I crossed University Avenue to get on the Green Line at the Raymond Avenue station with a friend the other day. We were catching a downtown Minneapolis bar’s happy hour. During the twenty minute ride to the Warehouse District, we chatted, not worrying about stop lights, reckless drivers or navigation errors.
The Green Line, the first Minneapolis-St Paul inter-city connecting line since the removal of the street car system in the 1950s, runs from Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, around the State Capitol, down University Avenue, through the University of Minnesota campus, into the heart of downtown Minneapolis, and ending near Target Field.
Aside from being a convenient transportation between traffic congested downtowns, the Green Line is spurring economic development for those with more soporific tastes. Surly Brewing Company, Urban Growler Brewing Company, and Bang Brewing Company all have either opened or are planning to open tap rooms and separate breweries since the Green Line was announced.
Although these hoppy creations may have a limited appeal to those outside of the craft beer community, they are a rich example of the kinds of economic development that has become the story around the Green Line. St. Paul Midway, where Urban Growler and Bang are located, is looking to become a hot spot for craft beer enthusiasts.
Likewise, other areas on the new Green Line will show increased development. With greater daily ridership than expected, more and more Minnesotans are not just going from Point A to Point B, but everywhere in between.
Revitalizing the Green Line’s adjacent community serves broad public and private interests. Beer-drive growth is just the tip of the iceberg but it reflects what transportation innovation and investment can yield. Pay attention because Minnesota’s oldest commercial route is reinventing itself yet again, right before our eyes. That’s the best kind of happy hour.