St. Paul Drivers: A Hidden Obstacle for the Green Line

[caption id="attachment_273635" align="aligncenter" width="570"]Light-rail operater navigates University Avenue - Photo by Michael Hicks Light-rail operater navigates University Avenue - Photo by Michael Hicks[/caption] The worst drivers of our great state are on the prowl in St. Paul. It's a proven fact! There's a convergence of confusing non-grid-like streets, funky intersections and poor winter-time plowing. The great Pigseye secret is that locals don't follow the suggestions of their own traffic signals. The Green Line is learning this the hard way. In the first days of its public operation, the light-rail connecting the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul has been experiencing some significant hiccups. These hiccups have not been of its own doing either -- they are purely the result of St. Paul drivers. On the opening weekend (when tickets were free and crowds were large), the Pioneer Press reports that a car managed to get stuck on the tracks near the capitol. (I suspect they thought it was a parking spot.) This unfortunate event delayed the trains for around 30 minutes. By Monday evening the first crash occurred: a St. Paul driver at Hampden and University ran a red arrow turning left directly into the train's path. I guess maybe flashing lights and bells aren't enough? The train was able to leave 15 minutes after the collision and no major injuries were reported (but the driver did receive a citation). The most significant delay came from a mysterious traffic signal failure which slowed the morning commute. MPR explains that as early as Friday St. Paul drivers were smashing into signal poles. At least two signal poles were damaged enough to force Metro Transit to add additional trains to maintain their ten minute frequency. It might be wishful thinking to assume that things will get better for the line. Maybe Minneapolis should start giving away driving lessons (though we're not much better).   Photo by: Micheal Hicks

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