Louise Erdrich: Southwest commuter rail

  • Article by: Louise Erdrich
  • Updated: August 12, 2013 - 4:31 PM

Some bad ideas have momentum because federal funds are on the line. But this area has a better legacy to protect.

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bleavitAug. 10, 13 6:59 PM

Does the writer know that the legacy of the Kenilworth corridor is a freight rail yard? Tracks have always existed there. This isn't anything new. The trail is relatively recent.

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squareoneAug. 10, 13 7:05 PM

I agree and I am ashamed of the council members who are afraid or unwilling to consider returning to the drawing board with the most up-to-date, vital information in order to build the best SWLRT. Also: 1. Relocation of freight was promised if Kenilworth was to be the chosen path. 2. There are real commuters who use the trail to get to work--not just fun or recreational bikers. 3. Consider the potential damage to the only spring-fed lake remaining in the Chain of Lakes--Cedar Lake, plus Lake of the Isles, the canal that a tunnel would destroy, Lake Calhoun and the Lake Street bridge which would have to be closed for a significant amount of time during construction. 4.Why not build a path from Eden Prairie to Bloomington so commuters from there can connect to the line? I think this is significant: "The SWLRT proposal would utterly disrupt and probably destroy a regional jewel, the Kenilworth Trail, a connector vital to the Cedar Lake Trail — the first federally designated bike highway — which had at least 620,000 users in 2012, likely up to a million, including suburban bicycle commuters." Bravo, Erdrich, for being brave enough to admit your mistakes. I hope the Met COuncil will do the same.

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DLBabatzAug. 10, 13 7:20 PM

This lady is confused. She thinks of it as the Kenilworth Trail that needs to be protected and preserved. What she does not seem to understand is that the Kenilworth Corridor is a RAIL corridor. It is owned by a Rail Authority, not a Park Board. It has always been a rail corridor since long before those neighborhoods were developed. Rail is the primary purpose for this corridor. The bike trail is a secondary use. There are other, feasible, less expensive options to resolve this issue, that provides for each of the competing transportation alternatives.

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polymath234Aug. 10, 13 7:53 PM

Kphillip9, please get some help. As for Ms. Erdrich's beautifully written and accurate essay: bravo! Thank you, Ms. Erdrich, for speaking to the heart of what I also find precious and irreplaceable about this city of lakes and the considerable green investments we've already made. Let's not mess up that legacy.

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mplsdadAug. 10, 13 8:39 PM

Louise mentions that the area has been reclaimed by volunteers and therefore knows the history of freight. She is a regular citizen who cares about Minneapolis and regular citizens have been asked to weigh in. Minneapolis needs to rethink how this serves the urban population. The trail is owned by the Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority and is adjacent to park land and the lake ecosystem. The freight rail and the bike/walking trail are for temporary use but have you seen it- it's a beautiful regional asset. However, there is not room for everything- two Light Rail tracks, the planned heavier freight rail, bike and walking trail. I would gladly keep the freight and leave the trail as it is now. Minneapolis would be better served by putting LR where people live and work and keeping the bike trail, even if we end up keeping freight as it is now.

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mplsdadAug. 10, 13 8:41 PM

Louise mentions that the area has been reclaimed by volunteers and therefore knows the history of freight. She is a regular citizen who cares about Minneapolis and regular citizens have been asked to weigh in. Minneapolis needs to rethink how this serves the urban population. The trail is owned by the Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority and is adjacent to park land and the lake ecosystem. The freight rail and the bike/walking trail are for temporary use but have you seen it- it's a beautiful regional asset. However, there is not room for everything- two Light Rail tracks, the planned heavier freight rail, bike and walking trail. I would gladly keep the freight and leave the trail as it is now. Minneapolis would be better served by putting LR where people live and work and keeping the bike trail, even if we end up keeping freight as it is now.

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lynnejsAug. 10, 13 9:08 PM

In July there was a train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people. This was the worst train crash of its kind in North America in over 20 years. This is an easy example of why the people of St. Louis Park are fighting the train re-route. Our MN&S Line was designed for an electric passenger line, but with its curves could not even handle that traffic. Why anyone would think that it is ok to propose re-routing this freight traffic between our high school, and an elementry school is unbelievable. This whole process has been politics run amok. Both Hennepin County & the Metropolitan Council need to stop their political pandering. The safety of our children, students & residents are more important than Minnepolis's bike trails. The Kenilworth trail is a RAIL corridor, not a city park!

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ckrbkierAug. 10, 13 9:37 PM

Bravo Louise for reminding us all of our responsibility to future generations. I want our legacy to be that we saved a regional green space while demanding that our elected and non-elected (met Council) officials were fiscally and environmentally responsible with their decisions.

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bleavitAug. 10, 13 9:47 PM

@squareone, Your first point: Relocation of freight was promised if Kenilworth was to be the chosen path – If this were true surely there would have been someone who saved the piece of paper this was written on and they would have produced it by now. I do not deny that the good folks in the Cedar Isles Dean neighborhood were probably told this by some politician at some point, possibly during an election cycle. Unfortunately not all politicians are truthful and until I see some type of proof I will file this promise in the deception drawer.

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bleavitAug. 10, 13 9:47 PM

@squareone, Your second point: There are real commuters who use the trail to get to work--not just fun or recreational bikers.- Bicycle commuters could use the existing North Cedar Lake Regional Trail. Also if the trail were to be relocated onto Sunset Blvd, that is just a $50 million option.

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