Ramsey County History Spring 2023 – People Mover
Volume 58, Number 1: Spring 2023
A Slow Track to Nowhere
St. Paul’s Downtown People Mover
Author: Matt Goff
In 1976, the federal government selected St. Paul as one of four US demonstration cities, along with Cleveland, Houston, and Los Angeles, to receive funding for a fixed-guideway transit system. Many city leaders, legislators, and residents imagined a promising Downtown People Mover (DPM) shuttling busy riders from the capitol building to the soon-to-be built Town Square complex and on to Lowertown. The DPM could help advance city development, create jobs, reduce traffic congestion, and make travel fast and efficient. But after four years of planning, considering routes, estimating and re-estimating costs, and endlessly debating the pros and cons, voters had had enough. It would take thirty-four years before a different shuttle system—the METRO Green Line would open, transporting people between Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Image from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 22, 1977