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Washington Avenue through the University of Minnesota campus: School dropped on the ball on the Central Corridor planning.

Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

Letter of the day: Blame for Central Corridor uncertainty falls on the U

  • December 2, 2009 - 3:42 PM

A Nov. 25 letter writer argues that the University of Minnesota is only acting responsibly in demanding mitigation to protect expensive lab equipment from the effects of light rail trains. But responsibility is a long-term effort, not a card that can be played just when it's convenient.

My copy of the 1993 Alternatives Analysis and Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Central Corridor clearly shows a Washington Avenue alignment through the U of M campus. Yet, for nearly 20 years, the U has located ever more costly lab equipment ever closer to Washington Avenue.

Perhaps the university was betting that light rail would never be built, in which case it lost. Or perhaps planners simply ignored those plans, in which case the University of Minnesota is guilty of poor planning. Or perhaps the U simply assumed that any mitigation was someone else's problem, in which case it is guilty of arrogance.

Yes, a light-rail tunnel was in the original plans, but surely planners at the U would have known that placing trains even closer to underground labs would have exacerbated the impact, making mitigation even more costly.

It's hard for me to understand why the Central Corridor project should bear all the costs of the mitigation necessary because of the University of Minnesota's lack of foresight.

JOHN DEWITT, MINNEAPOLIS

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