Monthly Archives: June 2015

Recap of SWLRT Hearing for the SDEIS

The following is a recap by Sally Russe of the June 18 public Hearing for the Southwest LRT Supplemental DEIS.

Recap of SWLRT Hearing for the SDEIS

It was a good, civil meeting. Lots of people spoke about returning to the drawing board, pointing out the very flawed process and lack of honesty and transparency regarding rail and co-location. There were people from all over, (St.Paul, Powderhorn Park, North Mpls) as well as CIDNA, Bryn Mawr and Kenilworth. Over 30 people spoke, none in favor of the current route as it stands now, for safety, financial, and environmental reasons. There was a lot of talk about rail, in fact, the explosions and other hazards (I confess I was late but heard a recap and was present to hear other speakers); abetting the many environmental issues (groundwater, soil and the lake) will be prohibitively expensive. People also brought up the Penn Avenue stop, the 21st Street stop, equitably/non-equitability and a host of other things.
July 21 is the deadline for sending in opinions.

SWLRT Project

The following item is a letter dated May 22, 2015 from the Bryn Maw Neighborhood Association opposing the removal of the Penn Station from the SWLRT Project.

May 22, 2015

Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Marion Greene

Senator Scott Dibble

Senator Bobby Joe Champion

Representative Raymond Dehn

Representative Frank Hornstein

Mayor Betsy Hodges

Council Member Lisa Goodman

Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck

Metropolitan Council Member Gail Dorfman

Metropolitan Council Member Gary Cunningham

We are alarmed that the Southwest LRT Corridor Management Committee is considering the elimination of the Penn Station planned for the SW LRT.  The Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association has a long record of supporting Light Rail, has been active in its support of the Southwest Light Rail Project, and has been adamant in identifying the importance of the Penn Station.   As evidence of its support, the BMNA has passed resolutions in support of the Project as described in the DEIS and has opposed the negative impacts on the neighborhood of co-locating freight in the SW LRT corridor.

The BMNA has anticipated that the SW LRT will bring great benefits both for Minneapolis and the Bryn Mawr neighborhood.   But we will realize those benefits only if the Penn Station is built.   Without the development of the Penn Station, we would be burdened with all manner of negative impacts from the SW LRT without realizing its benefits.

Without the Penn Station, Bryn Mawr would lose its ready access to the Cedar Lake Regional Trail and would have difficult access to the SW LRT.

The neighborhood has done studies such as the Capstone Project which identified the development and transportation potential related to the Penn Station.   Besides local development, the Penn Station would provide broader transportation access to downtown, Target Field, Mall of America, St. Paul and the western suburbs.   That link would serve not only the Bryn Mawr neighborhood, but also residents living to the north along the Penn Avenue corridor.

Along with neighboring communities, we advocate for the improved mobility to jobs and activity centers in the Minneapolis Business District and along the length of the corridor for reverse-commute trips to the expanding suburb and employment centers that the Penn Station would provide.

We ask for your support and that you oppose the removal of the Penn Station from the Project.   Eliminating the Penn Station would provide minimal help in reducing the Project’s $341 million burden but would be a great impact on the neighborhood.

Thank you,

Kevin Thompson, BMNA President

Lee W. Munnich, Jr.

Vida Y. Ditter

Jay Peterson

Barry Schade

Criticism for the Commons

The following letter-to-the-editor by Arlene Fried and Harvey Ettinger was published in the June 18, 2015 edition of the Southwest Journal.

Criticism for the Commons

We are writing regarding the Journal’s June 6 article about the newly minted concept design for the two block area downtown now being called the Commons.

Not everyone in Minneapolis is enamored with the Commons.  Some of us are of the opinion that the Commons is not really a public park and that the process creating the Commons was flawed.

In a democracy, we expect that a project as expansive and expensive as the Commons be subject to certain tenets of good government.  We expect that prior to entering into any agreements regarding the creation of a signature park, there be transparency, citizen participation and full accountability.  In creating the Commons, the City violated all of these tenets. Your article ignores the criticism this has caused.

Responsible and balanced reporting looks at the comprehensive picture–not just the design. We are disappointed that your article failed to provide a balanced perspective.

Arlene Fried
Bryn Mawr Resident and
Co-founder of Park Watch

Harvey Ettinger
East Lake of the Isles Resident
and Member of Park Watch

http://www.southwestjournal.com/voices-feed/criticism-for-the-commons

A Menu of Cuts Proposed for SWLRT’s Budget Diet

The following article by Dylan Thomas was published in the June 4, 2015 issue of the Southwest Journal.

Photo: Dylan Thomas

The Southwest Light Rail Transit Project Corridor Management Committee heard cost-savings
options for the project Tuesday

 

A Menu of Cuts Proposed for SWLRT’s Budget Diet

Metropolitan Council staff on Tuesday released a mix-and-match menu of options for cutting at
least $341 million from the cost of the Southwest Light Rail Transit project.

The goal is to slim the SWLRT project back down to a total budget of about $1.65 billion after it was revealed late last month that a combination of delays and poor soil conditions had pushed the anticipated cost to nearly $2 billion. The schedule set by Met Council calls for project changes to be finalized by early July.
Continue reading

Minneapolis Park Board Requests Public Input on Funding Improvements

The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the June 13, 2015 issue of the Star Tribune.

Minneapolis Park Board Requests Public Input on Funding Improvements

 

Minneapolis parks top national rankings, but park commissioners want to make sure they continue to reflect the needs of their communities.

Photo by: Aaron Lavinsky

Minneapolis parks top national rankings, but park commissioners want to make sure they continue to reflect the needs of their communities. aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com

The Minneapolis Park Board is holding a series of public meetings about what if any improvements voters want — and would be willing to pay for.

Residents will be asked about the programming at the 47 recreation centers, as well as the suitability of outdoor park areas ranging from playing fields to wading pools.

A key item will be a park-specific look at the maintenance of neighborhood parks.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune

http://m.startribune.com/protected/307235481.html

Heads-Up for the June 17, 2015 Park Board Meeting

Heads-Up for the June 17, 2015 Park Board Meeting

4:30 P.M.  CLOSED SESSION regarding Proposed Workers Compensation Settlement

5:00 P.M.  REGULAR BOARD MEETING.
The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.  Visitors to Park Board meetings can find at the back of the meeting room the agenda book with all the printed materials for the meeting

5:30 P.M.  OPEN TIME.
Speakers can call 612-230-6400 before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting to sign up or they can sign up at the Board meeting prior to the start of “Open Time”

6:30 P.M.  PUBLIC HEARING
for Accepting the Non-Appointed CAC Recommendations for Trail Improvements Along Minnehaha Parkway at Lyndale Avenue Bridge

Listed below are some agenda items of interest:

–Authorizing the Formation and Charge of an Appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for RecQuest

–Amending Professional Services Agreement No. C-38847 with Herfort Norby Related to Professional Golf Course Design Services for Construction Documentation and Administration for Revisions to the Wirth Golf Course Back-9 in the Amount of $53,844.50, for a New Contract Total of $69,444.50.

–Revising the Charge to and Composition of an Appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet Master Plan and Improvements in the Chain of Lakes Regional Park

–Resolution Regarding Trail Easement Along Graco Property

–METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau) Light Rail Transit Project Update

–Accepting the Non-Appointed Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations and Approving the Concept Plan for Trail Improvements Along Minnehaha Parkway at Lyndale Avenue

The complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting on June 17, 2015 is at http://minneapolisparksmn.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx .  Board meeting agendas and related information are posted on this web page two business days prior to meetings. Webcasts of MPRB regular board meetings are posted on the same web page two to five business days following each meeting and are available for viewing, along with webcasts for the previous two months.

Also of interest and now available to the commissioners and the public are the monthly reports that Superintendent Miller has initiated for construction permits and for Planning Department projects. The availability of these reports is one of the important changes instituted by Superintendent Miller. They are normally in the agenda packet for the first regular meeting of the month.

View Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board meetings live from 5-9 p.m. on the Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast Cable. You may also view live meetings online on the Channel 79 webpage: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/tv/79

Regular meetings are typically re-telecast on Channel 79 on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 5 p.m. Telecast schedules are subject to change.

The Park Board’s website is www.minneapolisparks.org   The phone number is 612-230-6400.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch
www.mplsparkwatch.org

 

June Meetings for Citizen Input on Park Board Funding

June Meetings for Citizen Input on Park Board Funding

Here are the June meetings, which all begin at 6 p.m.
A complete schedule is available online at: http://tinyurl.com/nzt4nhc

June 16: Folwell Recreation Center. Parks discussed: Creekview, Webber, Folwell

June 22: Harrison Recreation Center. Parks discussed: Bethune, Harrison

June 23: Linden Hills Park. Parks discussed: Linden Hills, Pershing Field

June 25: Kenwood Community Center. Park discussed: Kenwood

Light Rail as Engine: Churning or Not?

The following commentary by Adam Platt, executive editor of Twin Cities Business, was published in the May 3, 2015 issue of the Star Tribune.  (There is a reference to this commentary in a June 10 Star Tribune commentary by Kim Crockett titled Southwest LRLT: It’s Not Too Late to Back Away.  That commentary has been posted on Park Watch.)

Light Rail as Engine: Churning or Not?

The Blue Line was built along Hiawatha Avenue using right of way that had been cleared for road expansion. That was the easiest and cheapest way to locate the train, but not the ideal strategy for promoting development. The proposed Southwest line — troubled as it is — is more promising on that front given its proximity to underused land and the corridor’s affluence.

Star Tribune: Jim Gehrz

The Blue Line was built along Hiawatha Avenue using right of way that had been cleared for road expansion. That was the easiest and cheapest way to locate the train, but not the ideal strategy for promoting development. The proposed Southwest line — troubled as it is — is more promising on that front given its proximity to underused land and the corridor’s affluence.

Existing lines are popular. Proposed lines are not. So it’s a good time to assess what we’ve learned.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune

http://m.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/302251691.html