“Light rail benefits are in the eye of the beholder,” says Hennepin County Managing Engineer Joe Gladke
The case for routing the Bottineau Transitway through Golden Valley and Theodore Wirth Park is even shakier than I thought. This became evident during the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting last night in Crystal.
Reasons for making the D-1 alignment part of the Locally Preferred Route:
1. Its not D-2.
There was a passionate resistance against D-2 in Minneapolis. Residents of North Minneapolis were justifiably nervous about approving a $1 billion dollar transit project in their neighborhood. Would this project make housing more expensive or separate communities?
2. Its cheap.
Parks are easy to build on.
When I asked why there were only two options available–the response was basically, “We are too far along in the process to make considerations for other alignment alternatives.”
How is this acceptable? Both of the stops in Golden Valley are classified as “optional” because there is not enough ridership or development potential for either stop, but in order to appease Golden Valley they will, out of courtesy, construct ONE of the options.
Below is a map with a hypothetical “D-3” alignment, which goes down Highway 100 and then turns onto Olson Memorial Highway. This alignment can include all of the stops of D-1 except the two optional stops through Golden Valley. Olson Memorial Highway is a four-lane highway with a wide grass boulevard. I am not an engineer, so I don’t know why this option was excluded. I asked Brent Rusco of Hennepin County at the CAC meeting, and his answer was to read a report on the Bottineau Transitway website. I was unable to find the report.
It is already a busy street.
There is plenty of room for retail development.
There can even be a light rail stop for Theodore Wirth Park, right at Wirth lake!
Why is this not an option?