At Minnesota Capitol, loss of beauty is the price paid for progress

This picture, tweeted by the Minnesota House Information Services folks is a reminder that the centerpiece of some of the most beautiful views in Saint Paul is going to be a little ugly for awhile.

A new, temporary (if you consider three years temporary) parking lot is being built for all of the construction equipment that will be needed for the renovation of the magnificent building.

It has to be done, but watching the destruction of the beautiful lawn that frames the Capitol is still tough to watch.

Some views haven’t been temporarily damaged.

The view up Saint Paul’s Cedar Street toward the Capitol was near inspiration. With the dawn of the light-rail days, not so much anymore.

(MPR photo)

Even as it delivers a needed economic shot in the arm, we have to accept a certain aesthetic blight with light rail.

And even driving from the east on Interstate 94, the view of the Capitol has been partially obscured by the new high-rise buildings around Regions Hospital.

It is the price we pay — an acceptable price — for progress. We’ll get used to it.

  • Rachel

    Totally disagree that a view with light rail infrastructure present is blight. Why are transit vehicles and power lines any less attractive than a street filled with personal vehicles and stop lights?

  • DavidG

    I Don’t know. I kind of like the look of the light rail infrastructure. Kind of gives downtown St Paul even more of that “old European city” feel/look.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    When they had to re-do the MnDOT building’s exterior a few years ago they also parked the equipment on part of the lawn and tore it all up. This is probably better.

  • Jamison S.

    I have to agree with Rachel and DavidG. I like the look of the light rail lines and don’t find them distracting.

  • Jack Ungerleider

    I’d like to see the Cedar St view circa 1930. I suspect there were similar overhead trolley lines then.