MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The street that goes through the heart of the University of Minnesota will be forever free of cars and trucks.

At midnight, crews officially closed off five blocks of Washington Avenue near the U of M because of the Central Corridor light rail project.

The road is closed from Pleasant St. to Oak St. on the ‘U’ campus. Crews will be connecting St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis with light rail lines.

The $1 billion project is expected to be completed in 2014 and will stretch 11 miles long.

In a few years the road will look very different with only light rail trains and bus lines allowed on the thoroughfare.

It will be a big change for people to get used, but the timing is good. Students just finished the spring semester last week and that means less people are on campus. Once summer session starts up, it won’t be as busy on campus.

Safety is still an issue, however, with recent accidents involving pedestrians and bikers being hit and killed. University officials urge people to look out for detours and to be careful whether their driving, walking or biking.

Meanwhile, the Washington Ave. Bridge will stay open, but there may be some temporary closures at night or on the weekends.

Comments (20)
  1. justice fleeting says:

    BIggest waste of tax payers money ever. Liberal manipulation of lifestyles is the primary agenda. This will only bring failure as the LRT will require more and more subsidies as time goes on.

    By the way, who (what country) manufactured and produced the materials to build this euphorian inspired “white elephant” project.

    1. Brian says:

      It was the organized manipulation of America by Firestone, Rockefeller and Ford that caused us to be where we are today. Tire, oil and car giants working together to sell everyone on the “American Dream” and the “Open Road.” Now we have expensive, foreign-sourced oil, expensive cars, expensive car insurance and congested highways.

      You need to re-think who manipulated whom.

  2. Go Away MN Repubs says:

    Another republican that cannot stand to see helping his fellow human out. People need transportation in an already gridlocked city.

    Go ahead and driver your hummer to work, getting 5 miles to the gallon while paying 4 dollars a gallon of gas. Yeah, and you think you are the smart one. LOL!!!

    1. Realist says:

      If you think it’s such a great idea, then why isn’t private enterprise spearheading the work in order to collect profits? Oh yeah, because it will not make money!

  3. Brian says:

    Think about this: A New Vikings stadium in Arden Hills that will be used ~10 days a year costs $1.2 billion. A LRT connecting two Metropolis cities that will be used dozens of times a day costs $1 billion.

    Which is a better use of taxpayer funding?

    1. rick says:

      fyi the stadium will be used nearly daily by whatever events happen to be in town at the time.

  4. bobo says:

    All the money that is wasted on stupidity liike light rail could actually be used to help poor people, Take half the money for light rail and use it to give cheaper bus service in the inner city. Take the other half and use it to provide tax incentives to enterprise zones in poor neighborhoods. The poor do not use light rail, it is middle class white people. There are many things like that. The poor do not go to National Parks, The poor do not watch PBS. The poor do not listen to NPR. The poor do not go to art galleries. The public subsidies that go to these things amount to Robin Hood in reverse. The govt robs from the poor to give to the rich. The worst offender of all is Social Security. The poor are taxed at 15% of their income so middle and upper class white people can afford a motor home and go to the casino three times a week. Dewmocrats rail about social justice and do not see the huge injustices under their noses.

    1. Richard in Minneapolis says:

      “The poor do not use light rail.” ??? Have you ridden the Hiawatha line lately?

      1. Need more mass transit says:

        There are those who are unable to drive, or become disabled that still need a viable way of getting to work who need alternative transportation resources to get to work. God forbid that those anti light rail folks should in the next year or two be physically incapable of driving, but need to get to their jobs. We need to expand the light rail line so more people can stop buying oil from foreign terrorists. We need a suburb to suburb bus transportation system so folks in the suburbs can use mass transit.

        1. White Person says:

          . Yeah Bobo… us White people don’t get taxed at all. Its only the Minority and low income that are taxed. Can people for once stop playing the damn race card on everything? This transit is not a good use of the tax payers money period. We need to invest in our children to help us turn this country around. What would happen if we were able to use this 1 billion to help teach our children? At least the Stadium deal will help business and give money back to the state in long term sales taxes. Then you have any special event held at the new Stadium that would bring more money into this state.

  5. rita says:

    light rail is fantastic! too bad we didn’t see the light 20 years ago! bring it to maple grove please!

  6. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    When I was living in Boston one particular commuter rail line had an extra car attached that one of the universities used for an executive MBA program. The ride in was about one hour (Big Lake to Target Center = 50 minutes) and allowed people to use time that would have been totally wasted if they drove and use it to get an advanced degree. No reason why we couldn’t do the same here.

  7. harleymanmn says:

    It is unfortunate that a few who chose to remain ignorant continue to imply that light rail and public transit are the only forms of transportation that require subsidies. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Our highway system, air transportation, and by way of the defense budget, our oil (fuel) supply are all subsidized, so let’s move past this argument. The only transportation system not subsidized, is the national freight railroads which are privately owned. The discussion should be about choosing the best modes and locations for future transportation and how to get the most bang for the taxpayer buck.

  8. jeff says:

    there is a difference between being ignorant and wanting to be ignorant. we had one of the largest and most complex trolley systems on the frickin’ planet stretching from minnetonka to stillwater. all of it was removed for buses! anyone like to guess who was responsible for that?

    1. mass transit says:

      General Motors

  9. jeff says:

    they were one of the players…….check this site out.

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