Since posting the letter from Linden Hills businesses opposing the placement of E Line bus stops in their business district, and Metro Transit's context for why they prefer to place the stops there, we have received notes from readers adding helpful context or questions to the mix. We share those here to continue the discussion, and broaden it to include a variety of perspectives.
You can share yours by using the "Add context" box at the bottom of this page, by emailing us at email@example.com, or by texting us at 612.204.2887. Metro Transit is asking people to submit comments on the project by October 31st. Info on how to do that is here.
👍🏽 BRT 👎🏽 station placement
Two people reached out to me today to express concern about my apparently "opposing" BRT. I hope people can re-read the letter above and see no-one is opposed to BRT, they are concerned about the POSITIONING of the STATIONS, and curious about whether alternate options 1/2-1 block north or south could be just as good that don't remove parking and block businesses.
As the executive director of an environmental non-profit for almost 10 years, one that worked with Metro Transit on a successful campaign to increase transit ridership that became a template for other neighborhoods, I love the BRT concept. I'm eager to hear from Metro Transit why other options wouldn't work as well. I see they've now posted the info about traffic lights, and look forward to hearing more next week.
- Felicity Britton
Turn the Linden Hills business district into a pedestrian mall
In light of elite business and property owners' objection to the initial designs, I think there is valid reason to make a few adjustments.
Sheridan from 42nd St to 44th St and the adjoining legs of 43rd street (from the hardware store to Wild Rumpus) should be closed to all private vehicles (excepting delivery vehicles to make deliveries to nearby businesses in the wee hours, say 12am - 5am). Convert it to a pedestrian mall with dedicated bus lanes.
This frees up space for a boarding platform to replace the footprint of the current intersection. All mature trees, flower beds, benches, and pleasant business frontage ("curb appeal") would thus be maintained. Parking would be a moot point— such a wonderful commercial node already attracts customers in droves, many of whom walk/bike/ride the bus. Once pedestrianized, people strolling to their initial destination would twice as motivated to visit other shops along the way. Those that must drive could park where space is available nearby, and enjoy the leisurely walk to their destination.
Provide handicapped parking in the alleys with access from outside the car-free zone to ensure accessibility to all. It is absolutely worth preserving the "unique neighborhood character" lauded by the signatories to the preceding "community letter". To do so, all we need to do is go back to how Upton and Sheridan Ave looked in the 1920s when they were traversed by streetcars, before nearly all of the public space in our city was poisoned with disruptive, deadly private automobiles. Ban cars to build better buses.
BRT buses will be a boon to Linden Hills businesses
I understand this isn't meant to just be a forum for people to yell at each other about how wrong they are, but I'm so disappointed to see the letter from Linden Hills businesses about the E-Line, that I felt compelled to write something. I live a couple miles from 43rd and Upton, right along the future E-Line.
I was recently perusing the Metro Transit project site linked above, and the station location I was most excited about was this one! I love visiting this area and have been a customer at several of these business over the years. I believe it's extremely shortsighted to view this project as anything but a boon to the area. Complaints that a handful of parking spaces will be lost seem to ignore that the result is a literal busload of people being brought through the area every 10 minutes!
Many of the other arguments in the letter make very little sense. The rents the property owners can charge will go down! (Ha!) This will cause independent businesses to close! (Because of lower rents?) The bus shelter will hide our signs! (They're smaller and more transparent than the trees there currently.) And yes, the trees... we all love trees! But using trees as a reason to not pursue projects designed to limit climate change is missing the forest for the, well...
The amount of CO2 sequestered by eight mature trees in an entire year is the same amount produced by burning one tank of gas. Making it faster and more convenient for people to visit this area by bus means more people overall and fewer people who choose to drive, which will ultimately save far more than one tank of gas per year. And so I urge people to support the E-Line, support this station being included in it, and yes, support these businesses too! And let them know a faster, nicer bus means you'll visit them more!
- Andrew Vavoulis