2.04.2009

Minneapolis streetcars, 1933

Back in the day -- 1933, to be precise -- a streetcar line made its last stop on my North Minneapolis street, according to this illustration by Brett McKean. At the peak of the Twin Cities' streetcar system in the early '30s, there were some 530 miles of service and 1021 cars (by that time, a 20-year experiment with "streetcar boats" on Lake Minnetonka had fizzled). But by 1951 the number of cars was down to 758 and, just three years later, zero, according to this glowing article from the July 1954 issue of Mass Transportation Magazine.


Update: Commenters bring up some points, so here's an update in reply. The Twin Cities transportation authority, Metro Transit, currently has 821 buses in service, and this press release says local ridership is at a 27-year high. Great news from a traffic-congestion and environmental standpoint. As for how the system is for me: It can be harrowing riding the bus from my neighborhood to downtown. (I'm not a big dump-on-the-northside person, but the crime and unpleasantness that the daily papers always pick up on creeps onto the buses as well.) I think MetroTransit does fine, but the jewel in the crown is its light-rail line: clean, efficient, spacious cars. Wish the tracks ran everywhere.
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3 comments:

vettekaas said...

how is public transportation in Minneapolis nowadays? I really feel like govts should be investing some money into public transportation projects. it's better for the environment, makes the city quieter and makes going out more fun (no designated driver!)

Twin Cities Daily Planet said...

Do you know how many buses there are today?

Anonymous said...

Twin Cities transportation is great! There are 821 buses going on 118 bus routes. There are buses going as far as Little Canada, and Mall of America. We have a great Lightrail line that goes from downtown minneapolis to the Mall of America, while stopping at both airports! It's easy, cheap, and fun to ride! You can get almost anywhere on a bus or lightrail!
Although, I would like to have those old-fashioned streetcars, they look amazing!