Map: Lessons Learned from Past Transit Investments

2 Oct

Met Council predicts the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region will grow by 824,000 people within the next 30 years as part of its Thrive 2040 plan.

So where are we going to put nearly a million more Minnesotans, especially when you consider most future state highway spending will be dedicated to fixing the existing infrastructure? One plan is to aggressively embark on transit-supportive land use. Meaning better integration of new construction, transit routes and non-motorized ways of getting around.

Before conservatives start with their heavy-handed government arguments, let’s consider this nation’s historical relationship between transportation and development.

Hastings, Red Wing, and Winona were all founded on the Mississippi to accommodate the most efficient transportation of the day, boats. In much of farming Minnesota, towns were spaced along the railroad so that farmers could bring their grain to the elevator and make it home that night. Trains represented another efficient way for grain to be moved across long distances with little energy. As Minneapolis grew, it built an extensive streetcar system to efficiently move people in and out of downtown and between the neighborhoods. Each of these transportation methods leaves a mark on our towns and cities.

Sixty years after the end of the streetcar network, the housing development that mirrors that network makes clear the connection between transportation and housing development. The decisions we make about transit today will have implications for decades to come, so the one chance we have to built should be done right. As Minnesotans age, they need an alternative to single-occupancy vehicle driving. As pollution puts more pressure on our environment and population growth congests our roads, we need 21st century solutions.


This post originally appeared at MN2020.


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