Three Rivers involved in SW LRT planning

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Because of its implications for our Cedar Lake and MN River Bluffs trails, Three Rivers continues to be heavily involved with planning for the Southwest LRT Line. With preliminary engineering now taking place, it is important that we represent the interests of our many trail users (500,000 annually on Cedar Lake, 25% of whom use it for commuting) to insure safe and workable trail crossings and station/trail interfaces, not to mention appropriate funding.

Construction on the 16 mile light rail line is expected to begin in 2015, and 17 stations will provide service between downtown Minneapolis and the Three Rivers cities of Minnetonka, Hopkins, Eden Prairie and St Louis Park. Our Cedar Lake and MN River Bluffs trails parallel the preferred route from the Minneapolis border to the Shady Oak station.

We are particularly concerned about trail crossings at the Blake, Wooddale and Beltline stations, especially since traffic impacts will grow substantially with planned park-and-rides. Three Rivers and our local city partners along the route think that these trail crossings should be grade-separated tunnels or flyover bridges. We also believe that these safety components should be included in funding plans for the overall SWLRT project.

SWLRT will connect with the existing Blue Line (Hiawatha LRT), Northstar commuter rail line and soon to open Green Line (Central Corridor LRT) near one of my favorite venues – Target Field. Hopefully, the Twins can pick up their game by the time it opens in 2018 . . .

Be sure to check out this very cool 3D video "fly-over" of the planned route: SWLRT Video

 

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair