Trail to link east and west Northfield causes controversy

  • Article by: GRAISON HENSLEY CHAPMAN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 15, 2013 - 2:28 PM

Ballooning costs have alarmed opponents, who say the bicycle-pedestrian Tiger Trail is too expensive.

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steakholderOct. 17, 1311:53 AM

Actually, people who live in viking terrace can walk down the sidewalk along Fremouw Ave, and cross Hwy 3 to reach a sidewalk which will take them all the way downtown. An alternative to the Tiger Trail would have been to put in a stop light at this street. My understanding is that such a project would have cost around half a million dollars. This compares to the $750,000 the city will contribute to the tiger trail, or the overall $2.4 million dollar cost of the trail, which is not certain, as no bids have been received yet.

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steakholderOct. 17, 1312:17 PM

The original grant proposal included a spur of several hundred yards to connect the Tiger Trail to nearby St Olaf Ave. St Olaf Ave is a major route that students from StOlaf college use to get downtown, generally crossing at the stoplight a block south of St Olaf at 2nd street. The use of the TIger Trail by these many students weighed heavily in the grant application, and was included in usage numbers used to justify the project. It is questionable whether college students will walk an additional half mile out of their way to go north to use the Tiger Trail when they can safely cross at a stop light. At the point where the grant application was sent in, the city did not have permission from the railroad whose property would have to be used for this spur, so the spur has been dropped from the project. Without that spur, college students would have to walk down a street with no sidewalk to get to the start of the trail, or walk along the train tracks. This seems to decrease the likelihood of them using the trail in any numbers. In addition, arguments made about the trail increasing safety for college students seems to ignore the fact that it might not be safe for students to use the tiger trail, which goes through a poorly lit and graffiti ridden under pass, at 2:00 am, when they are returning to campus from downtown bars. It's disappointing that part of what was promised in this project failed to materialize, and additionally, if it was still included, the price of that additional trail would obviously have to be added to the current budget estimate of 2.4 million.

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steakholderOct. 17, 1312:21 PM

Ooops I see web links are not permitted. Apologies to the Star Trib. Interested readers should view Northfield News articles regarding recent activities regarding the tiger trail. In particular, one article describes how councilor Erica Zweifel sent out an email to her supporters, including a statement that another city councilor had violated the professional code of conduct for Minnesota attorneys while arguing against the Tiger Trail. In addition, she attached the official complaint form to her email. There is an editorial in the paper condemning her actions, and an additional article describing her apology.

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