Southwest LRT takes step forward with Minneapolis, Met Council agreement

Categories: Transportation

SouthwestLRT.jpg
Images via Met Council and Mulad on Flickr
A prelimary map of the Southwest LRT line's proposed route.
It might not seem like much to those who haven't followed the project closely, but the proposed Southwest LRT line took a significant step forward yesterday with the announcement of an agreement between Minneapolis and the Met Council about how the line will move through Minneapolis.

Minneapolis officials agreed to eliminate an underground tunnel "north of the water channel connecting Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles." That might not be ideal for residents who live in the area, but it saves money and allows a station at 21st Street to be reincorporated as part of the plan. (A tunnel further south remains part of the project.)

See also:
Met Council not concerned about Southwest LRT's exclusion from Dayton's bonding bill


"We had previously designed the shallow north tunnel in response to what we thought we were hearing from the community and city in that area, but it became cost prohibitive," Meredith Vadis, communications director for the Met Council, tells us. "The alignment stays the same -- where the light rail is going to run -- but what changes is north of the channel the light rail will be at grade."

In a statement, Susan Haigh, chair of the Met Council, characterized the agreement as "a path forward to accomplish our mutual goals and to ensure this project gets built as a critical component of our 21st century transit system."

"Not only have we found a means for improving the project for Minneapolis' residents and neighborhoods, but together the city and Met Council will be able to save taxpayers $30 million," she continues. "This is a win-win outcome."

Mayor Betsy Hodges expressed disappointment with the fact the latest plan has both freight rail and LRT moving at grade level through the Kenilworth Corridor, but said things "could have been far worse."

"Governor Dayton is correct: the Kenilworth Corridor will not be the same," Hodges says in the statement. "It could have been far worse, however, if not for the protections secured in this tentative agreement. With freight staying in the corridor, and given the constraints we face, this is the most responsible way to get the project built."

"I expect that and understand why residents along the Kenilworth corridor will be disappointed, but the greater good demands that we seek a path for Southwest LRT to move forward," the mayor continues.

There are still a number of hurdles that have to be surmounted before shovels hit the ground. For one, final approval of the route design is needed from all the involved cities and the Met Council. But yesterday's agreement paves the way for those votes to take place before Labor Day.

There's also the question of how much federal funding will be available.

(For more, click to page two.)




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43 comments
Paris Magee
Paris Magee

All successful cities have reliable public transportation available. There's a little saying about being a one horse town.

Doug Black
Doug Black

Wonderful, enough with the NIMBY!

Chelsea Odegarden Dropps
Chelsea Odegarden Dropps

I would use the hell out of this train. Living in near Eden Prairie, going to school downtown STP, and working downtown mps. Sorry it's not perfect for everyone but it works great for many others

Timothy Allen
Timothy Allen

The Kenilworth Corridor may not technically be park board land, but it IS the 2nd busiest bike trail in a city which, until very recently, prided itself on being bicyclist friendly. Its a shame your employer has decided to destroy it in favor of suburban/exurban interests :(

Timothy Allen
Timothy Allen

David, while a streetcar line along the greenway has been proposed and has the backing of the midtown greenway coalition, it is NOT a part of this project and it is probably a good decade from construction.

David L. Caruso
David L. Caruso

Uptown will get a streetcar line, not LRT... much more practical for the neighborhood

Don Ball
Don Ball

I'm all for it, providing it doesn't take 2 hrs to ride from end to end. The 45-min runtime of the newest line is not too encouraging.

Greg Rasmusson
Greg Rasmusson

What a waste of tax payers money this will be just another unsafe LRT as the rest have been.

Emily Getty
Emily Getty

The Kenilworth Corridor is NOT a park. It has park-like qualities, but it is and always has been a transit corridor.

sota767
sota767

Good thing it's going through a forest instead of Uptown where people actually live and could use it.

Paul Clark
Paul Clark

I'm excited for this branch into the suburbs. I would put it to use. And there are plans for a "street car" (but really light rail) along the greenway that would presumable connect to other lines. Research was done investigating routing it through uptown and it was too cost prohibitive. But we have thousands that commute down town and plenty who will, I think, use a proper line that runs frequently and doesn't cost $20 a day to ride.

Spencer Green
Spencer Green

it is very unfortunate that the proposed route has to cut right through Opus Hill - a beautiful wooded area that is home to a lot of wildlife, gives song birds a safe home and is enjoyed by a lot of people who live in the area. Something also tells me that is would be cheaper to develop the route along the existing roads rather than to bulldoze acres of untouched forest.

Jolanta Kissoon
Jolanta Kissoon

It would be fantastic to run a line through the inver west saint paul and so saint paul eagan area.

Robert Svaia
Robert Svaia

Can't wait to catch the train in a forest. Seriously people? With 80% of the ridership coming from uptown, don't you think it will make financial sense to build a tunnel or elevated rail through the area? Minneapolis is still stuck in it's suburban planning standards thinking that light rail is the same thing as a commuter line.

Jon Rrmc Wiswell
Jon Rrmc Wiswell

You're all going to love meeting all the North Siders riding the train.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

I didn't know that there was that many Somali's / Mexicans / Hmong / Thugs / Baby Mama's that lived in EP who want to take this LRT line.

Looks like about 16 miles long, with 18 stops.  Why that's gonna be bullet train!

dave2
dave2

With all the accidents that have occurred on the Blue line, and now on the Green line too, the engineers need to find a way to avoid tangles with automobiles. They can't just keep blaming the car drivers.  Otherwise, sooner or later, some "deep pockets" is gonna hire a "Perry Mason" and go for a class action lawsuit that opens the door for everyone to sue the involved communities. Best to find out how to do that before they build a third car mangler.  



kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

Yeah, folks in EP are gonna park their Escalades to hop on a stupid Cho Cho to ride around with a bunch of Democrat dependent voters.  Not. 

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

this is not for the greater good. 


what am i supposed to do when i get to eden prairie, walk miles to my destination?

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@sota767 Yup, should have just run it right down Excelsior and Lake. Then we could be rid of all those pesky cars.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

"use a proper line that runs frequently and doesn't cost $20 a day to ride." 

Everyone wants a subsidy! OPM (Other Peoples Money) is the way to go.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Truth_Teller_1 You keep believing whatever you want, Kenny.  The train is much nicer without you on it.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

@kurt124 What's a Cho Cho? I mean, I know what a choo choo is, but I'm a little lost on the definition of a Cho Cho.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@kurt124 

Boy it must really burn your ass that this "choo choo" continues to exceed projected ROI.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

@digitalprotocol This is my question, as well. I live in Uptown and work in Eden Prairie. How am I going to get to my office from the light rail?

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

@digitalprotocol There is no destination in EP.

When your arrive you could steal a car. Rob someone's home.   Then drive back to Norf Minneapolis and dump the car there.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@OlWillyClinton ya i work in EP too and live near uptown - too bad you cant even get on the train in uptown. 


i guess ill have my neighbor drive me to penn, then i will ride train for 1.5 hrs and have my boss pick me up at the transit station!

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

@Truth_Teller_1 Yes, there is, Kenny. The Southwest Transit Station is in Eden Prairie. You really need to start doing research before you comment. Both of your accounts have trouble with facts.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@CinBlueland @_Joe_ @kurt124 

No LRT track yet?  Huh?

The original line continues to exceed projected ROI, and by all indications, the new Green Line is going to do the same.

dennylbell
dennylbell

@digitalprotocol Get to hennepin/uptown Transit Station, Take a 6 towards downtown, get off at the warehouse district / hennepin light rail station, take the green / southwest line west to eden prairie. Service should be pretty good when it's done.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

@OlWillyClinton "Southwest Transit Station"  Fancy name for a parking ramp and a bus stop.

So this is how it's supposed to work?: People in EP drive to the parking ramp, and take the LRT into downtown. Then what? - they are atleast 6-8 blocks from center city.   Are they going to take a bus to their final destination downtown?   I can see there people really lovin' a 75 to 90 minute commute one way.

I don't see people going the other way to EP.  What would they do once they are in EP?  Walk?  Skateboard? to their destination.

Additionally, the folks in EP still need a car, and car insurance, and maintenance.   Sounds like we are going to subsidize these folk's ride to downtown?  Why?   They can afford to pay full fare.

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