Rail Bridge as a Catalyst for University 2.0

by Prescott Morrill | Feb 20, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

University Avenue, the Greenline, and the light industrial area around Hwys 94/280. It's a recipe for change. Part of that change is the Short Line Bridge, or the Milwaukee Road Mississippi River Crossing; currently an unused rail bridge, and the future extension of the Midtown Greenway.

With the light rail imminent, and the resultant change in land-use to more commercial/denser residential, an additional connection for active transportation would be extremely complimentary to development. Minneapolis continues to build-out an extensive bike network, and I believe St. Paul is right there with them. This critical piece of network connection strengthens development on the Greenway, and would help build momentum for development along the Greenline in St. Paul through the benefits of a more connected, multi-modal network that will serve the future land-use in the area. Things are already changing, development is already happening, and is bridge can help strengthen the connection between Minneapolis and St. Paul. As an example, of these network effects, when the extension of the Cedar Lake Trail into downtown was completed a few years ago, bike commuting further down the existing trail in St. Louis Park saw an increase in ridership of over 200%.

St. Paul can benefit from this, the bridge is already there, connected by grade to the Greenway, and just waiting for a connection to the East River Parkway, Desnoyer Park, the Greenline on University Ave, and beyond.

Right-of-way acquisition will be an obstacle (as it has been in the past), but this Idea Open does not exist to recognize impediments, but rather to exploit wonderful opportunities.

About You

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About You

First Name

Prescott

Last Name

Morrill

City

Minneapolis

County

Hennepin

Country

United States, MN

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Soren Jensen, Robert Lilligren, Emma Pachuta (St. Paul Smart Trips)

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Trough work with Transit for Livable Communities

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Rail Bridge as a Catalyst for University 2.0

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

University Avenue, the Greenline, and the light industrial area around Hwys 94/280. It's a recipe for change. Part of that change is the Short Line Bridge, or the Milwaukee Road Mississippi River Crossing; currently an unused rail bridge, and the future extension of the Midtown Greenway.
With the light rail imminent, and the resultant change in land-use to more commercial/denser residential, an additional connection for active transportation would be extremely complimentary to development. Minneapolis continues to build-out an extensive bike network, and I believe St. Paul is right there with them. This critical piece of network connection strengthens development on the Greenway, and would help build momentum for development along the Greenline in St. Paul through the benefits of a more connected, multi-modal network that will serve the future land-use in the area. Things are already changing, development is already happening, and is bridge can help strengthen the connection between Minneapolis and St. Paul. As an example, of these network effects, when the extension of the Cedar Lake Trail into downtown was completed a few years ago, bike commuting further down the existing trail in St. Louis Park saw an increase in ridership of over 200%.
St. Paul can benefit from this, the bridge is already there, connected by grade to the Greenway, and just waiting for a connection to the East River Parkway, Desnoyer Park, the Greenline on University Ave, and beyond.
Right-of-way acquisition will be an obstacle (as it has been in the past), but this Idea Open does not exist to recognize impediments, but rather to exploit wonderful opportunities.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

It's a connective piece that is not being considered. St. Paul is a great city, and this effort will make it more so. But, no city is an island. Every great place has a context, and this context is the Twin Cities. There are hundreds of opportunities to exploit a positive symbiosis that almost no other metropolitan area in the country have. This idea taps into one of those opportunities.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

The area around Hwy 280 and University is going to change. This connection to the Greenway can help catalyze that change, and set the future development on a trajectory that values not just public transportation via the Greenline Light Rail, but also active transportation, walkability, and better access to more places in our Twin Cities. In effect, it has the potential to set a tone for future development.

Furthermore, there is already support from both sides (see attached). In the past, it was just a "St. Paul Greenway", a copy of the Minneapolis project. Right now, in this context, it can be so much more! Unlike pop-up shops or community programming, infrastructure is a physical implement that has very long-lasting potential.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

It will be used by hundreds of people every day. Sometimes, the best ideas are the most simple, and sometimes the hardest thing to recognize is that which is most obvious.

So many cities and towns around the state and around the country are looking for innovative ways to use/reuse/repurpose infrastructure that has history (usually industrial/manufacturing) and has potential.

This is already happening in other communities through programs like the Rails to Trails Conservancy, and this can be a fantastic demonstration piece for adaptive re-use. I realize that the rail line may have plans to use it again in the future, but it will need retrofits and upgrades. This can happen now, and it doesn't negate other future use.

Neah Casimero said: There could be a lot of things that they could discuss through this and it's only a matter of will and participation. - Lindsay Rosenwald about this Competition Entry. - 2611 days ago read more >

Prescott Morrill updated this Competition Entry. - 2839 days ago

Prescott Morrill submitted this idea. - 2839 days ago