A Midtown routing would just be better

As a daily rider on our light-rail system’s Hiawatha line, I pass the Lake Street station and wonder why the proposed Southwest line’s project leaders don’t revisit the option of using the Midtown Greenway as the corridor into downtown Minneapolis, instead of the controversial Kenilworth route. The line could connect at the West Lake Station onto the Midtown Greenway traveling east, then merge with the Hiawatha line north of the Lake Street station and continue into downtown. Benefits include:


• No expensive tunnels.

• No reroute of freight trains.

• A reduced environmental impact.

• More of a two-way light-rail service for higher-density neighborhoods in the city to jobs located in the southwest suburbs.

• Existing bike trails can be moved alongside, similar to the situation with the Hiawatha line.

• Direct service for southwest suburban commuters to downtown stations at the Metrodome, Government Plaza and Nicollet Mall without walking from Target Field or transferring to another line.

• The Midtown Greenway route would boost commerce in the city, with stations serving businesses at Hennepin Avenue in Uptown, Lyndale Avenue, the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage campus, and Chicago Avenue for Abbott Northwestern and the Midtown Global Commons.

• The construction impact and the overall project cost should be greatly reduced, because the Midtown Greenway was originally built for rail.


It’s time to end the impasse on the Kenilworth corridor and explore other more viable options.

Bob Malmgren, Minneapolis

• • •

Explain again why we are putting a rail line for commuters through a park, in a tunnel, and not down a commercial corridor where there are more people than squirrels? Oh, that’s right — it was too expensive. Imagine how vibrant Eat Street would be 20 years from now with light rail? And imagine the Midtown Greenway lined with apartment buildings and a train right there on an existing, abandoned rail bed. Instead we are going to bury a train in a park.

Steve Oakley, Minneapolis



Might the comparisons be overwrought?

I thought I had heard the height of hyperbole when Hillary Clinton compared Vladimir Putin’s tactics to those of Hitler. Then I was walking through a coffee shop Wednesday morning, and on a table was the Star Tribune, with a commentary by Mark G. Dillon comparing Putin not just to Hitler, but to Ivan the Terrible and Josef Stalin (“Let us ‘be not afraid’ of Vlad the Terrible,” March 12). Putin may not be a “good” guy, but he is no triumvirate of terror cubed.

When the coalition came to power in Ukraine, one of the first things it did was outlaw the Russian language. Half of Ukraine at least is Russian or speaks Russian. Does that sound like budding democracy? Minnesotans might want to look into what comprises the Svoboda party. (While you are at it, look into the IMF.) If Mexico suddenly outlawed English, what do you suppose America would do about the Americans there?

As a Gen Xer, I would like to ask if baby boomers really want to revive the Cold War? After 13 years of ceaseless war, most of it on false pretenses, might we have hypocrisy in foreign policy?

William Hunter Duncan, Minneapolis



No grand projects; stick to the basics

My wife and I have lived in downtown Minneapolis for 15 years. We have read projections and promises about developments too often. The Metrodome was to spur growth on the east side. Nope. Block E was to revitalize Hennepin. Nope. And now we will reinvent Nicollet Mall (“A fresh Nicollet Mall offers downtown that final flourish,” March 14).

The two things that garner positive comments from visitors are the skyways and the Downtown Improvement District ambassadors. That is because both create the sense that our city is clean, convenient and safe. A redo of Nicollet will not draw more people if the skyways are locked and if empty storefronts create the impression of desolation and danger.

I am sure that the city will grow, not because we have fire pits and a small urban forest, but because we have things people need, want and enjoy. And people will continue to come as long as we are committed to maintaining our environment after the “new” wears off. “New” is always fun, but maintaining allows a city to age with grace and charm.

Mark Kuzma, Minneapolis



Vänskä chose to resign, and that’s an issue

Regarding the March 13 letters imploring the Minnesota Orchestra to rehire Osmo Vänskä as its musical director: While I want Osmo to return as much as the rest of the community does, it must be remembered that Mr. Vänskä resigned. He was not fired. He broke an existing contract.

The orchestra board is in an unenviable position, since most of the community wants president and CEO Michael Henson to leave (the musicians do not trust him) and Osmo rehired to maintain the high quality of orchestral performance. But why should the board rehire someone who broke an existing contract? Can Osmo be trusted? Will he take a pay cut similar to Henson’s and that of the musicians? The next few weeks should tell.

Michael Krasnoff, Maple Grove



No sympathy for suit

I assume that all of the folks suing to have their fees refunded after taking legally questionable safe-driving classes in lieu of tickets are also asking to have the tickets reinstated, complete with appropriate fines and notification of insurance companies. No one forced these people to choose the classes; I’ll bet that most of them took the offer to avoid the risk of higher insurance premiums and that the cost of the class was similar to what the fine might have been for the driving infraction.

Not everything requires a lawsuit.

Karen Karls, Grand Rapids, Minn.