Tuesday Talk: Southwest LRT Options
This region needs the Southwest light rail, but we also need it done correctly the first time. So far, one of the biggest hurdles for the Southwest light rail is what to do about existing freight tracks that currently run in the narrow Kenilworth Corridor of Minneapolis, a recreational area that runs between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles.
Planners suggest two main options: Reroute freight traffic and allow light rail trains to run through the corridor, which poses a number of issues for St. Louis Park, where the new freight line would run. Or, keep freight where it is and build either a deep tunnel for LRT trains, which is expensive, or dual shallow tunnels with LRT passing over a water channel connecting the lakes.
All of these options have their pros and cons and strong opposition.
A newly introduced third option is a Goldilocks-like compromise with a “deeper shallow tunnel” that would be less expensive than a deep tunnel and better accommodate esthetic and environmental concerns of the dual shallow tunnel.
Since we seem to be back to the drawing board, would it make sense to revisit other SWLRT routing options, like running the line down Nicollet Avenue?
What’s the best way forward for Southwest Light Rail?
Join the conversation between 8 and 9:30 with Bill Lindeke, Twin Cities transportation and planning thinker and blogger Twin Cities Sidewalks and Streets.MN.
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