Bottineau LRT: Maybe we don’t have the right route yet

The corner of Broadway and Penn

Like a car caught in a rush-hour traffic jam, the proposal for a new west-metro light rail route will nudge ahead on Tuesday afternoon.

That’s when the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners (meeting as the Regional Rail Authority) votes to approve the LPA, or Locally Preferred Alternative, for the Bottineau Transitway, which would stretch from the baseball stadium in downtown Minneapolis out to the northwest suburbs.

The plan started its journey back in 2008, and nobody knows whether — or when — it will win all the approvals it needs to get to its goal. Think Met Council, state Legislature, and Federal Transportation Administration, each of which have to endorse the project before a worker digs the first shovelful of dirt.

“It’s a ridiculously long process,” says Mike Opat, chair of the Hennepin County Board. “But that’s what you have to go through if you want the feds to come up with almost $1 billion.” True enough. No pro football team is standing by with a checkbook.

Through the years, several routes have been under consideration. After a kind of “scoping out” process, Hennepin County, which is taking the lead in developing the line, considered four alternatives (PDF), says Brent Rusco, Bottineau Transitway Study Manager.

In Minneapolis, the so-called D1 option would meander west of Penn Avenue and then travel alongside the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train track to zip through Golden Valley.

The D2 option would veer into the Northside along Penn and then turn left until it got to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale. At the other end, Option A would take a hard left to Maple Grove, while Option B would instead head north to Brooklyn Park, ending at the Target campus on 97th Avenue.

The Maple Grove versus Brooklyn Center dilemma seems to have solved itself. Maple Grove didn’t really want the LRT, and the Target campus is slated to become a large employment center.

But the D1 and D2 options were more problematic. “Both had benefits, and both had challenges,” says Rusco. “We struggled with the choices.”

Nevertheless, a few weeks ago, a policy advisory committee voted to endorse B in Brooklyn Park and D1 through Golden Valley. So far, almost all the communities involved — Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center, Robbinsdale and Crystal — passed resolutions of support. The one holdout is Golden Valley, whose city council rejected the plan in a 3-2 vote.

In a letter to the county, Golden Valley let loose with a volley of “concerns:” The route would pass through park land; the planned station would sit on Wirth Avenue, destroying a natural setting; there are no park-and-ride facilities; the city would need to hire more police and build more sidewalks, and so on and so forth.

In a classic demonstration of NIMBY-tude, one council member suggested that the train go through North Minneapolis, where it might generate more economic activity.

Golden Valley’s “no” vote doesn’t doom the project. But at a certain point, says Opat, “everybody will have to get comfortable with it.”

In fact, all the parties will have to consent. Otherwise, the Met Council and the federal government will be unlikely to let the project proceed. Opat added, “We’re a little disappointed. I think Golden Valley should have a broader view of the city.”

Maybe so, but when I drove out to the area to take a look, I had my own doubts. I grew up on the Northside, and my friends and I had played alongside that selfsame railroad track. (We obviously weren’t very bright.) I ran my sled into a tree in front of the chalet at Wirth Park, and my dad gave me my scary first driving lessons on curvy Wirth Parkway. 

Since those ancient days, the park hasn’t changed much. If anything, it’s lusher and more verdant than I remember. And looking at the intersection of Wirth and Golden Valley Road, which would be the major LRT stop in North Minneapolis (the other is at Olson Memorial Highway and Penn Avenue), I had to wonder how it could possibly become a transportation hub.

Bottineau Transitway
Courtesy of Hennepin County

As the Golden Valley City Council complained, there won’t be any park-and-ride areas; the county is expecting people to take buses — and possibly trolley cars — to catch the train for the city. Somebody will have to show me how buses and a train station would not seriously uglify this area. 

So what about the North Minneapolis route? It would travel up Penn, with stops at Plymouth and Broadway.

Well, Northsiders were not necessarily any more eager than Golden Valley folks to have a train running up a major street. Raymond Dehn, an architect (and now a candidate for state representative), co-facilitated discussions among residents for the Northside Transportation Network, a grass-roots group. “There wasn’t a consensus,” he says. “Half wanted it on Penn, and half didn’t.”

It’s easy to see why.

First of all, houses all along the west side of Penn would have to be demolished to make way for the train — and for vehicle traffic. Taking people’s homes, no matter how much you pay for them, is pretty drastic. Homeowners on the east side of the street would also face an unappealing future: a view from their front windows of train tracks. Not good.

What’s more, the broad swath of a trainway would slice the neighborhood in two, making one side inaccessible to the other. For a neighborhood wracked by poverty, predatory lending, abandonment and a tornado, such a gaping wound could be devastating.

On the flip side, the train would probably spur some economic development. Three corners of the intersection at Broadway and Penn are pretty derelict; Plymouth and Penn is also bare, except for the offices of the Urban League. Construction of a train station in either place would likely encourage new stores for commuters — dry cleaners, groceries, pharmacies, maybe even a restaurant, all badly needed on the Northside.

I would tell Hennepin County to come up with another route, but that would be a presumptuous suggestion coming from somebody who hasn’t spent four years studying the project up, down and sideways.

It’s really a Hobbesian choice. Usually, when confronted with such a quandary, I ask myself the question that always brings about a quick decision: Which would you choose if you had a gun to your head?

In this case, even staring right down the barrel, I’m not sure what I’d do.

Comments (36)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 06/26/2012 - 10:29 am.

    The North route is better

    Let’s make the train go somewhere, rather than through nothing. North Minneapolis suffers because it lacks connectivity to the rest of the city. This is going to be an irritation for the few dozen people who lose their homes and a huge boon for the other tens of thousands living in the neighborhood.

  2. Submitted by Tony Zimmerman on 06/26/2012 - 11:04 am.

    What I don’t get is why don’t we have LRT running down the center/next to major highways like in Chicago. If we’re going to spend money, let’s do it right. There should be a train running down the center of 62, 35W, 12/394, and 494 in the south & west metro. Each have near or above 100K+ cars a day driving on them. Put park and ride stations at the major intersections with stops at every couple of major streets – Penn, France, 169, 100, etc.

    • Submitted by David Greene on 06/26/2012 - 05:41 pm.

      Economic Development

      Putting a train in the middle of a freeway does nothing for economic development. Across the country we have seen a 3-5x return on investment on LRT due to the private economic development it spurs. That’s why we don’t put them in freeways.

  3. Submitted by Pat Backen on 06/26/2012 - 11:34 am.

    North Route Option

    The North option would take another dozen homes in Robbinsdale, the route would turn a quiet neighborhood into a transit way and access to 20% of the city would be limited to one street.

    The fact that the North route is also 90 million dollars more then the D1/rail corridor option (nearly 10% of the total) was missed in this article, and can not be ignored. When the proposal makes it to Washington, it certainly won’t be.

    The North side is very well served by transit, and the addition of circulators and feeder lines to the light rail line will further enhance options for residents.

    As for potential economic development, a trip to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood along the Hiawatha line will show that the presence of a light rail does not automatically mean new development.

    • Submitted by David Greene on 06/26/2012 - 05:44 pm.

      North Side Transit

      > The North side is very well served by transit,

      Hah! Ask anyone who lives there what they think.

      North Minneapolis is one of the worst-served parts of the city. It and Northeast are certainly at the bottom. These places also have the most transit-dependent populations.

      > a trip to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood along the Hiawatha line will show that the presence of a
      > light rail does not automatically mean new development.

      The Cedar-Riverside station was never meant to spur economic development because there is already high density there. Other stations are indeed binring new development. 38th, 46th, 50th, VA and Bloomington Central all have significant development projects near them. That in spite of the fact that Hiawatha was actually implemented pretty poorly in terms of encouraging economic development.

      Central Corridor is already bringing new investment in University Avenue and it’s two years away from opening.

  4. Submitted by Stephen Dent on 06/26/2012 - 11:48 am.

    D1 – The Golden Valley route is the right choice

    First, as a resident of Golden Valley I am extremely disappointed in the three council members that voted against the light rail line – Joanie Clausen, DeDe Scanlon and Paula Pentel voted no, while the recently elected mayor, Seth Harris and Mike Freiberg voted for the light rail. In contacts with Council member Clausen, I received vague responses as why the three members voted no based mostly on unstated “concerns.” Not a very satisfying response, in my opinion.

    I, too, have “concerns” and that is if the leadership of Golden Valley (Population 20,000) continue to obstruct a major piece of transportation infrastructure, Golden Valley will be left out in the cold, transportation-wise, and become a less desirable place to live. Less desirable always equals less real estate taxes and businesses. Already traffic on 394, now during most of the day, is congested. And while Olsen Memorial (HWY 55) may be better, it still is very congested. Also, with Plymouth, just to the west of Golden Valley, and a population of nearly 75,000, it makes sense commuters will get to the station via Hwy 55 and take the train into town. Add the people from St. Louis Park, who may want to also take the train, there is a population of more than 100,000 who would likely use a Golden Valley station, while they would probably not go to Broadway and Penn and take the train into the city. As for the additional police, cited by one council member, doesn’t the Metro Transit have their own police force?

    Perhaps a park and ride, which I understand is a possibility, would mollify the obstructing Golden Valley council members. But regardless, removing Golden Valley from the metro transits light rail network would be a huge mistake and our politicians need to think hard about the future of the city rather than whatever their immediate NIMBY-needs might be.

    • Submitted by Larry Miller on 06/27/2012 - 01:24 am.

      People from SLP park might want to use it why?

      There is a corridor planned to go SW through St. Louis Park why would we take your train? Your argument makes no sense.

      • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 06/27/2012 - 11:59 am.

        Perhaps you should check out a map

        “There is a corridor planned to go SW through St. Louis Park why would we take your train? Your argument makes no sense.” – – – Perhaps you should check out a map…they is plenty of St. Louis Park that would be closer to a Golden Valley station than the planned SW Corridor route, which I think will run southwest along Minnetonka Blvd. Yes, my argument does make sense, but perhaps not to you.

        • Submitted by Larry Miller on 06/27/2012 - 09:12 pm.

          Just looked at the map of the SW corridor

          The suggested SW corridor does not go along Minnetonka Blvd, as you falsely state above. It follows the rail line that goes parallel to highway 7 through the heart of St. Louis Park towards Hopkins. Even on the D1 rail you misrepresent the path as only being in Wirth Park at the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Wirth Parkway. The D1 corridor goes along the east side of the park before taking a left turn to meet the above intersection. Since there is no park and ride planned for the Wirth Parkway and Golden Valley road, which would be the closest stop to St. Louis Park on D1, there is no way that people from St. Louis Park would use the D1 line. Perhaps you should buy a map.

          • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 06/28/2012 - 09:05 am.

            Some comments…

            First, let me be clear…I did not falsely state anything – I said “I think”. I checked a map of the SW line and it runs directly south of Hwy 7 up to the Woodlake station where it takes a decided turn to the southwest.Here’s the map provided by the Metro Council.

            http://www.metrocouncil.org/transportation/SW/SWLRTMap.gif

            You stated:- – – “Even on the D1 rail you misrepresent the path as only being in Wirth Park at the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Wirth Parkway.” I “misrepresented” nothing of the sort. The D1 route leaves Penn Ave; and briefly goes through Wirth Park between Glenwood and Hwy 55. From there it runs along the east side of Bassett Creek Trail and east of the park, where freight trains already run, ending up at the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Theodore Wirth Parkway.

            You stated: “Since there is no park and ride planned for the Wirth Parkway and Golden Valley road,…”
            While there is currently no plan of a park and ride at the Golden Valley station, that point is up for discussion with Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council and can be negotiated into the plan.

            You stated: “there is no way that people from St. Louis Park would use the D1 line.” – – – This is pure speculation on your part. You really have no idea whether or not people from St. Louis Park would use a Golden Valley station or not. I merely suggested they would.

            This whole conversation is interesting. You started posting one day ago and only on this topic. Why do you care about the Golden Valley station if you live in St. Louis Park? Are you connected to one of the politicians of whom I am critical?

            Your intent seems to be to discredit me by “putting words into my mouth” and distorting my post. I wonder why?

            • Submitted by Larry Miller on 06/28/2012 - 05:41 pm.

              You discredit yourself.

              It is you that speculated that I would support the D1 line as a citizen of St. Louis Park because I would like to drive miles out of my way to use it. You also suggested that SW corridor ran on the road I live next to, so your lack of research brought me into your argument. My repeated stated reason for my interest is because I use the park, which was the main argument for my post “Please choose D2”. I do also know some small business owners in North Minneapolis which I would like to support. Note, I also use the bike trail that goes along Basset Creek, so I am very familiar with the route and its beauty. It is rare for a city of our size to have such beautiful trails attached to a park as beautiful as Wirth Park. It would be more than a shame to put the park at risk when there is a much better option on the table. You mention the freight line, there is big difference between a freight train that runs perhaps once or twice a day and a commuter train that runs every half hour or 15 minutes and that line runs along the east side of the park. Also if you were to get your park and ride at Wirth Parkway and Golden Valley Road, where do you think the land would come from? Most likely the park.

              While I am at it, I have also biked up Wirth Parkway to Golden Valley Road, it is quite steep, if you do not believe me try biking it yourself. While not an engineer I think this climb could be tricky and possibly dangerous with our winters. Questions?

              • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 06/29/2012 - 11:21 am.

                Again, Larry, you’re far too literal

                You stated: – “It is you that speculated that I would support the D1 line as a citizen of St. Louis Park because I would like to drive miles out of my way to use it.” – Actually Larry, I never suggest that you personally would drive out of your way to use the Golden Valley station – I suggested that there are folks that live in St. Louis Park that might. Neither one of us can know the answer until a station is built.

                You stated: “You mention the freight line, there is big difference between a freight train that runs perhaps once or twice a day and a commuter train that runs every half hour or 15 minutes and that line runs along the east side of the park” — .Freight trains are long and noisy and your point of the light rail running more frequently is correct. However, light rail runs on electricity and are more quiet and a lot shorter than a freight train and do not cause the vibrations a freight train causes. I think your point is moot.

                You stated: – “if you were to get your park and ride at Wirth Parkway and Golden Valley Road, where do you think the land would come from? Most likely the park.” – Perhaps, but come on, our park system is huge and the footprint of a station and park and ride not so big. I think there is a balance between maintaining the integrity of our parks and providing people with an alternative to the automobile, which cause huge ecological and atmospheric damage to our planet. It is a small price to pay to get thousands of cars off the road, wouldn’t you agree?

                Finally, I love our park system and bike as much as I can. The Minneapolis/Hennepin County area parks are the crown jewels of our city and I do not want to cause damage to them either. However, in urban areas, we must make trade-offs. People count as well as nature. The suburbs have been pretty much left out of the light rail development until the NW and SW lines get completed. I want Golden Valley, my home, to be included in that development. That is why I am passionate about the Golden Valley stop. We lose that and it will be decades before we have the opportunity to be connect to the light rail network. That will be a loss to the people Golden Valley and beyond.

                Be wishes to you. Thanks for pointing out my minor error in geography and keep on biking.

    • Submitted by Whitney Lawrence on 11/30/2012 - 10:57 am.

      Connecting

      Stephen —

      I saw you quoted in the mpr article at the public hearing on Wednesday in Golden Valley. I work for a transit organization in the metro and would love to connect with you. Please shoot me an email at wrlawrence0164@gmail.com when you have a chance.

      Whitney

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2012 - 11:57 am.

    How long?

    I wonder how long it will take for a Republican to comment on what a waste of money these choos shoos are?

  6. Submitted by Nick Magrino on 06/26/2012 - 12:07 pm.

    Don’t Misuse “NIMBY”

    Golden Valley objecting to the line isn’t a very good example of NIMBYism. The D1 alignment tears up parkland to avoid actual destinations (North Memorial, major North Minneapolis intersections, etc). Who in wealthy Golden Valley are we enticing to try public transit with D1? They still live five minutes from downtown on Highway 55!

    Just like the Southwest Corridor, the Bottineau PAC is just taking the path of least resistance to save a few bucks, shave a few minutes off the ride time for suburban commuters, and permanently exclude actual city dwellers and current transit users. These are decades-long, billion dollar decisions. Can we not make the exact same mistake??

    • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 06/26/2012 - 02:53 pm.

      North Minneapolis already has excellent public transportation with bus lines running up and down north/south streets (Penn Ave N / Lyndale Ave N / Bryant Av N etc) with Lowry and Broadway as east / west connectors. Where public transportation is lacking is in the first ring suburbs. To get to downtown Minneapolis from Duluth and Hwy 100 takes about 40 minutes on a bus that can run as infrequently as every hour.

      I agree the perception is the “wealthy” Golden Valley residents may not take the train, but I wouldn’t count on it since they’ve never had the opportunity.

      But regardless, the general area (Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, Plymouth) that could be served bya Golden Valley light rail station has a potential population of over 100,000 and out of those, I suspect quite a few would take it. Especially if they ran circulator buses from the nearby park and rides to the train stop. Perhaps that’s what some of the politicians are afraid of…people coming to their city.

      • Submitted by Nick Magrino on 06/26/2012 - 10:39 pm.

        North Minneapolis is well served by north/south bus routes, which are decent for moving people from point A to point B (I believe the route 5 bus is the busiest in the city), but do little for economic development. A huge, enormous, gigantic, often over-looked benefit of having these lines is the accompanying development that comes with it. Unlike blowing $250 million on a freeway to Chaska to spur “growth” that then requires further tens of millions in subsidies and is ultimately mostly a Ponzi scheme, building rail in an urban area utilizes infrastructure that’s been there for a century and simply requires people to move back for a decent return on investment.

        Overall, the whole point of building these lines is that people will be able to depend on them in lieu of an automobile. The Twin Cities isn’t Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., and no one from Plymouth is going to drive to a circulator bus to a train station to get downtown when it takes them fifteen minutes on I-94.

        Golden Valley is a first ring suburb in that it was mostly built at the same time as St. Louis Park, Richfield, etc, but planning-wise it has very little in common with them. In St. Louis Park, you can walk down a sidewalk to Minnetonka Boulevard and hop on the 17 to downtown Minneapolis, or down Excelsior Boulevard and hop on the 12 to downtown Minneapolis. That’s not how Golden Valley is built.

        Spending over a billion dollars on a train that will ultimately just be a bunch of park and ride stations is a crummy investment.

    • Submitted by David Greene on 06/26/2012 - 05:50 pm.

      SW LRT is Different

      Bottineau LRT and Southwest LRT are very different beasts.

      The Kenilworth alignment was not only chosen to speed up commuter trips. It was also chosen to serve North Minneapolis! People on the Northside participated in a lot of public and community meetings to make that happen.

      As for Bottineau, it really is a choice between two bad options. A third option preferred by the North Minneapolis community would have run tracks on Penn and Oliver, splitting the north/south service onto different streets. This would have saved the housing and avoided some of the other issues. Another option would have been to close Oliver and put the tracks there. I believe the North Minneapolis community preferred either of those to the chosen Penn route that destroys homes.

      Myself, I am pretty torn. I see advantages and disadvantages to both. Regardless, if we spend $1.2 billion on transit, we had better get improved transit service to those who need it the most. That could take the form of a West Broadway streetcar which in some ways is superior to the LRT option for North Minneapolis. But it, too, has tradeoffs.

      • Submitted by Nick Magrino on 06/26/2012 - 10:46 pm.

        I don’t know how familiar you are with North Minneapolis, but the Royalston station on the Southwest line really isn’t near anything. It’s in the middle of a bunch of light industrial buildings. The premise that we picked Kenilworth over Nicollet to help the Northside seems a little silly.

        I worry that we hypothetically are telling the Northside “hey guys, don’t worry, we’ll skip you with the 1.2 billion dollar rail investment, but we’ll throw a streetcar at you eventually”. Assuming we didn’t totally wipe out our ability to locally fund a streetcar with the stadium, picking West Broadway as our first streetcar line would probably be a terrible decision for the rest of the system.

        • Submitted by David Greene on 06/27/2012 - 10:45 am.

          Northside

          I am very familiar with North Minneapolis, especially the parts SW LRT and Bottineau would serve.

          According to MetroTransit, Royalston is a major bus transfer point TODAY.

          > The premise that we picked Kenilworth over Nicollet to help the Northside seems a little silly.

          No, it’s not. I’m not sure how familiar you are with the area, but currently there is NO reasonable transit service from the Northside to the jobs in the southwest suburbs. That’s why Northside residents wanted the Kenilworth alignment so much. An Uptown route would simply have duplicated service in an already well-served area. No one taking a bus on Nicollet Ave. would leave the bus to hop on a train to get downtown. They’d stay on the bus.

          The SW LRT Van White station is a major target for economic development. There is an entire Basset Creek Valley Master Plan the neighborhoods put together over a decade ago in anticipation of this investment. It is a fabulous plan and I encourage you to become familiar with it. It is one step on the way to pulling communities out of poverty.

          In many ways a streetcar would be better than LRT. It would have more stops, would be of a better scale for the neighborhood and would bring similar kinds of economic development to the area. The big downside of the streetcar is the transfer to/from Bottineau. LRT through the Northside would bring people outside North Minneapolis into the community and that is a big deal. Right now most suburbanites are terrified of North Minneapolis. Experiencing the community as it really is would start to break down barriers.

          It is not a clear-cut choice to me. LRT really would erect physical barriers in the community and it really would disrupt lives. Whether the benefits outweigh these costs, I really don’t know.

  7. Submitted by Adam Miller on 06/26/2012 - 12:56 pm.

    I’ll be presumptuous too

    As I’ve not given this any more thought than this article, but my initial reaction is the northside route is the far better choice.

    As difficult as it may be for those whose property will need to be acquired, transit can be a huge boon to the area. Not only may it spur local development, but it can increase the access of northside residents to jobs across the metro.

    I lived in DC for 11 years. The difference between redeveloping neighborhoods with transit access and those without was stark. This is a huge opportunity for this part of the city. We should be thankful for Golden Valley’s NIMBYism.

  8. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/26/2012 - 02:44 pm.

    The part about clearing out houses puzzles me

    Rail lines in Portland that go through residential areas go down the middle of the street, like a median strip, and building them requires no demolition of houses.

    Perhaps the planners need to go to Portland or other cities with light rail and learn how it really works.

    • Submitted by David Greene on 06/26/2012 - 05:52 pm.

      Traffic

      The problem isn’t the rail. The problem is the existing vehicular traffic on Penn. In order to not have that spill over onto other residential street, Penn would need to be widened.

      Planners looked at other options (running rail on Oliver, for example) but for some reason these were excluded. I don’t know exactly why but I’ll bet cost was a big factor.

      • Submitted by Derek Galey on 06/28/2012 - 05:04 pm.

        Light rail requires road widening- really??

        I must take issue with the determination by planners that putting in transit will require an increase in road width so that all existing capacity for private traffic will be maintained. Aside from the obvious fact that light rail is a (more space efficient) alternative to driving, allowing for a reduction in vehicle traffic while benefitting mobility, road widening projects themselves undermine transit ridership and have been repeatedly shown by empirical research not to reduce congestion. See, e.g., http://www.ejtir.tbm.tudelft.nl/issues/2012_03/abstracts/2012_03_02.

        The goals of accommodating unlimited private car use with minimal traffic (itself ultimately unattainable as sprawl is induced) and creating livable, transit-friendly places are quite simply incompatible, not least because of limited resources, but also because of the character of the space ultimately produced.

        We need to start thinking about transit as a preferable alternative and stop trying to have our cake and eat it too.

  9. Submitted by Alex Bauman on 06/26/2012 - 03:44 pm.

    Maple Grove didn’t really want LRT?

    From a Maple Grove Community News & Voices article dated June 20, 2012:

    Maple Grove City Administrator Al Madsen, on the other hand, said his city was “disappointed” in the outcome. He said that was compounded by the fact that studies predicted the Maple Grove route would be more efficient and have more riders.

    “Sometimes you win, and sometimes we lose, and unfortunately we lost,” he said. “But the route is still going to have a ripple effect into neighboring communities.”

    http://www.pressnews.com/articles/2012/06/22/maple_grove/3bottineautransitupdate.txt

  10. Submitted by Jeanne Weiske on 06/26/2012 - 04:58 pm.

    LRT

    I agree with all those that say this is wrong. Building it down the center of the highways, instead of tearingup old established neigjborhoods, makes a whole lot of sense. So far only the rich suburbs are served by LRT, and the poorer neighborjoods razed or bypassed.

  11. Submitted by Larry Miller on 06/27/2012 - 01:26 am.

    Please choose Line D2

    As a user of Wirth Park, frankly it is becoming over-developed as is, adding Light Rail will certainly do even more damage to this rare gem so close to the city. Recently the park has suffered tornado damage, a mowing down of a beautiful prairie (where I used to go see fireflies), cross country sky trails you could drive a truck through and winding dirt bike trails cutting up a park that used to be able to make a person feel as they have left the city and gone to the cabin for a day. At times you couldn’t even hear the nearby highways but aggressive chopping down of brush has already began to let the noise pollution in, now just imagine a train running through it. When will this idiocy stop? When the park is completely destroyed or no longer has any truly natural areas left?

    It makes no sense to choose D1 when you have businesses along D2 that would love the extra monies a line going by their business could offer. D2 would also make health care more accessible to those who choose not to use a car. I can only think of one reason of why not to choose D2 and it begins with an “R”.

    • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 06/27/2012 - 12:09 pm.

      Theodore Wirth Park is huge….

      Theodore Wirth Park is huge. Taking one small corner of an already busy intersection (AGolden Valley Road and Theodore Wirth Parkway) is not going to damage the beauty and serenity of the park. That argument does not hold water.

      • Submitted by Larry Miller on 06/27/2012 - 08:48 pm.

        The park is not big enough now for the traffic it gets.

        The degradation of the park has already begun and the only reason to choose the D1 track and have a station at Golden Valley Road and Theodore Wirth Parkway is to serve the gated community that has precipitated the downfall of the natural beauty of the park. Frankly, to serve the wealthy instead of the businesses along D2 is an unneeded waste of tax payer money.

        • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 06/28/2012 - 09:28 am.

          Never mind the whole community of Golden Valley…

          Your comment about “serving a gated community…” is so way off base. There are 20,000 residents in Golden Valley alone, not counting Plymouth to the west. While Plymouth is well-served by high end “commuter buses,” Golden Valley and other first ring suburbs, such as St. Louis Park and Edina, do not have access to good public transit. That is probably because when developed, automobiles ruled the world. The time is coming when we (as a nation) can no longer afford a “one car – one passenger” mentality. A light rail network is the backbone and a start to efficient and convenient public transportation system that includes buses, streetcars and circulator buses, such are planned on Nicolett Mall.

          Of course I agree that Minneapolis’ North Side needs help. And I agree light rail is a incubator for new enterprises. Will a light rail re-vitalize the north side? Maybe – Maybe not. It is a complex issue that will not be resolved by putting in a light rail line in at the expense of other communities in the metro area.

          Perhaps if you’re going to rail against the “wealthy,” you should pick on corporations instead. They’re the ones bleeding us.

  12. Submitted by Derek Reise on 06/28/2012 - 05:38 pm.

    One would hope there are better options

    I agree these two don’t sound like ideal options. I’m sure other options have been considered, but I don’t understand why a route along Washington Avenue to Broadway or Washington to Victory/45th Ave wouldn’t work better. Those routes would still be close to the neighborhood (although not through it) and seem like they’d have the space to lay in LRT.

  13. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 06/29/2012 - 09:13 pm.

    Just think of the “outrage” if a conservative used the phrases “gun to your head” and “right down the barrel” in the same article that mentions North Mpls?

  14. Submitted by Jefferey Odegard on 08/30/2012 - 11:21 am.

    Clarification

    When reading this article it would appear to someone who is not familiar with the project that there is going to be a station at the intersection of Wirth Parkway and Golden Valley Road. The station will actually be along the tracks under the bridge between Wirth Parkway and Bonnie Rd. http://www.bottineautransitway.org/library/maps_and_alignments/segment_d1_maps.pdf
    This map shows where the station would be placed.

    Regarding Portland’s LRT. The difference between their LRT and Streetcar system is that a streetcar system is a lighter train and is easily developed with current road configurations. The LRT is heavier and required demolition in order to create right of ways. It wasn’t just easily laid down on existing systems.

    The D1 option offers an existing right of way, the train is already there and the station itself is in an unused portion of the park that currently has rail. I wonder how many people that have stated so many opinions took the time to go to the meetings, offer input, and looked closely at the plans. If you did not participate I urge you to research the line a little more thoroughly and understand why this option was chosen. I attended several meetings that offered videos of station planning and allowed comment from the public. The LRT having a stop at Theodore Wirth Park offers an opportunity to get to the park and partake in the increasing amount of activities it offers.

    On another note, I live in-between the two proposed alignments. I attended the meetings in which the Minneapolis City Council discussed the options and they saw the D1 as a good option because West Broadway Ave is a part of the larger streetcar plan in Minneapolis and could offer connections to these stops along with existing bus routes. Streetcars are easier to implement in existing systems whereas LRT requires demolition and reconfiguration to create right of ways.

    I also use public transportation by choice, I have a vehicle, and I have found, since moving to north Minneapolis, it appears there is a smaller amount of options in north for bus travel. Someone named the lines that run through north Minneapolis but failed to understand the lack of frequency and the distance between the lines compared to those in south Minneapolis. The 14 runs on Golden Valley Road, east-west, until it turns on to Broadway but it only comes every half hour during peak and every hour off peak. The lines that do run north-south are frequent, but there is a mile between Lyndale and Penn and few east-west connections. Most of the routes are focused in the Lyndale area. There is some east-west activity on Broadway but most turn to go north-south around Freemont Ave, just a few blocks down from Lyndale, still a distance from Penn. The 14 again has a few routes that continue west on Broadway but again are infrequent. The 32 on Lowry, the only route that connects north to northeast, runs a limited amount of hours, 6 am – 8 pm, and only on weekdays, providing no access on the weekends. Most access from north-northeast is routed via downtown via a transfer, whereas most buses in south Minneapolis provide access, via one bus route, to all parts of the city.

    I encourage people who are concerned about this to start attending the meetings, become informed on the line, and direct your comments to those who are involved in the project. I have been commenting on the proposal for the last two years, attending meetings and filling out comment cards. I feel the concerns people who will be effected had were addressed and that is why this decision was made.

    Remember, the Hiawatha LRT took over 20 years to be fully implemented and it was lucky to have acquired most of the right of way back in the 1960’s for a purposed expressway. The Bottineau LRT running through neighborhoods would require more acquisition of land and right of ways, would have to reconfigure traffic patterns and would need more room thus requiring widening of the streets. The D1 option uses mostly current rail configurations until it would hit Olson Memorial Highway, which by design would not need any major adjustments to the open area. It is cheaper, logical, and offer a change for fast connection to downtown and the park itself.

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