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SLP Parents Rally Against Freight Train Rerouting Option

Parent protestors begged the Metropolitan Council not to reroute freight lines through the heart of the city Saturday, according to reports.

The Southwest Light Rail Transit project extends 15.8 miles from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.
The Southwest Light Rail Transit project extends 15.8 miles from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.
St. Louis Park parents gathered Saturday to protest the possible rerouting of freight rail lines to accommodate the Southwest Light Rail Transit project.

According to MyFoxTwinCities.com, 150 parents rallied Saturday to beg the Metropolitan Council not to reroute freight lines through city neighborhoods, citing concerns about the destruction of a neighborhood playground, increased pollution and noise.

The transit line extends 15.8 miles from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. As it's currently proposed, the light rail line is scheduled to be built in the corridor housing St. Louis Park's freight rail line and the Kennilworth Bike Trail. The Met Council proposed eight different alternatives to "reroute" the freight lines or "co-locate" them with light rail lines. 

In recent weeks, St. Louis Park's city council, school board and multiple local legislators have also come out against rerouting freight rail lines through St. Louis Park.

According to KSTP.com, the "Brunswick Central," which parents protested Saturday, is the one of three finalists to handle the cargo line. The other options call for building either a shallow or deep bore tunnel.

The Kennilworth shallow LRT tunnel is one of the more expensive co-location options, expected to cost $150 million to $160 million (on top of $85 million to $90 million in improvements common to all options), but is still cheaper than both of the council's relocation options.

A decision on the final LRT route was scheduled for the end of August, however, its been delayed until September.

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J. M Johnson August 14, 2013 at 11:19 AM
It would appear that SLP residents are far more likely to get smacked by one of 200 daily LRT "trains" breezing along at 30+mph than they ever would by one of three or four freights rolling through town each day at 20 mph or less. Yet few are lobbying to stop LRT altogether. That's good for the public and good for area mobility concerns. Seems that the real situation here is that the first relocation scheme was unsafe for rail operations and the second flat out ugly, with both being outrageously expensive versus viable co-location alternatives. That begs the issue of accountability to taxpayers at the Met Council. And it is hard to see much when they blithely rule out at least two less costly at-grade co-location options that marginally, if at all, inconvenience trail users and nearby Kenilworth residents. Instead, we get a $300 million Kenilworth tunnel substituted for a $250 million SLP eyesore, presumably to avoid hurt feelings over in Minneapolis. Where, I wonder, does it end?
Rob August 15, 2013 at 09:59 AM
I'm not sure I understand the beginning of your comment - "It would appear that SLP residents are far more likely to get smacked by one of 200 daily LRT "trains" ...", but I agree with the rest. It seems fiscal responsibility and environmental impact were not part of their considerations when planning this.
J. M Johnson August 15, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Apologies for the shortage of clarity on my part. Was just saying that the addition of 200 LRT trains per day through a city like SLP will pose a greater risk of train/car or train/pedestrian collisions within the planned LRT ROW than rerouting four freights per day through the MN&S neighborhoods. There as just so many more train/person interaction opportunities with LRT, especially if common sense freight impact mitigation measures are taken to include fencing, restricted freight operating windows and grade separations.

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