Obstinate Metro Transit planners: They can only see the Forest for the Train Tracks

Many cities across America are choosing to convert former train railways into trails for walking, running, and biking. Groups like the Rail-to-Trails Conservancy have made it their mission to “create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connect corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.”

Minneapolis, on the other hand, is operating on the obstinate position that all railways have been and always will be transportation corridors. The fact that the citizens of Minneapolis have been using the areas around railways as parks and natural trails for decades seems irrelevant to Metro Transit planners, who continue to only see train tracks when everyone else has been seeing so much more.

The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) currently manages the 55 miles of corridors.

The corridors include:

What’s amazing is that almost all of these “railroad corridors” have been transformed into sustainable urban spaces, used for recreation and bike transportation.

HCRRA says these spaces are intended to be used for light rail, and that their current use as trails is only “for the interim.”

The fact that light rail will come at the expense of beloved natural areas in Minneapolis is unfortunate and misguided.

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