Some believe it to be a game-changer for the North Side, but are the stations convenient?
The alignment’s merits for the North Side
The Rev. Paul Slack (“Southwest light rail, for the North Side,” Oct. 22) finally brings forward the conversation that’s been missing around Southwest LRT. There have been many articles over the past year bemoaning the increasing disparities in our region. Southwest LRT is an equity game-changer. Not only will it provide better access to jobs and schools to North Siders, it will do the same for the immigrant communities and communities of color up and down the line. The new Van White bridge was built to better connect our city, and the Southwest light-rail line is the natural extension of that effort.
Furthermore, the Van White station is the centerpiece of the Bassett Creek Valley Master Plan, a piece of which is already under development. Southwest LRT will not only bring people to jobs, it will also bring jobs and housing to the North Side.
Communities all along the corridor see the light-rail line as a gateway to opportunity. We must build it, and we must build it through Kenilworth.
DAVID GREENE, Minneapolis
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I am in complete agreement that racial and economic equity should be a key consideration for transit planning. It sounds like there the Southwest line offers a significant connection and benefit to north Minneapolis until you take a deeper look at the details of the three stations meant to serve that area — Penn, Van White and Royalston. Daily ridership for the full line is projected at 35,255, according to the Metropolitan Council. Combined ridership at these three stations is 1,841 per day, just a little more than 5 percent of the total.
The Penn station, just south of Interstate 394, is arguably a north Minneapolis station, and that station’s ridership makes up more than half of the three stations. In addition, while the three stations are the northernmost stations along the line, none is within walking distance of main residential neighborhoods at the heart of north Minneapolis.
For a proposed transit project to actually improve economic equity, it should be located such that it provides convenient access to residents. I challenge the notion that Southwest light rail, with its current stations and alignment, will go very far in the quest to achieve racial and economic equity.
GEORGIANNA DAY, Minneapolis
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For 20 seconds, 220 times a day, steel wheels of Southwest light-rail trains will meet steel tracks, their sound magnified, reflected and echoed by the Kenilworth Lagoon’s surface, and they will pour out industrial noise that will interrupt the quiet enjoyment of Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake for the millions in the metropolitan region who annually flock to this urban oasis.
As a student of acoustics over water and the former owner of an international electromagnetic energy testing laboratory, I am dismayed that the impact of sound produced on the bridge of the “shallow tunnel” option has not been scientifically studied and its impact made known to the public.
The city of Minneapolis must not let the project proceed before addressing the significant sound pollution that will result from any proposed plan. It must do this not only for the benefit of residents but for citizens of the entire metro region.
JAMES WM. JOHNSON, Minneapolis
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