South Minneapolis Neighbors Demand Answers on Proposed Rail Project

March 03, 2017 10:56 AM

Residents from neighborhoods in south Minneapolis packed an elementary school gym Thursday evening to learn more about a possible rail project that could run less than 30 feet from their homes.

The Riverview Corridor project released new documents in January identifying new "promising alternatives" for a transportation system that hopes to connect downtown St. Paul to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. One route would put a light rail line or street car line over the Ford Parkway bridge and along 46th Street. The rail line would then connect to the blue line.

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After learning of the proposal, a dozen homeowners on 46th Street had large banners made that read, "No Tracks on 46th Street."

Several people held one of those banners up for about half an hour during the meeting at Dowling Elementary School Thursday night.

RELATED: Proposed St. Paul Rail Route Faces Opposition in Minneapolis

The audience got the opportunity to question transit Project Manager Mike Rogers, who acknowledged during the meeting that there "are still a lot of options on the table."

"We know that these are the most promising alternatives, whether it's a bus option, whether it's a rail option, and then the route," Rogers said.

Residents asked Rogers why they had just learned about the plans.

"In December, that's when it was narrowed down to say, if it was going to go through the Ford Site, it should cross on the Ford Parkway bridge and go along 46th Street," Rogers said.

Rogers said this idea is one of 10 routes that will be studied over the next few months. Part of the study will include more community meetings and will take into account survey responses.

"When you really get into the community, they are the ones who know the best about the opportunities and challenges that are there, and why something that may look good on a piece of paper may not be good in reality," Rogers said.

An alternative plan should be formulated by this summer, Rogers said. Construction on the Riverview Corridor line isn't expected to start until 2023 at the earliest.


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