a.m., folks begin arriving at the other end of the line, including 2-year-old
Leo Galt-McAvey. Wearing a conductor's hat and carrying a toy train car, Leo
arrived at the Target Field light-rail station with wide eyes.
thinks it's going to be a green train," said his mom, Alex Galt. They live
near Lake Street in Minneapolis and look forward to taking train rides to the
Children's Museum in downtown St. Paul.
“This is about re-Twinning the Twin Cities,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, a longtime mass transit advocate. “We are trying to create a transportation system that is going to keep us economically competitive in this century. Connecting these cities is critically important to that.”
Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey, one of several speakers at the Target Field
Station, said: "There will be a person in St. Paul who wants to have fun, for a change" and will ride the Green Line to Minneapolis, and use the train for a sober ride home.
To which Twins president Dave St. Peter said: "There are a few good bars in St. Paul, Jacob, and I've found em all."
Jim Anderson is in the Midway area and caught this scene:
The mood was a bit more sour at Avon Street and
University Avenue, where about a dozen foes of the Green Line and other transit
expansion efforts held signs expressing that opposition.
"Nobody's going to ride it," said Sharon Davis
of Brooklym Park, who was joined by her husband, Denis. The money spent
on Green Line and other projects would be better spent on fixing roads.
"What does this do for me?" She said. "I
need my car."
Almost time to open the #greenline #stgreenline
#stgreenline at Target Field Station
Curt Brown checked out the scene on the University of Minnesota campus:
With all the talk of the Green Line connecting the two downtowns, the line’s service through Dinkytown and the rest of the University of Minnesota campus has been largely overlooked. But they were passing out Goldie Gopher ears as the new line rolled through campus Saturday morning.
At the Stadium Village westbound station, Matt Sheldon of Petaluma, Calif., Matt Sheldon of Portland, Ore., and Joe Vantassel of Springfield, Mass., all hopped on Saturday about 10:40 a.m. The trio are all at the U for the summer doing various research, including engineering walls to withstand earthquakes.
“I need new workout shoes, so we’re going to the Mall,” said Sheldon, who did the online research and told his pals they had to get off at the Downtown East Station so they could switch to the blue line.
Mike Hatzistamoulos has owned The Best Steak House at the
corner of University and Victoria for 27 years. After years of construction,
Saturday was a good day, and he opened an hour early.
During three years of construction, he lost about 20 percent of business, but as construction passed, he regained what he had lost, and has seen a 20 percent surge in business. The restaurant is right by a
“We like to call it the ‘money train,’” he said, chuckling. He’s looking forward to the future with trains passing outside his door.
“When I came here 27 years ago, my friends all said I was crazy, that I was going to get robbed every day or killed on the first day,” he said. “… But we’ve never had a problem in the Steak House. Look at it now, we’ve got light-rail. We’re moving up in the world!”
Jim Anderson found some train fans headed to a train show:
As a former member of the Guardian Angels, Jason Dressen
of St. Paul spent a lot of time patrolling on the Hiawatha Line. But he and his
wife Jessica, were their two children, Victor and Annea, out for their first
train ride on Saturday. "Oh yeah, they've been very excited," he
said. "They're both big train fans."
Doffed in new engineer's caps, the family was headed to
the "Choo Choo Bob" train show at the Hamline Avenue station.
Jason Dressen said he anticipates making good use of the
train, and Jessica Dressen said it will be a great way to get to and from the
St. Paul Farmer's Market. And parking won't be an issue.
Jim Anderson found a protester of the Green Line protesters:
Watching a small group of transit foes demonstrating against the Green Line, Jim Schoettler of St. Paul shook his head. He said he's a staunch Republican who "absolutely supports light-rail and other transit
"It's an investment in our future," he said. "What amazes me about those people is they don't understand how important that investment is to our future."
Along with an efficient means of transit, Light-rail fosters economic growth in multiple ways, he said.
Neither wind nor rain kept our reporter Jim Anderson from tracking train fans:
Len and Mimi Jennings of St. Paul took the inaugural ride on the Hiawatha Line 10 years ago, and braved the driving wind and rain to be part of the new Green Line. They also planned to catch the Northstar commuter train, which they had never done before.
“We’re transit fans,” Mimi Jennings said.
A native of London, Len Jennings said the Green Line has one flaw: “I still think they should have built it underground.” The opening of the Hiawatha Line was a brilliant sunny day, he recalled, which made it easier to carry the festive mood.
With children living in Europe, where using public transit is second nature even for their young grandchildren, the couple hopes to see more transit developed. “We need a complete system,” Len Jennings said. “It’s like when the Interstate system was built. They made a decision, and then
they built it.”