Skip to main content

Metro streetcar proposals gain momentum

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Proposals to bring nostalgia-evoking streetcars back to St. Paul and Minneapolis are driving forward.

St. Paul studied the issue for a year and this week officials narrowed a list of potential routes to one – a line along 7th Street that would wind through downtown and link the city's East Side and West End, the Star Tribune reports.

That 4.1-mile route from Randolph Avenue to Arcade Street, which would cost an estimated $246 million, would see the biggest benefits in terms of ridership, development potential and cost, officials say.

City planners say the next step is to explore what the public thinks about the project. Open house events are being planned and a public hearing is likely in January, the Star Tribune reports.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee on Tuesday OK'd an environmental review and “pre-project development activities” on the proposed $200 million, 3.4-mile Nicollet Avenue streetcar line, the Star Tribune reports.

A Council panel in September backed streetcars on the line over bus improvements because of the potential to spur economic development.

Here's more info about the Nicollet-Central Transit Alternatives Project.

Critics argue that streetcars are too expensive, much pricier than buses, and many would prefer funneling the money to road repair. Construction of streetcar lines can create long months of traffic hassles.

But metro officials who advocate streetcars say they are great for moving people inside urban corridors, and for driving the economic development that often follows the lines.

Seattle and Portland are among the cities that have developed streetcars. At least a dozen cities are planning to develop new lines, including Atlanta, New Orleans and Los Angeles, Forbes reported this summer.

St. Paul Councilman Russ Stark in this five-minute video about St. Paul's development of the project makes the case that more people are looking to move back into cities and are looking for new ways to get around.

Next Up


2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.29.58 AM

Extremely drunk driver arrested in Chaska

The driver was more than four times the legal limit.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 8.21.21 AM

Stillwater police looking for suspect who stole vehicle with 1-year-old inside

The suspect abandoned the vehicle with the child still inside just 5 minutes after the theft.

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 5.01.34 PM

Suspected Bloomington restaurant killer arrested in Oklahoma

The 47-year-old Texas man was arrested around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

Screen Shot 2022-11-24 at 9.16.39 AM

Minnetonka woman, 23, ID'd as victim killed in Minneapolis crash

The fatal crash happened near the Minneapolis Convention Center on Nov. 21.


More than 100 geese, ducks found dead on partially frozen MN lake

The discovery was made in Waseca at the weekend.


After losing sponsor, advocates fear Minneapolis' Nice Ride could shut down

They are calling on the city to provide financial support till a new sponsor is found.