Monday, January 28, 2013
The Pioneer Press reported that some east metro legislators say their regions are being left out of rail plans. Patch wants to know what you think.
Most of the recent debate over rail has been between those who want to spend more money on light rail and those who prefer spending the money on roads and buses. On Sunday, though, the Pioneer Press had a look at a light issue that hasn’t garnered as much attention: Is the east metro getting its share of rail projects? The paper notes that St. Paul’s only rail line right now is Amtrak and that the city is on track to add just one light rail line, the Central Corridor Light Rail line running between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minneapolis, on the other hand, could someday be the starting point of the Hiawatha, Southwest, Bottineau, Central Corridor and Northstar lines. Some east metro legislators say that’s not fair. State officials and …
Thursday, January 3, 2013
A look at the details for the four light rail projects closest to completion.
Whether you like it or not, light rail is the talk of the metro at the moment. Businesses along the Central Corridor have another year of construction to look forward to. St. Louis Park residents are protesting the proposed relocation of freight rail in respone to the Southwest Transitway project as supporters continue to seek the necessary funding. In Golden Valley, residents are waiting to see what their City Council will do when it comes to supporting a resolution that would send a light rail train through their community. Many Golden Valley residents urged the City Council to vote no on the resolution that would allow more studies to be conducted about the Bottineau Transitway’s locally preferred alternative (LPA). Meanwhile, the …
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
‘So far I have not seen anything that encourages me and my business to look forward to this plan,’ one Mainstreet business owner says.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Editor’s Note: The following guest column comes from Mark Purdy, owner of Blackstone Manor Clock Repair on Hopkins’ Mainstreet. As an owner of a small business in Hopkins, I have an opinion about the effects the Southwest Light Rail Transit project (SWLRT) will have or not have on my business and other Hopkins businesses. The SWLRT is being sold as a good thing for all the citizens and the businesses along the proposed route. So far I have not seen anything that encourages me and my business to look forward to this plan. IF riders get on the train at the far west end and ride the train to work in downtown Minneapolis, what makes anyone think they will get off the train to make a stop to shop? They will not be bringing their shirts to …
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Is it about moving people or developing communities? The answer can affect how residents feel about the proposed projects.
It’s not exactly hard to tell how someone feels about the Southwest Light Rail Transit project. “I would rather use those dollars for improving the highway system we already have in place,” Shakopee Rep. Michael Beard told the Minnesota Daily in January. “It’s not about getting from A to B. It’s about what happens at A and what happens at B and how do you transform the area,” Will Fleissig—the president and managing director of TransAct, a San Francisco-based urban development firm—told a group of Southwest corridor officials Wednesday. While those two statements are about the same project, they reflect very different expectations about what the project is supposed to be about. Light rail remains a contentious issue—with advocates and …
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Whether an increased sales tax or a new taxing jurisdiction, advocates say a reliable funding stream could insulate transit from political winds.
The Southwest Light Rail Transit project hasn’t had an easy time securing state funding over the past couple years. It faced stiff opposition from Republicans, with the former transportation committee head promising to stop the Southwest LRT "in its tracks." DFL wins in the 2012 Election bode well for the project, but there’s no way of knowing how long that will last. With the line years away from operation, and the Bottineau Transitway moving forward, some light rail advocates are questioning whether transit should rely so much on state funding. That was the question brought up multiple times Tuesday during a meeting with national and local development experts about making the most of Southwest LRT. Instituting a reliable revenue stream, …
Thursday, November 8, 2012
‘The Freight Rail Re-Route would not survive a vote by the free citizens who would pay for it (with their property values). Nor, I daresay, would the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project.’
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Editor’s Note: On Saturday, former Senate District 46 candidate Paul Scofield attended a meeting of several neighborhood associations that included discussion of the Southwest Light Rail Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the freight rail issue in St. Louis Park. He submitted this guest column to Patch afterward. The hazards faced by St. Louis Park and the neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed Freight Rail Re-Route are a consequence of bad decision processes. These decision processes are bad because they are anti-democratic and unaccountable to the citizens impacted. These decisions are being made at the Federal, Regional, County, and City level, with little or no accountability to citizens whose property values are already …
Friday, November 2, 2012
With Hopkins High School so far from the planned light rail line, School Board Director Kris Newcomer questioned whether students would actually be able to use LRT to travel to courses offered at the University of Minnesota.
One of the benefits of the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit line, promoters say, is that west metro high schoolers could use the line to take college classes at the University of Minnesota. School Board Director Kris Newcomer was skeptical, though. Hopkins High School is about four miles from the nearest station. At a joint meeting with the City Council on Tuesday, she wondered how the students are going to get there. The discussion centers on Southwest’s green line extension,which would allow riders to get all the way from Eden Prairie to the University of Minnesota and on to St. Paul. That’s a perfect fit for the state’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program, light rail advocates say. That program allows high school juniors and …
The former Hopkins school is in the perfect spot for access to light rail.
Katherine Curren closed in 1975, reopened in 1981 and then closed again in June 2007. It’s now being used by Ubah Medical Academy. But the Mainstreet school could yet have another chapter in its 66-year history. Katherine Curren is in a prime location to take advantage of light rail because it’s near the likely Shady Oak station site, city planners pointed out Tuesday at a joint meeting with the Hopkins School Board and district staff. “That’s a pretty awesome property for its proximity to light rail,” said Kersten Elverum, economic development director for the City of Hopkins. The location could make Katherine Curren the perfect way for Hopkins Public Schools to boost open enrollment. Families who couldn’t drive their children to school …
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
‘We are on the verge of finally creating a comprehensive transportation system that links the entire Twin Cities region together.’
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Editor’s Note: The following guest column was submitted by Dan Duffy, principal with Daniel K. Duffy Architects, Inc. in Minnetonka. Duffy served on the Southwest Transitway Policy Advisory Committee and currently is a member of the Business Advisory Committee. In 2002, I was asked to represent the business community on a group asking how to best serve west metro transportation needs. Ten years later, support for Southwest Light Rail is strong and growing. Why? Because we have some of the most important economic development opportunities in the region and state. Projected job growth here requires more transportation if we are going to serve those employees and maintain our quality of life. That, in turn, means investing in both better …
Friday, October 12, 2012
Officials are seeking input on the draft environmental impact statement released Friday morning.
The Southwest Light Rail Transit Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is available for public comment following publication in the Federal Register on Friday. The DEIS will be used to judge the impacts of the proposed Southwest LRT project and is the primary document for review by federal, state and local agencies and the general public. It documents: The DEIS is available for review at http://www.southwesttransitway.org. Hard copies are also available. A list of locations where those copies are kept is included at the bottom of this article. Public input on the DEIS will be used to inform preliminary engineering, which is scheduled to begin in early 2013. The public comment period will last 60 days. The deadline to submit comments …