Light Rail will ruin a quiet area

Below is an excerpt from an editorial in today’s Star Tribune. Though this editorial is about the Southwest Transitway, every resident in Golden Valley that has made their home along the Mary Hills Nature Area could express the same sentiment.

The segment of the Southwest Corridor between the lakes must be reconsidered.

The area between Lake Street and Penn Avenue begins as a quiet residential neighborhood on either side of the Kenilworth Channel between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. This gives way to parkland along the east side of Cedar Lake. In the middle of this urban oasis runs a critical segment of the Minneapolis system of bicycle trials, used by hundreds of commuters and recreational bikers every day for much of the year.

This area has coexisted for decades in relative harmony with the remnants of a once-busier freight-rail corridor. The current daily handful of slow diesel trains poses little real disturbance. If built as proposed, however, the segment of the light-rail route in this corridor would fundamentally and irrevocably alter the character of this beautiful urban green space.

The infrastructure for electrically powered light-rail transit would permanently deface the entire area. Running more than 250 trains through this corridor each day from dawn to midnight would significantly diminish its desirability as a place to live. Property values would fall; tax revenue would drop accordingly. Some studies do show increased property values in proximity to light-rail lines, but they are not relevant to this project. For good reasons, light rail is not typically put in the midst of highly developed residential and recreational areas.

The visual impact of the needed infrastructure, combined with the noise and even the danger of more than 250 fast trains per day, would also greatly erode the attractiveness of this part of the recreational and commuter bicycle trail system. Many who now commute by bicycle might well choose to drive instead (which would be an ironic consequence of a project designed in part to reduce traffic).

Read the rest of the article here.

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Steven R. Goldsmith is a cardiologist at Hennepin County Medical Center and has lived in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis for more than 25 years.

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