional benefits.  It would no longer be "light rail" as the "light" designation only means that it crosses streets.  An elevated system would mean that the system could be automated, saving operating costs by an estimated 25% by cutting labor expenses.

That would reduce the operating subsidy to only 30% or so...

Don't expect an elevated system to happen, however.  As they plan to use the same model of LRT vehicle, such as to simplify maintenance, they will not be elevating the Central Corridor.

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Disappointing...I'm just imagining a traffic nightmare. I've abandoned Hiawatha which was my ideal route to the airport...(I know, I SHOULD be taking LRT to MSP, just can't get myself to walk the 3 blocks! ;-) )

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Disappointing...I'm just imagining a traffic nightmare.  I've abandoned Hiawatha which was my ideal route to the airport...(I know, I SHOULD be taking LRT to MSP, just can't get myself to walk the 3 blocks! ;-)  )

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If walking 3 blocks is the problem, than I see more problems than one...

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Elevate LRT...Has anyone been down Hiawatha?  It's a joke.  Especially during rush hour.  See what happens when you do things cheap.  If they plan on increasing LRT lines then it needs to happen.  Can you imagine going driving down University with LRT at street level?  Not to mention the effect on downtown traffic.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The problem with Hiawatha is not the LRT but the design of Hiawatha itself. It was originally going to be a full-fledged highway, but the park board and neighborhood fought it and it ended up loosing federal funding. As a result, it now has cross traffic. In addition, it has put a lot more capacity on to 35W -- making it more congested. Imagine how much better traffic would flow if we actually had 2 highways coming in from the South.

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The problem with Hiawatha is not the LRT but the design of Hiawatha itself.  It was originally going to be a full-fledged highway, but the park board and neighborhood fought it and it ended up loosing federal funding. As a result, it now has cross traffic.  In addition, it has put a lot more capacity on to 35W -- making it more congested.  Imagine how much better traffic would flow if we actually had 2 highways coming in from the South.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It would have been nice to have two highways in and out of the city form the south. I'm a block away from Hiawatha ramp from downtown and whenever I go to the airport I always get succered into taking it since it's so close, but my the third stop light I'm typically regretting it. some of the stop lights are red every direction ever the light rail all at once for like 30 seconds). Taking the long way with 35W and 62 if faster, but who wants to go an extra 6 miles whn gas is $2.95

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If it were a real highway, it would really improve traffic flow into downtown. There would be so much less stress put onto 35W.

As long as we talking Vision...

it would have been nice to alighn35W so it did not jog into cross-town in the first place.

Also, If Hiawatha were a freeway, it would have been nice to have it hook up directly with hwy 77. The fact that 77 just stops at lake Nokomis (as a highway) is crazy --but i understand why they opted not to build a highway across the lake.

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Mwahahaha.... if I had that much power????

1. Middle income housing - although if they keep building we may have that in a couple of years.

2. Make the Nicollet Mall less slippery in the winter.

3. Casino/hotel where the McDonald's used to be on 4th and Nicollet.

4. A mayor that actually visits my daughter's school (IDDS on 10th and Hennepin) once.

5. Wendy's and KFC anywhere downtown.

6. More interesting little shops vs. giant chain stores.

7. Fighting Clear Channel from taking over and pushing places like First Avenue out.

8. Rooftop driving range/miniature golf somewhere.

9. Blue Man Group all set in a venue (they draw and it's hilarious) downtown.

10. To be able to stay here somehow.

If one of these things ever happens I'd do a happy dance. B)

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Well, you asked for fantasies right?

No more crony appointments of real estate appraisers, owners of lumber companies, members of the Center for the American Experiment and housing developers to the Metropolitan Council. Currently it's like the foxes guarding the hen house!

Stop the subsidies to exurban growth. Reign in the MUSA line.

Like others: Expand Light Rail into a true system. Integrate it with regional commuter rail and connect the four major satellite cities of Eau Claire, Rochester, St. Cloud and Mankato into the system. But make them non-stops between the cities.

Fund improvements to the central infrastructure!

In the downtowns, lower rents to small ground-floor locally-owned retail balanced with rents from floors higher up.

A festival center that could house rotating long-term sets of tourist draws like Cirque du Soleil or, as mentioned, Blue Man Group.

Symbols are powerful. Few people have a clear mental picture of the Twin Cities around the world. True, we have internationally-acclaimed institutions but we lack a physical symbol for people to easily remember. I know this sounds like 1970's boosterism but instead of building just another tower what about creating an enormous, permanent work of art that reflects the culture such as...

A. What if there is a spectacular light-based artwork visible for miles that connects the two downtowns?

B. How about a monumental steam/water sculpture for the City of Lakes?

C. How about the world's largest fountain in the middle of Calhoun?

D. How about restoring St. Anthony Falls to it's 1820 appearance?

E. If we have to do a tower, why not make it mean something? Like siting it on the 45th parallel, aiming a blazing beacon at Polaris and calling it the "Star of the North" tower, or re-creating a gigantic updated version of the old weatherball, or building a 2,010 foot "century" tower in 2010 and adding a mobile spire that grows one foot taller per year? :D

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E. If we have to do a tower, why not make it mean something? Like siting it on the 45th parallel, aiming a blazing beacon at Polaris and calling it the "Star of the North" tower, or re-creating a gigantic updated version of the old weatherball, or building a 2,010 foot "century" tower in 2010 and adding a mobile spire that grows one foot taller per year? :D

:lol: Those are all good. I think two side-by-side 1,000 foot tall cylinders of Mill flour and Mississippi River water, would be dramatic and quite representational of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Tourists could get samples from each tower and make Twin City glue!

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Well, you asked for fantasies right?

A. What if there is a spectacular light-based artwork visible for miles that connects the two downtowns?

Great idea. I'm surprised no one has already done this...

- Garris

Providence, RI

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