Southwest light-rail plan advances, but without an endorsement

  • Article by: Pat Doyle , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 15, 2013 - 9:15 AM

Transit policymakers avoided taking a stand on light-rail project as the governor prepares to weigh in on talks.

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mchristiOct. 14, 1310:05 PM

Since the tunnels would prove to add so much extra expense and the route is proving to be so politically difficult, maybe it's time to reconsider the route and look again at putting the LRT through Uptown along a route with higher population densities and the ability to attract more riders than just commuters from the suburbs.

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mn2niceOct. 14, 1310:17 PM

I have my doubts as to whether or not turning the tunnel plan over to the full Met Council will result in a deal between Minneapolis and the Council on the matter. The statements coming out of the City Council and the Mayor do not look positive. It is sad that a solution cannot be worked out, because if there isn't the region will face the very real possibility that Federal funding for the project will be lost. It could be taken by the FTA that the state has decided not to build the line. That would seriously jeopardize the region's ability to get Federal funding at any time in the future for any other projects of a transportation nature. That would greatly affect the region's attractiveness to companies considering a move to the Metro and the region's employers from attracting highly skilled talent.

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mn2niceOct. 14, 1310:43 PM

mchristi, In the Draft Environmental Impact Statement Executive Summary, the LRT 3C1 alignment or Uptown alignment (page ES-7; Figure ES-5 on page ES-7) was considered and rejected because of the severe and disproportionate impacts on residences and businesses along the alignment (ES-11 through ES-13). See the core document for further info. This alignment is known as the Nicollet Mall alignment and utilizes the Midtown Corridor where a tunnel would also be built. Both alignments (3C1 or 3A1, which is the LPA) would cause disruption but the 3C1 alignment was noted to cause the most disruption. I would be very surprised if the Uptown alignment was placed back on the table because of the concerns and findings in the DEIS.

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stribreaderzOct. 14, 1311:03 PM

Would you please giveup on uptown. It's not in the cards. That train left the station.

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stribreaderzOct. 14, 1311:06 PM

It's a RAIL corridor with a temporary bike path, not a recreation corridor. Read up on the history of the area.

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jmc2007Oct. 14, 1311:27 PM

i agree mchristi: Uptown makes sense over suburbs. Hennepin needs streetcar/lightrail before suburbs need the 'option' of LRT. But when it's not your money (public dollars) it becomes very easy to ignore common fiscal responsibility and make adjustments (add costs)... plus, whenever public dollars are on the table, all private contractors will charge their highest fees and profits. It's unfortunate that we had one of the best US street car systems until its dismantlement in the 50s. Ha, it was even private (worked on a budget and made money!). Now we're paying enormous inflated costs for a rail line thru suburbs that bypass real density and needs (uptown area). I see automated on-demand google cars/cabs more in use in 20 years around eden prairie than i see LRT. Cheers-

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timby1Oct. 14, 1311:46 PM

The Met Council needs to adopt this proposed plan and route, it accomplishes the greater good. Without taking any property in either Minneapolis or St. Louis Park, the tunnel option will preserve the bike trail, keep 220 LRT trains a day underground through most of the Kenilworth corridor, and establish a commuter line that will move over 12 million passengers a year, providing opportunity and access to all communities along the route (not just well off residents of a certain well-heeled neighborhood.) Sorry Kenilworth, but this is the best alternative for building a major infrastructure system through a built-up metropolitan corridor that will serve our communities for 100 years. We need to now all commit to this route and plan, and try to make it the best line possible with the least negative impacts so we, as a region, can enjoy the benefits of a multi-modal transportation system.

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cl2537Oct. 15, 1312:13 AM

Public transit and public investment in infrastructure to grow cities, I think we can all agree, is sound, if not necessary. The problem with this particular investment is the cost is exceptionally high, $1.55 BILLION, and the ROI [return on investment] for the city is far too low. Too much money for too little reward is the chatter. It's been smelling like a bad project for weeks and we seriously need to step back before we blow so much money. Why pause and re consider how to spend $1.55 billion? The route doesn't serve the city, which is ultimately, the engine of any successful transit system. In this design, the trains will actually, physically bypass the city. It's a bad design, plain and simple. Successful public transit runs through urban density. It's that simple, which makes it easy to be successful; just run it through the city, and you succeed. Why didn't that happen? Lack of political will is one. Yes, building urban infrastructure is tough but quitting on the core principal of a design makes for a project doomed to failure and at $1.55 Billion, you can't be wrong. GOOD DESIGN is creative problem solving and as a designer i haven't seen that with this project. A group of outside urban planners, selected from the best in the world should have been brought in to brain storm the system and put options on the table that would have not only worked but blown us away. Like, "wow, I never would have even thought of that!". Then, a skillful dedicated team put together to make it happen. Instead, it's remained in the hands of a small, provincial, politically hamstrung group of local engineers for decades. No surprise we find ourselves with an unresolved, flawed design that is barely breathing upon arrival and now we have politicians trying to sell us a bad deal that costs a ton of dough. For $1.55 Billion, we can do much, much better. This is throw good money after bad, whether your'e liberal or conservative.

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fatredneckOct. 15, 13 3:00 AM

I don't understand why they want to waste as much money as possible on this when there are cheaper, more obvious options possible.

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neilgdOct. 15, 13 4:03 AM

It's unfortunate that the Uptown route was not the selected route, but it appears now that's never going to happen so just dig the tunnels and let's get this thing moving.

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