Friday, April 25, 2008

From the Minnesota public radio website:

St. Paul, Minn. — Objections from university officials influenced Pawlenty's decision to axe $70 million for the Central Corridor project from the bonding bill earlier this month. The line would link Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Have it your way, Bob?

The public good?

Ambitious aspirations?

I have heard no one who knows anything about urban planning - including faculty and staff at the university - say anything bad about a pedestrian mall / light rail on Washington Avenue. We did hear a regent - with strong attachment to the hospital industry - complaining that this would be a dagger to the heart of the university. As an informed Daily letter writer pointed out, this is melodrama.

And the figures of hundreds of millions of dollars lost by the hospitals if this goes through are laughable. Did you make these up? Or did you pay yet another consultant to provide them? From Atlanta? You are getting about three hundred million dollars from the public trough for four new biomedical research buildings. Move anything you need to those new buildings.

You spent ten million dollars this year for a new scoreboard that will be used six times a year and yet you couldn't cover moving expenses estimated by you to be "millions of dollars"?

You just hired two, count 'em two, new faculty members that will cost the U, over the next ten years, five million dollars. Of course that assumes that they never get a pay raise or survive the current scandal - probably not good bets...

(There is also this little pot of money - in the billions - in something called an endowment, you do know about it?)

You mean to tell me that the majority of hospital patients couldn't make it to the U via light rail? Or using the Huron exit off 94? And the trauma center placed across the River. The new (and unnecessary) Children's Hospital is already going to be placed across the River.

The current traffic situation at U hospitals is such a disaster that some sadist must have devised it. It funnels into a two lane street with four-way stop signs monitoring the traffic.

It is FUN to sit in traffic at a four way stop sign intersection and try to get through the waves of students who also need to cross the intersection on foot. By the time you get to the hospital you need about an hour before your blood pressure can be properly monitored.

That right or left turn onto Harvard from Washington Avenue is another true nightmare. Harvard is of course the street on which the front entrance to U Hospitals is located. Or the left turn off Washington onto Church St. - now there is an exciting turn to make. If you are unfortunate enough not to get the green arrow you have to balance getting broadsided by a bus with running over students. Is this situation really preferable to light rail and a pedestian mall? I don't think so.

I regularly run into elderly couples lost in some dark hallway, trying to find their way out or into University Hospitals. Or the banditos who will park your car in some far off lot because of the incredibly poor parking situation.

I am amazed that any sane person who actually works at the University would claim that somehow light rail and a pedestrian mall could make the situation worse at U Hospitals.

Where are your priorities?

Oh, I forgot, being one of the top three public universities in the universe...


Added from today's Daily (good work Daily!):

The most significant increase for Metro Transit was related to the light rail. The number of riders on the Hiawatha line was more than 2 million for the first time. The line has completely outperformed expectations, and this only provides more evidence that the light rail can attract riders who won't use buses.

The numbers also make Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of Central Corridor funding all the more embarrassing. There's no reason to believe that gas prices will decrease even to the levels of the late '90s, and all the construction projects in the world can't prevent roads from becoming congested (see Los Angeles).

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