Commuter plans for DMC could implement streetcar, expand subway - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Commuter plans for DMC could implement streetcar, expand subway

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Potential plans for the city of Rochester's infrastructure were presented Thursday at the Destination Medical Center meeting. Imagination met analytics as planners showed the potential blueprints for a growing Rochester.

Bill Anderson said based on market research, Destination Medical Center would encourage thousands of square feet in retail, add 2,000 to 3,000 housing units downtown by 2034, and double the number of jobs.

But all those people have to get to work one way or another.

"One of the ideas we're looking at is to introduce a modern streetcar, which is a city scaled rail vehicle that can operate in the street," said Tom Brennan, who presented his team's ideas for transportation at the meeting.

This streetcar would run east to west down Second Street from Saint Marys Hospital to the downtown Mayo Clinic campus, rather than a shuttle bus between the two.

Running north to south, an underground subway system with people movers much like an airport, all connecting to one hub.

"The underground option is really more focused on a north south connection to downtown," said Brennan. "One of the ideas of the plan is to develop a new inter modal transit center, that would be a hub for local buses as well as regional buses."

This hub could also support the connection to a light rail from the Twin Cities to Rochester.

Yet another plan to revamp Rochester's flow of transportation is a more cycle-friendly downtown.

"A really high quality bike and pedestrian trail that loops the city, that connects all our cultural amenities, neighborhoods people want to be in, that connects the city in a meaningful way," Brennan said. 

Of course these are all ideas until the planning process continues.

In September, teams will present new drafts, coming closer to the day imagination becomes reality.

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