Like many U.S. cities, Minneapolis was once served by a web of streetcar lines, with 524 miles of streetcar track at its peak. With the introduction of the Hiawatha Light Rail line in 2004, and several more lines in the developmental or planning stages, rail-based transit is making a comeback in the Twin Cities.
As a follow-up study to the Access Minneapolis 10-Year Transportation Action Plan, Nelson\Nygaard, and collaborators Meyer Mohaddes, SEH, and Richardson-Richter, evaluated the feasibility of reintroducing streetcar service in Minneapolis. The team evaluated the potential conversion of 14 primary transit network corridors (as identified in the Access Minneapolis plan) from bus operations to streetcar service.
Nelson\Nygaard identified several potential starter lines in and adjacent to downtown Minneapolis, developed planning-level capital and operating cost estimates, and compiled a list of possible public and private funding options. Given the potential for economic benefit, the team also gauged potential support for streetcar service in the development community.
The first of these lines, the Nicollet Mall Streetcar, is currently under development. Nelson\Nygaard served on the alternatives analysis team and continues to be involved with planning for its implementation.