Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Two Southwest LRT committees will discuss technical issues surrounding the controversial proposal.
The Southwest Light Rail Transit project’s freight rail reroute and co-location alternatives will be discussed at two meetings this week. The Southwest LRT Business Advisory Committee will take up the issue at a Wednesday morning that begins at 8 a.m. Technical issues having to do with the freight rail reroute and co-location options are expected to begin at 9:05 a.m. The Southwest LRT Community Advisory Committee will discuss the issue at a Thursday meeting that begin at 6 p.m. Discussion of the freight rail issues is scheduled to begin at 7:35 p.m. Both meetings are in Suite 500 of the Park Place West Building (6465 Wayzata Blvd., St. Louis Park). Freight rail routing has been particularly contentious part of the Southwest LRT project—…
Monday, November 26, 2012
The error, which arose out of editing and formatting changes, does not change the conclusions of the project’s draft environmental impact statement.
Engineering consultants have identified a $100 million typo in a Southwest Light Rail Transit report that understates the cost of putting the Twin Cities & Western freight line in the same corridor as the light rail—an option known as “co-location.” The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) listed the “professional services” cost of option 3A-1—the co-location alternative—as “$99,357 (in thousands).” That should have read “$199,357 (in thousands).” The difference between the two figures is $100 million but does not alter the conclusions of the DEIS. “While I'm dismayed that an error of this nature was made, we all think it's important to be transparent, to identify the error and make the correction immediately,” Hennepin County …
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
St. Louis Park residents worry a freight rail reroute will make their neighborhoods more dangerous, hurt schools and lower property values.
Drivers passing St. Louis Park City Hall on Wednesday night couldn’t miss the orange shirts and big-lettered signs of protestors upset about the proposed route of the Southwest Light Rail Transit line. Critics showed up in force prior to a public hearing on the project’s draft environmental impact statement to protest the proposed relocation of the Twin Cities & Western freight line, which currently operates on a planned segment of the Southwest LRT. Nearby residents say the additional, heavier freight traffic on the tracks would lower property values, disrupt nearby St. Louis Park High School and be more dangerous. “You say there are five communities along the line,” Mminnetonka Boulevard homeowner Brian Zachek said at a public hearing …
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 …
Monday, October 15, 2012
A freight rail reroute through St. Louis Park would endanger students at the local high school.
Last week Hennepin County published the Southwest Light Rail Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which includes both the impacts of the Southwest Light Rail and the potential freight reroute through St. Louis Park. The reroute impacts are severe and many, but keeping our children safe at St. Louis Park High School is reason enough to stop the reroute. For as long as anyone can remember, freight train traffic passing by the school (and hundreds of homes) has been light—chiefly because the MN&S line, ironically, was originally built for electric passenger trains and is not connected to main lines. Unfortunately, decision-makers in the 1950s placed the high school just 75 feet from the tracks, assuming that light traffic would cause few …
Friday, October 12, 2012
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Southwest Light Rail line was recently released.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Today, the Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was released. While we applaud the release of this document and look forward to the many benefits of SWLRT we continue to be concerned with the way in which the proposed freight rail re-route is being presented and how the issue may be treated by the Met Council and Hennepin County. During the years of planning for SWLRT, Hennepin County made a concerted effort to keep true study of the freight issue to a minimum, while promising Minneapolis residents that the freight trains would go away. Most recently this effort came to light after the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) required an analysis of the freight rail issue be added to the SWLRT DEIS. …
Monday, August 27, 2012
A stretch of track from I-394 to just east of Beltline Boulevard is being replaced.
Changes are coming to the Kenilworth Freight Rail Corridor this fall, but not as part of a potential reroute through St. Louis Park. A stretch of track from I-394 to just east of Beltline Boulevard will be replaced in October, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority reported Tuesday. The section of track is aging and isn't up to current design standards. The new track will consist of continuously welded rail, which will result in smoother operations for freight trains. There is no plan to increase train speeds as part of the project, the HCRRA reports. This also has nothing to do with a proposed freight rail reroute that could divert Kenilworth traffic onto a railway that runs through the heart of St. Louis Park to make room for a …
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Environmental review of a potential freight rail reroute will handled by the federal government as part of light rail planning.
St. Louis Park City Council voted on Tuesday to drop its appeal of the decision by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to not pursue a rigorous environmental review in connection with a potential freight rail reroute. Last month, MnDOT announced it was essentially pulling out of the environmental process altogether because the issue of a freight rail reroute will be considered at the federal level as part of the planning for the Southwest Light Rail Transit line. Officials are considering rerouting some freight traffic through St. Louis Park to make way for the light rail line, which is scheduled to open in 2018. The city originally filed its appeal in August after MnDOT decided against pursuing an extensive environmental impact …
Monday, January 2, 2012
We take a look at some of the St. Louis Park stories worth tracking this year.
As 2011 came to a close, we took a look at the five biggest stories of the year in St. Louis Park. But 2012 is now here, so it's time to look ahead. Below, we've put together a list of five local issues that should be worth watching this year. Perhaps a few of them will even wind up as part of our 2012 top-story countdown about 12 months from now: Will New Council, Board Members Mesh? This one won't require you to look too far ahead: City Council will be swearing in two new members (Jake Spano and Steve Hallfin) on Tuesday, while school board newcomer Joe Tatalovich will be sworn in next week. Any time group dynamics change it's worth taking note, and it will be interesting to see how the new members mesh with the old, though we expect it …
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Environmental review of a possible St. Louis Park freight reroute will be handled at the federal level as part of light rail planning.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has pulled out of the environmental review process for a potential St. Louis Park freight reroute—a procedural move now that the reroute is being considered along with light rail planning. MnDOT was orginally the lead agency in examining potential environmental impacts of rerouting the Twin Cities & Western freight line through St. Louis Park, a move being considered to make way for the planned Southwest Light Rail Transit line. However, the Federal Transit Administration declared in September that the proposed reroute should be included in light rail planning. This means that environmental review will be handled at the federal level as light rail planning unfolds. Both the City of St. Louis Park …