Thursday, March 09, 2006

Maglev Trains + University of Minnesota = Bye Bye Campus Connectors

Way back in October, I wrote about my dreams of having a Maglev Train operating between the St. Paul Campus and the East Bank Campus ending near or around Stadium Village. To read the old post click here.

Recently there has been a lot of controversy about the Central Corridor and the University of Minnesota in regards to its alignment through Campus. There has also been controversy between the University On-Campus Stadium and the Station 19 Architecture Firm located in the Historical Landmark fire station off of Oak St. and University Avenue SE. To read the Star Tribune article click here.

Goldy's Rapid Express, Complete with Maroon and Gold Paint Job and University of Minnesota Emblem. Even Maglev Trains love Maroon and Gold...

The train could operate along the existing U of M Transitway, and then go underground beneath the University of Minnesota Stadium and have a station with direct access to the concourses for public seating as well as access to Suites. Or the train could remain on the surface, but then tunnel under Oak Street and connect with the Central Corridor Light Rail underground station (if it ever gets built). Students could then connect to the Central Corridor LRT and have access to the West Bank of the University of Minnesota and the Campus Connectors could be eliminated completely. Buses could be sold to Metro Transit, but still keep their Maroon and Gold paint jobs, heck even one can be given to the Minnesota Historical Society.

In the Minnesota Daily, there was an article about the Regents and the coming agendas facing them. One in particular is the Central Corridor. In the article, there is more talk about using University funds to build god awful monuments to faculty, this time a giant wall, with formulas and theories written by University Faculty. The Scholars Walk is nice, but has taken a really long time to be completed. Meanwhile, the Stadium is still in talks with the Minnesota Legislature, and the University won’t be able to have any decision making powers on the Central Corridor Tunnel. I suggest to the Regents that they try to negotiate with the Metropolitan Council and MNDOT to allow students in the schools of Architecture, Urban Studies, and Civil Engineering to work with these stake holders in designing the underground stations of the LRT, maybe even the stations above ground as well.

While searching through the archives of the Minnesota Daily I found an article from about 4 years ago, where then President Yudof suggested using students in the school of Architecture to help design University buildings instead of hiring high priced firms. Why not do the same with Public Infrastructure such as LRT stations? This way, the University can activly participate with the project. In addition, the students could improve the current bus shelters, by having heating vents in the ground in bus shelters and not from heating lamps above. Sometimes I wonder about people who designed those bus shelters and LRT stations and where they got their degrees from. Don't they know that warm air rises so its really not a good idea to have heating lamps as a way of keeping people warm in the winter months. Also, the University of Minnesota should stand with Transit Advocates such as Transit for Livable Communities and encourage lawmakers to find a dedicated source of transportation funding.

I think it would be really sweet if the Maglev Train operating through Campus could become a reality, but maybe the buses will be what we have for the rest of our days. Plus, by the time all of this stuff is said and done, I will be long gone from the University. But it never hurts to dream. I have heard support for this project from others and I hope support continues to grow.
Let’s go Maglev and Light Rail. Trains may not be the “magic bullet” solution for all of our urban problems, but they can help reduce our dependence on the automobile and create a better urban form.

Think it over, and tell me what you think blogosphere readers.



peteketcham said...

I agree, monuments to alumni are god-awful. Up until they put one up for me :)

Kristen said...

I'm all for it. And I agree with Pete; there comes a point when dedicating things to alumni is pointless. No one on campus knows who any of those people are that are listed on the Scholars Walk. I feel that anything that can improve the environment and is more efficient is a great idea.

Kristen said...

Hey you, I may change my background on my blog back to the green one. I just thought something different would be nice. However, when I changed it, it reset all my links and everything, so your blog and my Flickr page are no longer linked. Looks like I'm going to have a fun walk into work this morning! :(