New Bottineau Document Shows Why Light Rail Through Golden Valley is Preferred

The alternatives analysis shows that some North Minneapolis residents have concerns about the possibility of a light rail coming down Penn Avenue.

Faster travel time. More cost effective. Fewer traffic impacts.

These are some of the D-1 alignment benefits outlined in a recently finished document that reviews Bottineau Transitway route alternatives.

See PDF to the right.

According to Golden Valley City Council documents, the Metropolitan Council received the Bottineau Transitway Alternatives Analysis on Jan. 9.  The 27 page document was compiled by the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority.

The Met Council is expected to review and adopt the analysis—which explains why the light rail path through Golden Valley is preferred—in February. Upon adoption, the Met Council can apply for federal funding through the New Starts program.  

The alternatives analysis says that the D-2 alignment, which would send the train through portions of North Minneapolis, concerns Penn and Oliver Avenue neighbors. To place tracks down Penn Avenue, the road would have to be widened and up to 150 businesses and residences would have to be acquired, according to the analysis.

But changes are coming to Penn Avenue, even if they aren’t in the form of a light rail.

The Bottineau Transitway website shows that the Penn Avenue Community Works Project, adopted last May, will improve livability and economic growth in the area. 

In a Star Tribune article published on Dec. 26, reporter Rochelle Olson said that changes to the roadway on Penn Avenue would be part of an overall “rejuvenation” to the area.  

The article notes that Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson wants to see a light rail station at Golden Valley Road. And though station preferences aren’t specified in the alternative analysis, the Bottineau Transitway Policy Advisory Committee agrees that a train through Golden Valley would be best.

“D-1 would result in significantly less property and neighborhood impacts, improved travel time and greater cost effectiveness, and less disruption of roadway traffic operations,” the Policy Advisory Committee says in the analysis.

In December, the Golden Valley City Council passed a resolution of support for the D-1 alignment. Golden Valley was the last city on the Bottineau line to agree to support the locally preferred alternative and further light rail studies.

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Lydia Konsor January 15, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Isn't the reason given in this story for preferring D1 stating the obvious? Of course routing light rail through an unpopulated, undeveloped trench will have less impacts! Duh! I must be mistaken that the purpose of light rail is to move people - so policy makers in their infinite wisdom want to route the light rail through an area with NO PEOPLE! Could it be that the folks who get on at the northern end of the line don't want to be bothered with stops in Golden Valley and North Minneapolis. It will just slow them down
Tom Ring January 16, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Please keep the incredibly cost inefficient light (or heavy for that matter) rail systems as far away from Golden Valley as possible. I'd much rather see more buses. They can be rerouted as needs change and trains can't and are almost as efficient as cars per passenger mile.
Brad Kadue January 16, 2013 at 01:51 AM
That's kind of ironic really. The absence of stops on the D1 alternative is simultaneously the reason the HCRA prefers it and the reason many GV residents oppose it. With one stop which is close to nothing, and has no parking, the D1 alternative provides little value to GV residents.
Karen Lehman January 16, 2013 at 02:31 PM
"New" study? More like strategically released after the GV vote. We knew that N. Minneapolis residents were opposed to D2 for good reason, and we begged Golden Valley to hold out for more options. Let's imagine what MIGHT have happened. Golden Valley says no, North Minneapolis is unhappy, and the Met Council has to do some soul searching. Is there another route? Will the ridership really justify this? I fear that the truth is close to what a friend and former urban planner thinks: "LRT does not make sense as a transportation solution in the Twin Cities; the costs are way too high for the minimal numbers transported. However, LRT does make sense as a land use solution; put in the right places with adequate zoning it can spur tons of higher density housing development which then can provide the bodies needed to justify LRT as viable transportation. The University Avenue corridor is a prime example of this. There are many other inner city corridors where LRT makes sense. However, using easily available old railroad rights-of-way to develop LRT to suburban areas that will never have the density to support LRT makes no sense (other than as pay-back to the suburban political interests behind the Met Council). Neither the $1.6 Billion Southwest LRT Corridor through St. Louis Park (which will have stops in the middle of Kenwood rather than Uptown) or the Bottineau Transitway through Golden Valley make any transportation or planning sense, they only make political sense."
Karen Lehman January 16, 2013 at 02:34 PM
And to add to my earlier comment, as long as we continue to focus on the logical arguments (which favor a "no" to the D1 alternative), rather on the political dynamic, we will continue to get the same results.
Bob Mattison January 16, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Karen Lehman makes great points. D-1 makes no sense from an urban development or transportation point of view, but perfect political sense for those who want to avoid the pain of hard but wise long-term decisions. Now the politicians can indulge in pipe dreams for Penn Avenue and foist the burdens of a light rail line on Golden Valley's open spaces. Brad Kadue also makes the great point that a Golden Valley Road station will do nothing for Golden Valley residents. It is also dubious proposition that it will benefit north Minneapolis residents - more wishful thinking, this time by Minneapolis Council President Barbara Johnson. But Golden Valley Council members are supposed to represent Golden Valley, not Minneapolis. Let's hope that when time comes for municipal consent they do just that and seriously consider saying "no" to a GV Road station, which makes even less sense than the D-1 route, especially for Golden Valley.
Candace Oathout January 16, 2013 at 04:56 PM
The entire LRT regional system is based on building an ideal society with the smallest footprint on the land. The concept is flawed from the outset. It depends on redesigning how a society lives and functions. There are folks who think that the most environmentally developed in the world is New York City. The fallacy of this line of thought is that it becomes harder to impossible to live in a locally sustainable way in such high density cities. LRT is an extremely expensive non-solution to current conditions. It is expensive to build, maintain and operate that cannot respond to changing geographic conditions. It is of little to no value to the many small cities it splits and neighborhoods it destroys. Bus Rapid Transit is less expensive to build, maintain and operate and much more able to respond to geographic change. It is much less disruptive on small cities and neighborhoods. Stop the #crazytrains, just say "no" to LRT.


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