Light rail kills restaurateur’s dream in St. Paul

posted at 10:31 am on April 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

What happens when a city decides to dig up one of its main traffic arteries for a number of years to put a train in the middle of the street? Well, as it turns out, a number of things happen. First, traffic gets horribly congested, and after that happens, people start looking for alternate ways around the city. That leaves businesses located on or near that street without too many customers — and thanks to the nature of light rail, unlikely to recover much even after construction completes. WCCO tells the story of Tony and Heidi Panelli, owners of Caribe, a restaurant that will cease to exist by this afternoon:

A St. Paul restaurant owner says he’s been forced to close down for good.

He blames light rail construction on University Avenue for driving away more than half his customers. Other businesses in the area said they’ve also suffered in the last several months.

Tony Panelli will close Caribe Caribbean Bistro after brunch on Sunday. He opened the restaurant exactly two years ago Saturday. He called his restaurant a dream come true. But he says construction just a block away from his kitchen killed his dream.

Even if Tony and Heidi had the cash to outlast construction on nearby University Avenue through Midtown, the future looked bleak.  Unlike vehicle traffic, which had been turning onto Caribe’s Raymond Avenue thanks to the traffic light at the intersection, light rail will only stop occasionally on University, and Raymond Avenue would not be a likely stop.  With the train in the middle of University, traffic will remain congested even after the end of construction as well (with narrower lanes, too), which meant that the current situation for Caribe was almost certainly not temporary.

Business fell off nearly 60% when construction got underway, and as anyone who has worked in the difficult independent-restaurant business knows, that’s not a situation that can continue for very long.  It’s amazing that the Panellis stayed in business as long as they could — and they’re hardly alone.  The light rail agency claims that they try to promote businesses along the corridor, but they’re not having much of an impact.  During construction, the agency claims net-positive business growth as 61 businesses have opened while 55 have closed, but that’s a pretty pathetic net growth of six businesses along what had been one of the main thoroughfares of St. Paul in over a year’s time.  Furthermore, the 55 businesses that have closed were established, successful enterprises like Caribe, whose pre-light-rail leases and taxes probably generated more private and public revenue than more recent operations that can take advantage of declining lease values in the area.  And how many of these new operations are retail businesses, generating sales and local tax revenues?  Given the damage to traffic in the area, I’d be inclined to guess that retail businesses in the University Avenue corridor are going to be a thing of the past — like Caribe.

Last night, we went to Caribe for its last evening in operation.  My wife and a friend of mine from high school who lives on my street — a long story in itself, since we live in Minnesota and both went to school in California — met our former drama teacher at Caribe for dinner and over 30 years of catching up.  The shame of this closing was evident in the otherwise wonderful time we had.  As you can see from the above video, Caribe is a charming, colorful environment, perfect for long conversations and evenings with friends.  The food was absolutely delicious, and the service was personal and attentive.  Heidi was out trying to land a new location (and got bad news just before we arrived), but Tony spent a lot of time with us, a welcome member of the conversation.    It’s the kind of independent restaurant that any community would love to have in its neighborhood — involved owners, diverse menu, and a self-renovated storefront that brightened up the whole street.

And now it’s gone, a victim of a light-rail system that will burden St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the entire state with massive subsidies while doing nothing to promote better traffic conditions and small businesses anywhere except right at the stops.  Raymond Avenue will be a grimmer place for the loss — but hopefully, Tony and Heidi will find another location that will benefit the neighborhood wise enough to welcome them with open arms, and diners who rediscover Tony’s Caribbean cuisine.  We’ll have more on that in the future.

Addendum: You can follow Tony and Heidi on Twitter at @CaribeBistro.


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Damn. I used to eat there. Sorry to see it go…

neoavatara on April 15, 2012 at 10:32 AM

I am sorry for the Caribe owners… anytime you can find a non-chain, independent restaurant with passionate owners, it is an asset to the community.

This situation reminds me of my area, which has seen a lot of road-construction projects. Two restaurants like this closed down because the traffic was so disrupted that it made it too hard to get there.

BUT, Ed, look on the bright side. If the food is as good and the owners as warm as you say, their reputation is like money in the bank. They will find a new location and thrive again!

cane_loader on April 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Ed, you forgot to mention the guy who signed into law funding for this project.

Notorious GOP on April 15, 2012 at 10:38 AM

And now it’s gone, a victim of a light-rail system that will burden St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the entire state with massive subsidies while doing nothing to promote better traffic conditions and small businesses anywhere except right at the stops.

“I’m with the government and I’m here to help you.”

dirtseller on April 15, 2012 at 10:38 AM

a victim of a light-rail system that will burden St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the entire state with massive subsidies while doing nothing to promote better traffic conditions

Scott Walker vindicated again (I think his first act as Governor was to “undo” the high-speed rail project in Wisconsin that made no sense to anybody except the former Governor).

teejk on April 15, 2012 at 10:41 AM

So let me get this straight, when this guy started this two years ago he knew the construction and the ensuing light rail was coming and it’s light rail fault he went out of business? If St. Paul wants to follow some asinine light rail rail project, that their decision but don’t start blaming them for this guys failure. He ain’t some business owner that’s been their thirty years and fought this tooth and nail, he knew all about it when he started out.

lowandslow on April 15, 2012 at 10:45 AM

It’s called “progress” and in the end it usually works for all concerned.
I had to opportunity to spend a lot of time San Francisco while the BART was being constructed and Market Street, along with other major arteries, were torn up. Hope: what BART has done for the Bay Area will be an example for y’all.
BTW … Two years in the restaurant business is the average for solvency.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on April 15, 2012 at 10:46 AM

By “light rail” do they mean a trolley line?

Why not just add a bus line?

Infinitely cheaper, more adaptable to changing neighborhoods and ridership, and no impact on the current businesses since the streets are not touched.

Sounds like another boondoggle for some well-connected crooks in power.

Light rail= heavy consequences.

profitsbeard on April 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM

For people who claim to be so future forward, Democrats sure love those train. If the buses aren’t full of people why would trains be any different?

Cindy Munford on April 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM

I think that light-rail, in general, is an expensive collectivist fantasy. While it does work well in certain targeted locations (such as the Garden District in New Orleans), the situation really does have to be perfect – like a rare plant that only grows when the conditions are just so. It takes a lot of incentive, and a perfect layout, to coax people out of their cars and away from their independence of transit, because the logistics of light rail require your destination to be very close to a stop. Not many people will walk more than two blocks on the other end to get to their destination.

So light rail ends up often being an ineffective, underused sop to the unions and an all-around public nuisance due to the traffic disruption and debt to the public.

cane_loader on April 15, 2012 at 10:48 AM

There’s *always* a lot of graft and backhanders being paid out in these light rail and street car projects whose only champions are politicians and contractors.

There really should be a dedicated ‘public works’ task force in the FBI to monitor the blatant corruption around these deals which seem to materialize for no other reason than to line the pockets of corrupt politicians, union officials, bureaucrats, and contractors.

CorporatePiggy on April 15, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Yes, but good luck trying to get any road improvement approved without this light rail boondoggle. Living in both Denver & Phoenix the last 15 years, any major road work requires this massive black hole of public subsidies be included to get it approved

Fynxbell on April 15, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Why not just add a bus line?

profitsbeard on April 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Union construction jobs. And socialists love trains…

Wethal on April 15, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Hope: what BART has done for the Bay Area will be an example for y’all.
Karl Magnus on April 15, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Yes because relatively affordable and anonymous transportation is excellent for gang members earning their stripes.

CorporatePiggy on April 15, 2012 at 10:55 AM

That is really sad, I can’t believe this kind of “progress” still happens in America. Pay off a few politicians and throw some kick backs to their union overlords …… the consequences be damned!

wrath187 on April 15, 2012 at 10:56 AM

But but but… Mass transit is good! Mass transit is Progressive!

What is needed is another government intervention! What is needed is a jobs program funded with taxpayer dollars to rescue the incomes of the people whose livelihoods the gubmint has destroyed!

These people would be far better off as dependents on government largesse than they were as small business owners anyway.

novaculus on April 15, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Light rail serves one purpose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV2rdGX4JYc

Other than that, I have no use for it.

Kelligan on April 15, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Why do I suspect that Minnesota Public Radio had glowing paean to the light rail and how it would reduce Goreball Worming?

Wethal on April 15, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Hey, just tell ‘em they had to be sacrificed for the good of Mother Earth.

They should be right as rain.

catmman on April 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM

With appreciative customers like you, your wife and friends, Ed, I can’t help wondering if the Panellis might be inspired to give it a go again in another location. This reminds me to drop by my favorite convenience store and ask the owners how they’re doing since for about a year our city has been constructing a monstrous highway system that looks like the cords in back of my desktop, making the route to their door akin to the Minotaur’s maze!

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on April 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM

When I learn of these foolhearty ‘light rail’ projects, the SECOND thing that comes to mind (first one being GRAFT) is how are these wonderful trains going to be powered ??
Algae ??

pambi on April 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM

When I learn of these foolhearty ‘light rail’ projects, the SECOND thing that comes to mind (first one being GRAFT) is how are these wonderful trains going to be powered ??
Algae ??

pambi on April 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Predominantly electricity. Any light rail experts know more about this? I think most of BART runs on a third rail system, doesn’t it?

gryphon202 on April 15, 2012 at 11:07 AM

When I learn of these foolhearty ‘light rail’ projects, the SECOND thing that comes to mind (first one being GRAFT) is how are these wonderful trains going to be powered ??
Algae ??

pambi on April 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Details…

Was Gaia placated and did the Union get their kickbacks.

THAT’s what really fuels this crap.

catmman on April 15, 2012 at 11:08 AM

The light rail agency claims that they try to promote businesses along the corridor, but they’re not having much of an impact.

Huh? I thought gubmint created jobs.

TugboatPhil on April 15, 2012 at 11:09 AM

The Met Council claims the number of businesses created by the choo-choo almost matches the number that have closed. What they probably won’t address is what types of businesses are being shoved out and being replaced by those that the Met Council deems as acceptable. Many of these closed or struggling businesses are long-time University Ave. companies that rely on the foot and auto traffic that has been essentially eliminated by the construction. The Met Council also has just announced a $1.2 million dollar ad campaign to counter the bad news about the rail line (like businesses closing). Another wonderful use of our tax dollars by the Twin Cites own Politburo, The Met Council.

FYI, Here are the people to blame for the the loss of these businesses…

Met Council Chair Peter Bell
Met Council Chair Susan Haigh
All members of the Met Council
Mayor Christopher Coleman
Mayor R.T. Rybak
Congresswoman Betty McCollum
Congressman Keith Ellison
County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin
County Commissioner Toni Carter
County Commissioner Jim McDonough
County Commissioner Raphael Ortega
All Hennepin and Ramsey County Commissioners
Director of the Light Rail project Mark Fuhrmann
The Federal Transportation Administrator Peter Rogoff
Governor Jesse Ventura
Governor Tim Pawlenty
Governor Mark Dayton

Tony0253 on April 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Some MPOs, Portland and Seattle come to mind, are not afraid to tell you that the objective of their “light rail” is to make roads more congested to teach people the correct way to commute. The Twin Cities light rail was famous for creating a major vehicle congestion increase not only because of eliminated roads, but throwing a wrench into signal coordination. Any remotely knowledgeable traffic engineer could have predicted this, but it was ignored. And of course, congestion = emissions =/= “sustainability”.

Light rail, density, new Urbanism, walkable communities, etc. are the policies of Ivory tower-ers seeing the American people as livestock that must be packaged as efficiently as possible, to produce wealth to be appropriately redistributed.

Transpo on April 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Director of the Light Rail project Mark Fuhrmann

Tony0253 on April 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Couldn’t he have just been happy with trying to frame OJ!!

TugboatPhil on April 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

And so went Route 66.
According to the logic of some posters (and yes, some urban light rail programs are boondoggles), the famous cross-country highway should still be the major East/West corridor (yes, i know it’s path – been there)? Now that’s really sad thinking. Sorry.
Are y’all the same people who despise Walmart for allegedly (it’s not true btw) putting mom and pop businesses out of action?
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on April 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

And now it’s gone, a victim of a light-rail system that will burden St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the entire state with massive subsidies while doing nothing to promote better traffic conditions and small businesses anywhere except right at the stops.

“I’m with the government and I’m here to help you.”

dirtseller on April 15, 2012 at 10:38 AM

…It’s becoming more and more…”We’re with the government, and we’re here to screw things up!”

Massive subsidies…and we get to wipe out a bunch of taxpayers!
What could go wrong?

KOOLAID2 on April 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Who cares?

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Why would this kill your dream? Open somewhere else.

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Couldn’t he have just been happy with trying to frame OJ!!

TugboatPhil on April 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

I should have used the addendum “not that Mark Fuhrman”…

Tony0253 on April 15, 2012 at 11:28 AM

My wife and a friend of mine from high school who lives on my street — a long story in itself, since we live in Minnesota and both went to school in California — met our former drama teacher at Caribe for dinner and over 30 years of catching up.

Drama class? Must be a required course in Southern Cal.

PatMac on April 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Of the ‘new’ light rail systems that have sprung up over the past 30 years or so, Dallas’ system seems to be doing better than some of the others. But Dallas was smart enough to run their light rail through downtown in available alleys (or, in one spot, underground), and not in the main streets, so that the system ends up as an augment to, and not in place of, street vehicular traffic.

Obviously, if you don’t have alleys in your downtown area, you don’t have the ready-made alternative option. But putting in a system that by its very presences basically declares war on people going downtown with cars is not a way to help out the area’s small businesses, especially in cities which have developed mainly in the post-World War II era, where the single family vehicle, and not the bus, subway or trolley, determined the outlying growth patterns.

jon1979 on April 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Welcome to Jerusalem!

Years of hell for residents and business owners.

And here’s how the system pays for itself.

Shy Guy on April 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM

So University went from four lanes with left turn lanes before light rail to what? Two lanes? That makes no sense at all.

MarkT on April 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I should have used the addendum “not that Mark Fuhrman”…

Tony0253 on April 15, 2012 at 11:28 AM

I just couldn’t resist.

TugboatPhil on April 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

The same thing happened in Houston. They put in a light rail connecting Downtown with the Medical Center. It just happened to go right past the Astro Dome complex and the new baseball stadium. The idiot mayor at the time was trying to get the Olympics in Houston and that was a plus as far as infrastructure. Rather than look at where the heaviest traffic was they put it somewhere only marginally useful. When the Souther Pacific rail line lost their lease, rather than convert the existing tracks paralleling I-10 to light rail, they shut down huge parts of downtown for many months, tore up new streets, and and generally pissed offneveryone.

DAT60A3 on April 15, 2012 at 11:41 AM

I can recall working for a large commercial insurance carrier in St Paul a few years back and I’d receive dozens of calls from insureds wanting Business Interuption covered due to the light rail project interfering with their business. Those calls always ended with the customer shouting an expletitive and hanging up. No claim can be made for this type of inconvenience.

jbh45 on April 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

For clarification purposes, when was the light rail project announced? Since these owners opened 2 years ago did they know about the rail project? If so, did they think it would be beneficial or were they given bad info?

Vince on April 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Now that’s really sad thinking. Sorry.
Are y’all the same people who despise Walmart for allegedly (it’s not true btw) putting mom and pop businesses out of action?
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on April 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

geez… you really have no heart at all do you?

Look I shop plenty at Walmart, but they don’t build in the town square, where a great many mom and pops are located.. It’s apples and oranges..

Light rail is a joke in Ohio.. Kasich killed it thank God,.. but Biden is still trying to threaten us into it. We need our freight lines repaired.. not hundreds of miles of new track for a service none will use.. They can’t even get a bus service to survive in Newark.. 45 miles from Columbus.. thousands commute back and forth everyday,.. but the one bus line runs once in the early morning once at around 6:30PM.. and no one uses it..

People hate loosing the familar places of their youth, or life in general.. it’s perfectly normal to miss the old shops we’d frequent.. and that isn’t sad thinking, it’s just human thing..

I still miss the diners that my mother used to work in, long long gone.. I wouldn’t ban anything to try and save them, but you do miss them. it’s simply our nature…

and progress often can suck.. not every change is good, or even smart.. embracing change for it’s own sake can be reckless…

and in the end cost much more in ruined lives than anything like opportunities for others.

mark81150 on April 15, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Karl Magnus on April 15, 2012 at 10:46 AM

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro isn’t San Francisco. “Progress” doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere. I’ve lived in the medium-size big cities almost all my life, and in none of them has light rail either gotten off the ground, or, if it did, fulfilled the promises made for it. The reasons for having it just aren’t there. We don’t need more mass transit where people aren’t interested in using it. Those who are desperate to get us all into mass transit are simply wrong about that.

J.E. Dyer on April 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Yeah yeah, but without light rail how will burglars from Minneapolis access homes in Bloomington and then get their stolen stuff back to Minneapolis? Take a cab? Have you seen cab fares lately?

Why do you wingnuts hate people from Minneapolis?

Bishop on April 15, 2012 at 11:52 AM

And so went Route 66.
According to the logic of some posters (and yes, some urban light rail programs are boondoggles), the famous cross-country highway should still be the major East/West corridor (yes, i know it’s path – been there)? Now that’s really sad thinking. Sorry.
Are y’all the same people who despise Walmart for allegedly (it’s not true btw) putting mom and pop businesses out of action?
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on April 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Bad analogy.

Wal-mart’s retail success is a market-driven situation.

Light-rail is not.

And “Transpo”, above is correct; part of the attraction of these types of systems (and of a lot of “sustainable” alternative transportation projects) is that they make auto travel more difficult, with the idea that the public will then be forced to make the “correct” choice for transportation.

Dreadnought on April 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Kelligan, that video was fantastic!!! Bring on volume 2!

bfinstock79 on April 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Who cares?

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 11:19 AM

I do, I have to help pay for this Choo-Choo so that the “smart growth” zealots can move one step closer to their dream of having everyone in the state living in a few scattered Megalopolis cities.

Light rail in MN has killed more people than have ridden it.

Bishop on April 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Light rail in minneapolis has brought the undesirable urban elements into bloomington’s mall of America.

jbh45 on April 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

But, but… we need teh choo-choo through the ghetto!

Seriously, I visit the cities maybe three or four times a year yet all of us up here in Duluth are still on the hook for big chunks of this boondoggle. It’s sickening.

Nelsen on April 15, 2012 at 11:57 AM

For clarification purposes, when was the light rail project announced? Since these owners opened 2 years ago did they know about the rail project? If so, did they think it would be beneficial or were they given bad info?

Vince on April 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

…what do you really think? They were talking to a government entity?
They were LIED too!

KOOLAID2 on April 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Bishop on April 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Yeah, I don’t question that. My comment was that having to move a restaurant shouldn’t kill your dream.

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Ummm…didn’t the gov’t build the road in the.first place?

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM

By the way, all my friends at the U of M are absolutely pissed at this. Apparently campus is completely tore up and all you can hear are jackhammers and and other construction noises during class so much so that even some profs are up in arms. It’s amazing how fast some “progressives” can turn against things when it’s them that’s inconvenienced.

Nelsen on April 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Government doesn’t build a damn thing. Oh except dams.

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

What is funny (OK, not so funny) is that if you listen to the local newsies, you’d think there was no oppostion to this boondoggle from the businesses that were to be affected most. Let this be a lesson to the rest of the country that groups like the Met Council, where central utopian planning is the goal, is the most dangerous form of government…They manage traffic, tell you were you can live, dictate business growth polities and basically, restrict local personal freedoms. If things like “urban green spaces”, “round-abouts”, managed population density and light-rail get under your skin then you’ve experienced the vast power extent of Met Council-type shadow government…

Tony0253 on April 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Of the ‘new’ light rail systems that have sprung up over the past 30 years or so, Dallas’ system seems to be doing better than some of the others…

jon1979 on April 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM

But now there’s a move to charge for parking at some DART park-and-ride lots: DART customers hit with parking fee

It never ends.

Peri Winkle on April 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I’ve lived in the medium-size big cities almost all my life, and in none of them has light rail either gotten off the ground, or, if it did, fulfilled the promises made for it.

A simple request…prove it. Obviously if the project never got off the ground that’s pretty obvious, but every LRT project built over the last 20 years exceeded its projected ridership in a short period after opening. The economic benefits for the projects, in the long term, are extremely positive. I’m sorry to hear about the Caribe problem…but this is situation is not unique to LRT but can and does happen if they were to make major road repairs to the same street…its perhaps more about the problem of government incompetence in managing the project than anything else. If you want a case study for a LRT project was poo poohed and demonized before it opened and then enjoyed early success and now neighborhoods that didn’t want it are clamoring for being the next stop on the line check out the experience of Norfolk, VA.

I find it odd that the same people who deride “big government” planning for public investment in transit don’t seem to have a problem with the massive centralized bureaucracy that builds roads…I guess the only bad subsidy is the one you don’t like.

a victim of a light-rail system that will burden St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the entire state with massive subsidies while doing nothing to promote better traffic conditions and small businesses anywhere except right at the stops

Kinda premature isn’t it Ed? Let’s let the system get up and operating and then we can revisit your dire prediction…my money is that this corridor will look nothing like it does now and it will be all for the better.

ironmarshal on April 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM

My comment was that having to move a restaurant shouldn’t kill your dream.

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM

No it shouldn’t. But it can empty your savings.

TugboatPhil on April 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM

A simple request…prove it. Obviously if the project never got off the ground that’s pretty obvious, but every LRT project built over the last 20 years exceeded its projected ridership in a short period after opening…

ironmarshal on April 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM

You open by asking for proof of his statement, then you make an equally unproven statement and offer no proof.

I should have taken Debate in school.

As for Norfolk, it’s been a few years since I left, but the route the chose has done nothing to solve the twice daily cluster-eff between Va Beach and the Naval Base.

TugboatPhil on April 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Ummm…didn’t the gov’t build the road in the.first place?

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM

I dont understand your point. Please try again?

MooCowBang on April 15, 2012 at 12:38 PM

I hope that they find another location that will work even better than the current one. Hang in there folks. great post ed.

ted c on April 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Pawlenty’s awesomeness strikes again.

Spliff Menendez on April 15, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I dont understand your point. Please try again?

MooCowBang on April 15, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Well, the reason customers can get to his restaurant in the first place is because taxpayers paid to build/maintain these roads. How then can he complain when they decide to make changes to those roads?

Ed acts like the restaurant owners are entitled to have roads leading to their restaurants. That’s absurd.

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Suitable advertising for “Light Rail”:

“When you need government to tell you where to go”

“When you don’t want your empty buses to be re-routed”

Businesses??? We don’ need no friggin’ businesses!!”

“Last century’s solution to next century’s problems!”

“When the money pit is simply not deep enough!”

“When you find ‘going where you want’ confusing!”

landlines on April 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Socialists love trains.

That’s why they sent my uncles on them. To the gas chambers. In Poland.

UODuckMan on April 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Ed acts like the restaurant owners are entitled to have roads leading to their restaurants. That’s absurd.

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Apparently Ed was thinking that government was “Of the people, By the people, and For the people”…a silly mistake indeed!

/SARC>

landlines on April 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Maybe they should get Louis Prima to dine there.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Night

babygiraffe on April 15, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Apparently Ed was thinking that government was “Of the people, By the people, and For the people”…a silly mistake indeed!

/SARC>

landlines on April 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM

So if anyone disagrees with a government decision, it should be nullified? Give me a break.

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Light rail in minneapolis has brought the undesirable urban elements into bloomington’s mall of America.

jbh45 on April 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Um they were there before the light rail thanks to the MTC buses.

gophergirl on April 15, 2012 at 1:05 PM

MooCowBang on April 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM
First of all, I’m not a liberal. And you must have some pretty big balls to threaten to kill people. Probably
not big enough to walk on to a military base though.

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 1:10 PM

I do, I have to help pay for this Choo-Choo so that the “smart growth” zealots can move one step closer to their dream of having everyone in the state living in a few scattered Megalopolis cities.

Light rail in MN has killed more people than have ridden it.

Bishop on April 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

I don’t know if you are “bishing” or not but this statement is just simply not true. The light rail is used a lot as is the Northstar line – you know the line built specifically so people can continue to live in the 3/4th tier suburbs and have an easier way to commute into work.

gophergirl on April 15, 2012 at 1:11 PM

I don’t know if you are “bishing” or not but this statement is just simply not true. The light rail is used a lot as is the Northstar line – you know the line built specifically so people can continue to live in the 3/4th tier suburbs and have an easier way to commute into work.

I guess ridership must’ve increased since the days when it was estimated that every rider on light rail cost the taxpayer as much as buying each of them a Humvee.

2L8 on April 15, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Vladimir Lenins success was largely due to train travel. You see our current Marxists are quite romantic about certain things.

celtic warrior on April 15, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Why do you hate trains?

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Karl Magnus on April 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Bad analogy.

Wal-mart’s retail success is a market-driven situation.

Light-rail is not.

Dreadnought on April 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Ding, ding…we have a winner.

CW on April 15, 2012 at 1:53 PM

If anything, I’ve been in favor of a light rail between the twin cities. I was thinking something along the I94 corridor, so as to not disturb too many businesses & homes, though.

So, it two years I’ll be able to walk to my bus stop, wait for that bus, take it to downtown Minneapolis, walk two blocks to the light rail, wait for the train, ride it through the U of M campus and on through St. Paul on the busiest street in the metro (that shouldn’t take long), and finally stop two blocks from my office. Shouldn’t take much more than an hour – each way.

OR… I can simply drive (motorcycle, scooter or Jeep); 15-20 minutes, Bob’s yer uncle. How often do you think I’m going to commute on the train?

NoamSayin on April 15, 2012 at 1:59 PM

By the way, all my friends at the U of M are absolutely pissed at this. Apparently campus is completely tore up and all you can hear are jackhammers and and other construction noises during class so much so that even some profs are up in arms. It’s amazing how fast some “progressives” can turn against things when it’s them that’s inconvenienced.

Nelsen on April 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

U of M student here. I can confirm that this is the case…

Mr. Prodigy on April 15, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Come on to Richmond, Virginia and open your business. We enjoy a number of independent restaurants in the West End and the Fan. Right around the corner from our house, we have Greek, French, and Irish establishments that do a bang-up business. There’s always room for one more.

College Prof on April 15, 2012 at 2:44 PM

So if anyone disagrees with a government decision, it should be nullified? Give me a break.

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 1:05 PM

That’s the people’s right. Sorry if that bothers you. Light rail is not necessarily a good idea just because government institutes it.

gryphon202 on April 15, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Well, the reason customers can get to his restaurant in the first place is because taxpayers paid to build/maintain these roads. How then can he complain when they decide to make changes to those roads?

Ed acts like the restaurant owners are entitled to have roads leading to their restaurants. That’s absurd.

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM

The restaurant owners are taxpayers too, last time I checked. They are most certainly “entitled” to the roads that they themselves paid for. Why government is somehow entitled to damage taxpayers’ businesses by fiat is beyond me.

gryphon202 on April 15, 2012 at 2:48 PM

You are trying to tell me that when this guy opened up 2 years ago, he had no idea of what was planned for the location? I’m sorry for the guy but this is self-inflicted.

DaveO on April 15, 2012 at 2:50 PM

You are trying to tell me that when this guy opened up 2 years ago, he had no idea of what was planned for the location? I’m sorry for the guy but this is self-inflicted.

DaveO on April 15, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Did it take two years for them to start building? That doesn’t speak very well of government efficiency, does it?

gryphon202 on April 15, 2012 at 2:52 PM

The two streets in downtown San Diego with light rail (C and Park) are filled with empty storefronts and homeless. The crime rates along the route are much higher than the rest of the area and the stations are filthy. They are magnets for transients and development around the stations will never come.

oceansidecon on April 15, 2012 at 2:59 PM

I should have taken Debate in school.As for Norfolk, it’s been a few years since I left, but the route the chose has done nothing to solve the twice daily cluster-eff between Va Beach and the Naval Base.

Yep, would have done you good…as for the ability of LRT to solve the congestion in an entire region that was never the promise…the rail investment is usually intended to deal with congestion along a specific corridor, but more importantly it’s designed to give people more choices and direct development in a way that supports its use. The irony between roads and rail is that we want rail to encourage development that translates to more ridership. You add capacity to a highway and the development that it generates just generates more trips that congest the road that much faster and after a couple of years you’re back to the same congestion.

“smart growth” zealots can move one step closer to their dream of having everyone in the state living in a few scattered Megalopolis cities

I knew I wouldn’t have to wait too long for the tinfoil hat crowd to show up…smart growth is just that…trying to be “conservative” and smart. You want smaller government then let’s start by developing in ways that require less goverment expenditure to support. The greatest lost opportunity for conservativism has been the loss of community…brought about largely by the mass exodus into the suburbs and beyond, moving further and further away from one another and by the resulting loss of freedom by increasing our dependency on general motors to provide a vehicle and the government to build a road…the ultimate conservative freedom is not a car, or a bus or a train but your own two feet but that assumes you can actually find somewhere to walk.

ironmarshal on April 15, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Some MPOs, Portland and Seattle come to mind, are not afraid to tell you that the objective of their “light rail” is to make roads more congested to teach people the correct way to commute. The Twin Cities light rail was famous for creating a major vehicle congestion increase not only because of eliminated roads, but throwing a wrench into signal coordination. Any remotely knowledgeable traffic engineer could have predicted this, but it was ignored. And of course, congestion = emissions =/= “sustainability”.

Light rail, density, new Urbanism, walkable communities, etc. are the policies of Ivory tower-ers seeing the American people as livestock that must be packaged as efficiently as possible, to produce wealth to be appropriately redistributed.

Transpo on April 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Here’s a book by that wonderful small-government conservative Cass Sunstein endorsing the fascist dreams of a good old-fashioned “nudge,” courtesy of a jackboot to the backside:

http://www.amazon.com/Nudge-Improving-Decisions-Health-Happiness/dp/014311526X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334516705&sr=1-1

ebrown2 on April 15, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I knew I wouldn’t have to wait too long for the tinfoil hat crowd to show up…smart growth is just that…trying to be “conservative” and smart. You want smaller government then let’s start by developing in ways that require less goverment expenditure to support. The greatest lost opportunity for conservativism has been the loss of community…brought about largely by the mass exodus into the suburbs and beyond, moving further and further away from one another and by the resulting loss of freedom by increasing our dependency on general motors to provide a vehicle and the government to build a road…the ultimate conservative freedom is not a car, or a bus or a train but your own two feet but that assumes you can actually find somewhere to walk.

ironmarshal on April 15, 2012 at 3:04 PM

“Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VIII, “Speech to One Hundred Fortieth Indiana Regiment” (March 17, 1865), p. 361.

Fascistic nonsense, the government cannot create organic community, only voluntary association can. Under a system of true liberty, you are free either in suburbs or the city, but you are also responsible for the personal outcomes of your choices. Keep your in loco parentis evil to yourself and find someone to wipe your nose for you, Punky Brewster, it’s attitudes like yours that spawned the evils of Obama and his kin.

ebrown2 on April 15, 2012 at 3:18 PM

the ultimate conservative freedom is not a car, or a bus or a train but your own two feet but that assumes you can actually find somewhere to walk.

ironmarshal on April 15, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Everyplace is within walking distance…..if you have the time.

Solaratov on April 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Why do you hate trains?

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM

They don’t go where I want to.

RickB on April 15, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Ed acts like the restaurant owners are entitled to have roads leading to their restaurants. That’s absurd.

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM

and red herr acts like taxpayers, and taxpaying busieness should simply shut up and submit to their superiors in the all mighty government…

Good God.. you DO NOT FORFEIT YOUR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH JUST BECAUSE THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT HAS MADE A DECISION..

People can speak out when they believe the city has made a stupid decision, surely you aren’t saying they do not?

mark81150 on April 15, 2012 at 4:05 PM

You are trying to tell me that when this guy opened up 2 years ago, he had no idea of what was planned for the location? I’m sorry for the guy but this is self-inflicted.

DaveO on April 15, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Did it take two years for them to start building? That doesn’t speak very well of government efficiency, does it?

gryphon202 on April 15, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Absolutely. Everything government touches ends up costing more and producing less.

However, the business owner took a risk that the project would not come to fruition and/or he would be able to ride it out. He lost. Tough break, but I don’t think he has anyone to blame.

DaveO on April 15, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Same thing happened in downtown Houston a number of years back. Light rail construction killed a few blocks of stores and restaurants – some of those spaces are still black. Likewise in Washington DC, in streets where they used trench and cover to build the subway, businesses were killed. Especially since, in both cases, the streets were blocked for much longer than the government planned. (Shocking, huh?)

Over50 on April 15, 2012 at 4:28 PM

THIS Government is run by THE UNIONS!!

HERE is the Union Message To Their Goverment Toadys and The People:

YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!! YOU BETTER FREAKIN’ GIMME THE UNIONS OUR MONEY!! WE’RE SHOVIN’ PEOPLE AROUND!!

williamg on April 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Light rail is awesome how awesome is it?

In st louis they ran it from the ghetto to the nicest mall. In a year stores were closing and they had to institute all sorts of rules. The animals ran it into the ground.

tom daschle concerned on April 15, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Why do you hate trains?

Rusty Allen on April 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM

As a former resident of NYC, I can tell you that I love trains (the NYC Subway System). However, I don’t live in NYC anymore (my love of the subway doesn’t counterbalance all the rest of the crap that socialists impose upon you there), and I don’t like government imposing a solution which doesn’t make sense. I work in Austin, TX., and when they opened their light rail system, the system was carrying less than 800 riders per day; today, that’s up to 1800 riders per day. Seems pretty pricey for a cost north of $110 million.

El Salsero on April 15, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Over50 on April 15, 2012 at 4:28 PM

I live in the Houston area and can testify that the construction phase was a nightmare. I can also say that I’m a regular and devoted user of both the bus lines and the light rail. My car I use when I’m in the suburbs where I live. When I go downtown, however, I promise you I don’t drive my car. Cars are killer in downtown. You ether need to have ALL business conducted within two blocks of where you park or you need pay a fortune in parking fees and spend inordinate amounts of time locating new parking between each place you stop. I might take my car for a one stop likke jury duty but would have to have a very very heavy counter reason to do so.

In my situation the mass transit has meant both more frequent trips downtown and more money spent there. The busloads I ride with from the suburbs suggest I’m not alone.

dieudonne on April 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Cincinnati LEADERS are all excited about getting started on their light rail that mainly goes through the rundown ghetto parts of town, up a steep-ass hill, and through the already congested streets downtown. Duke Energy is not wanting to pay the estimated $8 million to move all of their underground utilities. Taxpayers will be screwed on this lark, just like they did with the stadiums.

ammo john on April 15, 2012 at 5:01 PM

williamg on April 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

I would normally suggest a nice cup of tea and a power nap but you seem very excited. There is a whole family of benzo drugs out there that can help with this level of tension.

dieudonne on April 15, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Progress, things change. Businesses go out every day for different reasons, that should stop development? Probably not.

damian1967 on April 15, 2012 at 5:31 PM

and red herr acts like taxpayers, and taxpaying busieness should simply shut up and submit to their superiors in the all mighty government…

Good God.. you DO NOT FORFEIT YOUR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH JUST BECAUSE THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT HAS MADE A DECISION..

People can speak out when they believe the city has made a stupid decision, surely you aren’t saying they do not?

mark81150 on April 15, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Surely I’m not. Perhaps you’re mixing up my posts with someone else’s?

red_herring on April 15, 2012 at 5:42 PM

For people who claim to be so future forward, Democrats sure love those train. If the buses aren’t full of people why would trains be any different?

Cindy Munford on April 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM

because of the Gov.’s money …. people are able to ride for much less then
what it would actually cost …. so the taxpayer is paying for someone to ride the train ….
Buses are a better anwser …. but they are not cool ….

conservative tarheel on April 15, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Wait a minute…can someone explain to me how 100 yrs ago cities all had street cars and now they are all clamoring for them again using a different name?

Seems to me that the constant here is gov’t.

before:
trolleys bad…bring in buses
now:
buses bad… bring in trolleys

I pass by an old terminus of a late great street car system in Baltimore. There are still rails buried under the streets. At some point you have to ask yourself, how much money do we have to spend on transportation?

Sorry about the Caribe. Hope they find another spot to get back to working for their dream.

JohnnyD on April 15, 2012 at 6:13 PM

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