Sunday 24 July 2011

LRT to U of M under construction!

I discovered this weekend that construction of a new rapid transit route to the University of Minnesota is well under way. Hmm .. I probably should have specified "Minnesota" in the title of the post. Oh well, there is nothing I can do about it now.

Ya, so it seems that everywhere I go I get rapid transit envy. Last week I was in Calgary where they are going crazy building a new LRT leg out to the western edge of the city; and this past weekend I headed down to Minneapolis for the U2 concert at the new TCF Bank Stadium, home of the U of M gophers. My trip to the on-campus hotel was complicated by the fact that Washington Ave. was completely torn up. I was able to forgive the slight inconvenience to me when I found out it was for a good cause: building a $957 million rapid transit route to the University and the new $288.5 million football stadium. They don't fuck around down there. They get shit done. That could be part of the reason why Minnesota is running $5 billion deficits, but still ... they get shit done.

by the way ...

Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis is a great place for breakfast / brunch / lunch. They told us it would be a 45 minute wait, but seated us in less than half an hour, and there was a nice waiting area with complimentary coffee, and they gave us a comp. caramel pecan bun for our trouble. The service was fast and friendly ... and wearing pijamas.

The meals themselves were very good. My bison burger with pepper jack cheese was cooked to medium well even though I ordered it as medium, but it was still very good, as were the sweet potato fries. The wife loved her lemon zest pancakes.

So to summarize: worth checking out and not too expensive.

Did you know: Hell's Kitchen is unrelated to Gordon Ramsay or his show of the same name.


One Man Committee said...

The Twin Cities are really making up for lost time with the rapid expansion of their newly established LRT and commuter rail systems. (It should be noted that the first LRT line was spearheaded by former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who pushed it through in the face of considerable political opposition. I'd like to have that kind of leadership here...)

As for MN's deficit problems, it is a bit interesting that it will be compounded with a new state-funded NFL stadium. Anyone who thinks that Manitoba went over the top with the new stadium should look at the excess south of the border - a perfectly functional 29-year old stadium has been replaced by two very pricey new stadiums, with an even bigger and more expensive one on the way (because, of course, two football teams can't share one stadium). I don't quite get how and why the Americans do it the way they do.

Anonymous said...

The Metrodome is not fully functional. There are line-ups to get in, to get out, to buy anything, to go to the washroom. I have a bigger tv in my basement than the jumbotron.

Addtionally it is not structurally sound as it caves in with heavy snow every 5 years or so. Quite honestly, I prefer Winnipeg stadium to the Metrodome.

College football has different needs than the professionals and the Gophers needed to sever ties with the Vikings. Playing off campus was killing the Gophers. TCF will pay itself off with alumni revenue over time, it was also largely paid for by the university and donations.

PS You really mean three stadiums as the Twins moved out to Target Field downtown. Both Target Field and TCF are phenomenal additions to central Minneapolis.

Go to TCF on a game day and see what a campus and surrounding area can be.

One Man Committee said...

@ Anon - Don't get me wrong, the two stadiums (only two have been built - the third is still on the way) are very nice with big jumbotrons, shorter washroom lineups and all that jazz, but I'm not sure I'd consider it worth the $1.7 billion on replacement facilities (all of which were/are state funded to varying degrees) especially when the state is swimming in the red and there is a functional, albeit out of style existing stadium.

People in Minnesota don't seem to be losing any sleep over this and as an occasional visitor to MSP I certainly appreciate the extra entertainment options. But I actually lived there I don't think I'd be terribly crazy about seeing that much public money dumped into redundant sports facilities.

Anonymous said...

@One Man Committee,

I fully understand your comments and think most Minnesotans likely agree with you. The Twins and Gophers were fortunate to get approval prior to the state's finances collapsing. Note the new Viking stadium is proposed for Ramsey County and not Hennepin County- the voters have spoken in Hennepin. We'll see if it flies in Ramsey.

Admittedly, I have a horse in this race, I am a supporter of the University of Minnesota and saw full well that the off-campus parternship failed the university miserably. The Vikings and Twins always had first rights and the Gophers were an afterthought.

One other thing that needs to be noted- the university paid half of the costs (not 1/3 which is what the Twins paid and what the Vikings want) and there is no possibility that the U moves to Los Angeles. The University also offers very cheap tickets to students (many from outside Minneapolis) so there is a little more symapthy for the Gophers using tax dollars.

cherenkov said...

TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field are sunk costs. The only debate to be had right now is whether the Vikings need a new home at a price tag of $870 million or more.

The HHH Metrodome may be old (relatively), but if I'm a tax payer who just saw his state gov't shut down because of budget problems, I don't know if i would support replacing it with a price tag like that.

Anonymous said...

peggers need to realize real big city' build subway's and they really shoul get over their insecurities

its a small city it doesn't need an lrt or brt. just some good ole common sense

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

We need LRT. Bus transit is a waste.

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