Southwest LRT tentative agreement calls for Minneapolis redesign - KMSP-TV

Southwest LRT tentative agreement calls for Minneapolis redesign

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

The Metropolitan Council and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced a tentative agreement calling for a redesign of the Minneapolis portion of the Southwest Light Rail Corridor, and the Hennepin County Board gave the preliminary design plans the green light on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, city leaders in Minneapolis will meet with Kenilworth residents at Anwatin Middle School to tell them about the new compromise and get feedback. Fox 9 News has learned the parties found common ground after 40 hours of mediation with a retired federal judge, but it remains to be seen if those who live nearby will like it.

MORE: Presentation on Southwest LRT compromise [PDF]

The Southwest LRT would operate from downtown Minneapolis to St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie and would include 17 new stations and nearly 16 miles of double track.

THE AGREEMENT

The agreement hinges on approval from both sides and calls for several improvements, and if approved by both sides, the Met Council’s revised budget reduced by $30 million, from $1.683 billion to $1.653 billion.

- Remove the light rail tunnel north of the water channel connecting Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles

- Add back the 21st Street Station that includes pedestrian connections to Cedar Lake. Light rail trains operate at-grade on a bridge over the Kenilworth Channel and at-grade north of the channel

- Bike and pedestrian facilities within three miles of stations for those who can't use Park and Ride facilities

- Noise mitigation

- Kenilworth Corridor located in a "park-like setting," landscape restoration including native plantings, mature trees

- Commitment from Met Council to work with Minneapolis and the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority to ensure that the Kenilworth freight corridor remains in public ownership

WHAT’S NEXT

Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh will hold a meeting with the Southwest Corridor Management Committee on Wednesday at 10 a.m. The Met Council will meet at 4:00 p.m. and set a joint public hearing with Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority for August 13, 2014 where residents can testify. Pending approval, the Met Council will present a new municipal consent package to the City of Minneapolis on Thursday and schedule a final municipal consent vote from the city. Hennepin County will vote on August 19 at a special board meeting to approve municipal consent.

PUBLIC MEETING TUESDAY

The Minneapolis City Council’s Transportation & Public Works Committee will review the agreement on Tuesday. A public briefing was held on Tuesday evening so that residents could learn more about the tentative agreement and provide public comment.

Minneapolis residents will have another opportunity for input at a public hearing on municipal consent on Aug. 19, 2014. The City Council will vote on municipal consent at its regular meeting on August 29, 2014. The tentative agreement will become final after it has been approved and signed by both the Met Council and City of Minneapolis.

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