Local SWLRT hearing coming
No comments · Posted by SD48 DFL Communications Team in News
On May 20, the city of Eden Prairie will hold an informational open house and a hearing to gather additional public opinion on preliminary plans for the Eden Prairie stretch of the Southwest Light Rail Project (SWLRT) before requesting further changes or issuing its consent for the project to move forward to more advanced stages of planning.
Our town is slated to having 5 of the 16 stations of the 16-mile long southwest extension of what is now branded “The Green Line.” When it begins passenger service in 2019, it will run from a station and parking ramp complex on Technology Drive about 350 yards west of Mitchell Road to Target Field in Minneapolis. The east half of the Green Line from Target Field to Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, begins service June 14.
I began attending SWLRT Project informational meetings in Minnetonka and Eden Prairie when Hennepin County began overseeing transit corridor studies in 2001. The project is now managed by the Net Council. Over the past year, I have monitored two of a number of ongoing, SWLRT panels — the citizens advisory and corridor management committees — as well as attended community oriented housing and planning initiatives and city of Eden Prairie workshops.
SWLRT design engineers and the public works, community development staffs and elected officials and non-government community and business leaders of Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis have been engaged in the protean process of planning what is now a $1.7 billion dollar project. The project has been a collaborative, if sometimes controversial, initiative with many opportunities for citizens to be heard.
Freight and light-rail alignment issues in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park and rising projected costs that were prompted by plans to run light-rail trains in two shallow tunnels through the Kenilworth Corridor in Minneapolis, have dominated media coverage and distorted public perception of the project; one that polls show has widespread support.
For example, the Eden Prairie, TwinWest and Minneapolis chambers of commerce support the preliminary plan now being considered for official consent by Hennepin County and the five cities. A North Minneapolis transit forum hosted by Congressman Keith Ellison in early April revealed strong support for the project from community, political and business leaders as well as public transit users. They see light rail as a necessary and urgent spark for investment, redevelopment, job creation and connectivity for those who prefer transit to cars or cannot drive — increasing numbers of Beatles-loving, Baby Boom elders and social media smart Gen Xers as well as employers, employees and college and tech school students.
And so, t00, in Eden Prairie. United Health Group chose Eden Prairie for a new campus largely because the site will be served by light rail. SouthWest Transit commuter bus service looks forward to reworking its SouthWest Station hub to accommodate light rail. Car commuters and transit-dependent Eden Prairians look forward to more effectively connecting to the region as a whole.
Eden Prairie News, May 15, 2014
Eden Prairie · Minnetonka · southwest light rail transit · SWLRT