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St. Paul streetcar plan gets public hearing Wednesday

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: July 9, 2014 - 9:10 AM

Earlier this year, the St. Paul Planning Commission approved a motion to let city staff to continue with the Streetcar Feasibility Study and specifically look at how a starter line on East and West 7th Street between Arcade Street and Randolph Avenue might work.  That motion also included the adoption of the long-term network of feasible streetcar routes, which includes plans for up to six other lines.

On Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council will take up the matter and decide whether to keep things moving ahead.

Stakeholders and others will be allowed to address the council during a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd.

For the past year or so, the capital city has looked into the possibility of reviving streetcar service, which for the record ended in 1953. Studies have looked at such factors as projected ridership, potential for economic development, operating and lifecycle costs, and how streetcars would fit in with the existing transit system.

At one time 30 options for streetcar lines were on the table. Those were whittled down to seven. Out of those, the 4.1-mile segment along 7th Street performed best. That would be the first line built, if one is constructed.  The other six that made the cut for the long-term network of potential streetcars include lines on Payne Avenue, Rice Street, Selby and Snelling Avenues, Grand Avenue and Robert Street.

Early estimates put the cost of the Seventh Street line at about $240 to $250 million.

The study is in the final phase and that's why the public will get its chance to weigh in Wednesday.

if approved, streetcars won't be rolling in downtown St. Paul for at least five years, city officials told the Drive back in February when a previous public hearing was held.

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