It’s Transit Memorial Day

Today is the 17th anniversary of the opening of the Metro Transit Blue Line – the beginning (or re-beginning) of light rail transit in the Twin Cities.

So on this anniversary, let us remember the people who gave their lives – unwillingly and in many cases unwittingly – to further Big Minnesota obsession with feeling like a Big City.

The Blue Line has claimed 15 lives – eight pedestrians, three bikers, a man in a wheelchair, and three people in cars. There was also a stabbing death this past winter on the Blue Line, and two more murders at stations along the line. That’s an average of just one death per year.

The Green Line has taken eight victims in only five years – the first just six weeks after the train started operating, mostly pedestrians trying to navigate the badly-designed street-level crossings. The most recent was in the last couple years.

The Northstar line has five fatalities so far.

That’s 29 dead, so far. 29 lives sacrificed so that the Met Council, the various governments, and other people who love to play with the dials and levers of government can feel like they’re “running” a big city with all the trimmings. 

Let’s take a moment today to remember these innocent victims of government megalomania.

18 thoughts on “It’s Transit Memorial Day

  1. If it saves just one life we should ban it!

    Oh, wait, it’s not guns, it’s light rail?


  2. I know that one of the biggest supporters of Light Rail back in the day was Governor The Body who was under the impression that he’d be able to drive his Porsche around town faster because there’d be no traffic. But other than that. What problem exactly was LR intended to solve? You don’t get to use the inferiority complex of local/state officials, because they don’t put that reason in the proposals. Even tho’ it’s an important element.

  3. jdm.
    It all can be summed up to free money from the Feds. All of the tin pot dictator wannabes can’t stand to have Federal money sitting idle, especially when they can dole it out to political cronies to reimburse them for their campaign donations. The problem with those Federal dollars is that fiscally illiterate and power hungry Dems, have a habit of starting programs that will have to continue to be funded, but they have no clue and quite frankly, never gave a thought to how they will fund it going forward. Democrats think that money comes from trees, unicorns and leprechauns.

  4. What problem exactly was LR intended to solve?

    As best as I can remember, there was an attempt to manipulate the primary benefit as being reduction in commuter trips during rush hour (using bogus data) so that “even if you didn’t ride the train, your commute would be quicker due to less traffic”. However, since the Blue line’s main route was downtown -> airport -> MOA, which was not the primary commuter pathway(s) around the metro. Many people raised objections, but they were summarily dismissed by the Met Council.

    I took a class 30 years ago at the U called “The Geography of Maps”. In that class, the professor gave a lecture, using only map data to support it, showing how LRT would never make financial sense in the twin cities, showing that population density, existing traffic patterns, and economic areas are all too spread out and variable, for it to work in terms of self-support via fares.

    He didn’t consider political obstinance, rejection (or complete manipulation/falsification) of data, nor social engineering of artificially increased density.

  5. “Governor The Body who was under the impression that he’d be able to drive his Porsche around town faster because there’d be no traffic.”

    I remember those words.

  6. boss and Bill, oh, yeah, now I remember. I remember both aspects. The two big cities forced a spoke model on the lines to be made even tho’ a concentric circles makes more sense.

  7. Bill C.

    That professor was spot on. I believe that many others railed against the smug asswipes at the Met Council, especially saying the same thing. And, despite their own data regarding the losses these boondoggles have incurred, due to non payment of fares, they tripled down with the SW spur. I was so hoping that the railroad that had the right of way, would have told them to pound sand.

    I have to wonder though. What would that professor’s presentation sound like today? Would he be “woke” and present the lies and propaganda that the crooked perpetrators of the light rail Ponzi scheme use or would he still tell the truth?

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  9. Mitch, don’t question light rail transit.

    You know it’s what’s best.

    It just is.

  10. LRT remains a solution in search of a problem. Warren Meyer, who writes Coyote Blog, has covered the evolution of LRT in Phoenix. One of his many salient points is that the LRT proponents could have used the money to purchase a Prius for everyone who ever rode LRT. That’s staggering. Or as Millennials like to say, literally staggering.

  11. Busses are the best solution to mass transit demands. They are cheap (a top of the line trsnsit bud is about a half-mil), and busses can be put into service, or taken out of service easily. Also they can quickly be moved between cities. It is the obviously the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly way to add mass transit passenger miles.
    Light rail is a really stupid way to tackle the same problem. It requires very high initial political and economic investement, fixed costs are very high, and the routes cannot be changed as the needs of the passengers change over time.
    But what light rail does do that adding busses does not do is present politicians and bureaucrats with an entire smorgasboard of oppurtunities for graft, and since the sunk costs are so high, even when corruption is revealed, the projects are never stopped.

  12. It’s also a similar anniversary for when Minnesota became a shall-issue state for carry permits. I heard that traffic accidents would leave our streets covered in blood, not from the crashes but from the gunfights permit-holding drivers would have instead of trading insurance info.

    If I had the money for it I would have bought a billboard to display a running scorecard of LRT deaths vs unlawful permit holder caused deaths.

  13. A few years back, I did a calculation of deaths per passenger mile from light rail, and it was similar to that from regular vehicle traffic. Oopsie, it looks like sending 50 ton carriages on bearing surfaces (steel on wet steel) through bar districts at grade level wasn’t a good idea after all.

    Which is something I could have told them before they started….and it’s also worth noting that the Hiawatha Line did a lot to kill off downtown retail by making it easier to get to the MOA. Lots of things went wrong and expensively so with this.

  14. I was so hoping that the railroad that had the right of way, would have told them to pound sand.

    That’s the Bottineau line running up Hwy 81 from Mpls -> Golden Valley -> Robbinsdale -> Crystal – > Brooklyn Center -> Maple Grove -> Beyond?

    As of right now, BNSF has told the Met Council where to stick it in terms of sharing trackage/right of way, and they are sticking firm. The Met Council is now looking at running it down the center of 81 since that highway has been greatly widened from Robbinsdale up to 694. The residents and businesses along that corridor are suddenly not liking that new idea.

    The whole reason BNSF is being stubborn, is because they wanted to buy/eminently domain some land to put a 90 curve alongside a perpendicular rail crossing in Crystal (allowing the train to transfer from the N/S line to E/W line via backing up along that curve). This would cause more frequent and much longer delays at 2 railroad crossings in Crystal. It would have cut off the northern portion of the city when trains had to navigate that crossing, then backup around the curve. The northern portion of the city would see delays of police/fire services as the trucks/squads would have to re-route to Hwy 100 and then 81 where both rail lines have bridge crossings instead of gate crossings. The residents and businesses were powerless to stop this, due to old federal laws giving railroads a ton of power (back in the 1800s when the country was in expansion mode, before private property rights were codified). Crystal was extremely grateful to HennCo for HC’s emergency purchase of that land, and BNSF could not legally contest it. Now, however, that Bottineau is in jeopardy, I could see the Met Council applying enough pressure to (or greasing the palms of) HennCo, resulting in HennCo giving up that land to BNSF for their curve. Then BNSF would probably make the concession of allowing LRT in their shared right of way.

    Here’s a Strib article from 2015 when it was in consideration/debate, before HennCo bought the land:

  15. BH429:

    As an aside, his Geography of Maps class was taught entirely by TAs, with the exception of him giving 3 hour long lectures at various points throughout the course. I will say this. Every one of those three lectures earned a round of applause from the entire student body, because the “debate/decision” that was discussed, was absolutely and completely solved using only map data. One of his other lectures was “I want to buy a hobby farm to do (whatever it was, I no longer remember). Where should I look for purchasable land?” and I do not remember the third one.

    I have to wonder though. What would that professor’s presentation sound like today? Would he be “woke” and present the lies and propaganda that the crooked perpetrators of the light rail Ponzi scheme use or would he still tell the truth?

    I have no idea of his politics, but given how many U of M professors are hard core indoctrinators today, I would presume A as opposed to “tell the truth”

  16. Bill C.

    Yea, if I had to guess, I would say he doesn’t look “woke”. 😂

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