I’m a big supporter of public transit, and my new job is in a location where I can take public transportation on some of the days that I work. Today I availed myself of the bus, light rail, and train to get myself around and it was all quite pleasant. One of the big struggles of the Twin Cities is the dependence on cars and busses for most transportation. Many years ago there was an extensive streetcar network that connected most of the metro area of the time, and extended even out into some far flung suburbs. The advent of busses (through what many consider underhanded advantages) meant that all of these lines were torn up and paved over to make way for what was considered the future.
Now, as we enter the future we find ourselves trying to strengthen our light rail network and re-build something closer to what we had many decades ago. Much of the younger generation is comfortable with public transportation, at least more so than their parents on average, and so the demand for more transit options has increased. We opened our first light rail line about a decade ago, and last year our second line went into operation. Now there are two other lines starting design and construction, and even more in the planning phase. I’m excited to see rail transit increase in the Twin Cities as it’s a great way to get around, and both the lines that have opened have had a positive impact of the communities that they touch. Ridership is higher than anticipated, and the future looks bright.