Monday, January 7, 2013
The city’s comments on the draft environmental impact statement focused heavily on how park and rides would affect the community.
The City of Hopkins is urging planners to use caution when considering building park and rides at the three Southwest Light Rail Transit stations planned in the community. The public comment period on the project’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) closed Dec. 31. The DEIS will be used to judge project impacts and is the primary document for review by federal, state and local agencies and the general public. Hopkins’ official comments include modest corrections, notes about omissions and details about upcoming development plans. Yet much of the discussion centers on the city’s worries about park and rides at the three stations—Blake Road, Downtown Hopkins and Shady Oak. Click on the PDF to the right of this article to read 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
Election Day is bringing in a Legislature that should be more supportive of LRT.
For the past couple years, the road ahead for the Southwest Light Rail Transit was uncertain. It faced steeped opposition from leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature who oversaw key transportation committees. Shakopee Rep. Michael Beard, the former Transportation Policy and Finance Committee chairman, once even said he wanted to stop the project "in its tracks." But all that changed Tuesday night when the DFL took control of both the House and Senate—sweeping in more light rail supporters and handing the reins to a party that’s historically been a bigger backer of public transit. “The bottom line is we didn’t get anywhere (before), so it’s pretty significant to us,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman, chairwoman of …
‘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
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 …
Monday, October 15, 2012
While supporters are still working to promote the Southwest Transitway, one campaign ad uses a candidate’s backing for the project as its most-visible selling point. What role does light rail play in this election?
Southwest Light Rail Transit supporters haven’t been shy about trying to sell residents on the project. Local chambers have taken an active role in encouraging legislators to back the project, and they recently launched a “More Jobs Less Traffic” campaign to boost support among the general public. What hasn’t happened as frequently is candidates using Southwest LRT as the major selling point for their own campaigns. Yet that’s exactly what Senate District 49 candidate Melisa Franzen’s campaign did in an advertisement last week. Residents in her district received a mailer that featured a Metro Transit train, a map of the proposed Southwest LRT route and the campaign promise, “With Melisa Franzen in the Senate, 60,000 new jobs are just the …
Monday, October 1, 2012
The project is one of two being expedited with the "We Can't Wait" initiative.
President Barack Obama is apparently a supporter of expanded light rail in the Twin Cities area. The Obama Administration announced today that the Southwest Light Rail project is one of two projects in the country that will be expedited due to the "We Can't Wait" initiative. That initiative aims to speed up the various processes required to get a big project off the ground. In the case of Southwest LRT, the Federal Transit Administration is using an enhanced coordination process with other federal agencies as well as exploring using the NEPA/Clean Water Act merger process, which is estimated to save several months by aligning multiple permit and review processes to work concurrently instead of sequentially. The target date for completing …
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Three public hearings will gather comments on the proposed light-rail line.
The following was released by Hennepin County: The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority has scheduled three public hearings in November to formally gather public comments on the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The Southwest Transitway is a proposed 15-mile light-rail line serving Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis. Public comment on the impact statement will inform preliminary engineering on the project, which is scheduled to begin in early 2013. Comments can also be made in writing, or by visiting www.southwesttransitway.org. The public hearings will each be preceded by an open house, where people can learn more about the Southwest LRT project and the…