Letter to the Editor
The Kenilworth-Cedar Lake Corridor commuter pedestrian/bicycle path, the most intensely used trail in the Minneapolis park system with some 746,000 annual visits, put Minneapolis on the map for bike commuting. It will now be closed for several years to build light rail just as our city slipped to third place for great parks behind Washington, D.C., and St. Paul (both capital/government cities).
The Southwest Light Rail Transit plan cuts between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles and interrupts groundwater lake recharge with a submerged tunnel. What a shame to sacrifice the top of the Chain of Lakes to a George W. Bush-era light rail plan that promotes sprawl and avoids urban density and economically stressed areas.
SWLRT is about development, not equity. It will not service the Northside or Uptown. It is transit without the mass.
An urban forest of some 1,000 trees will be sacrificed where no homes or industry now exist. Trees suck up storm water in this time of increased rainfall, hold soil in place, temper wind and scrub the air of pollution.
SWLRT is a $2 billion construction project, the most expensive public works project ever proposed in Minnesota. It will apparently be funded by Hennepin County residents with sales tax increases. Matching federal funds have not yet been allocated.
Add to initial costs an estimated $30 million in yearly operating expenses, plus potential accidents of co-locating ethanol-carrying freight trains beside electric human commuter rail.
According to the Met Council, the area of high potential for the endangered bees is Interstate 394 to Beltline Boulevard — in other words, the Kenilworth Corridor. It is as if we are making war on our own land, water and pollinators at a time when we have only a dozen years to reverse our beeline to climate tipping point.
It is never too late to reroute a bad decision.
SUSU JEFFREY, MINNEAPOLIS