Most other US streetcars suck because they implement little or no priority measures, operate in cities that have weak transit systems, and circulate low-population downtown areas. The Nicollet-Central streetcar as currently envisionsed is too short to be successful, but a longer one would take the bulk of current bus rides.
Arterial BRT is nice, but it's not revolutionary. It adds fancy bus stops and prepayment and a simpler service pattern.
If we go with streetcar, it should be a proper one. The true analysis should be between a proper streetcar and a real BRT. These would be much more transformative than either arterial BRT or a mixed-traffic streetcar.
I agree with Tcmetro and Tmart that we need a proper streetcar, one that is protected from cars.
Minneapolis has been an innovator compared to most American cities, and now has (time-limited) dedicated bus lanes on Hennepin. What’s to say they won’t do something similar for this streetcar? Or better?
I thought BRT was suddenly big not because it’s intrinsically great, but because (outstate) conservatives used the idea to kill what we really wanted, which was LRT?
Now, perhaps, we’re a little more sophisticated and can see some uses for BRT, but dense areas like this that literally used to be streetcars deserve to have rail here. A streetcar with at least rush-hour lane protection, if not outright separation, would be much better than BRT. A bus/BRT can be removed or changed at any time, depending on political whims. Rail is forever, and will both help more residents & induce more businesses, as it’s guaranteed customers.
Why have we given up so easily on rail? We need to push harder, not kowtow (or worse, actually believe) the whims of people in the pocket of big oil who are trying to destroy transit.