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Updated: 08/11/2013 11:07 AM
Created: 08/10/2013 6:46 PM | Print |  Email
By: Beth McDonough

Parents in St. Louis Park Look to Derail Plan for Freight Line

It's one of the largest and loudest demonstrations yet of the new light rail and cargo line.

The Southwest light rail will go from Downtown Minneapolis through St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.

150 Parents object to a freight train running through St. Louis Park.  "In the event of a derailment, if it carries toxic chemicals like ammonia, I worry about the health and safety of the children, the staff, everyone," says Lynn Foster, a resident.

Parents told us they worry the 500 kids who go to the Spanish Immersion School off Highway 7 could be exposed to excess noise, pollution and train traffic.

Maps at the scene of the protest Saturday show where a playground would have to be demolished, homes and businesses razed to clear the way for an elevated freight bridge.

The "Brunswick Central" is the one of three finalists to handle the cargo line.  The other two call for building tunnels in Kenilworth:  a shallow or deep bore tunnel. 

A City Council Member at the demonstration pointed out St. Louis Park isn't opposed to light rail, but is against re-routing freight trains through town, "it's unnecessary when there are cheaper, better, safer options with the Kenilworth Corridor," says Sue Sanger.

The Metropolitan Council responded to the rally, insisting its plans address derailment concerns by softening the tracks sharp curves, flattening the alignment and putting the train tracks on a berm to provide separation between trains and vehicles.

The Met Council also says its held 13 open houses to get public input. 

A decision is expected in September.



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