After months of debate and studies, the Golden Valley City Council voted against the proposed Bottineau Transitway that would run through the city.
The proposed transitway would connect Minneapolis to the northwest suburbs. , one of which runs along the railroad tracks near Theodore Wirth Park in Golden Valley. The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority has leaned toward the Golden Valley route, but at this week’s city council meeting, the proposal was voted down.
In a 3 to 2 vote, the Golden Valley City Council became the first city along the route to oppose it. According to Golden Valley City Planner Joe Hogeboom, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Robbinsdale and Minneapolis all support the route.
“I have a real problem with this,” Councilmember Joanie Clausen said. “This proposal would bring transit right through a nature area. We don’t have a lot of green space left and if we don’t protect it, what will we leave for our children?”
Clausen voted against the proposal, as did DeDe Scanlon and Paula Pentel. Mayor Shep Harris and Councilmember Mike Freiberg supported the route, but both had reservations.
“This proposal is far from perfect,” Councilmember Mike Freiberg said. “But I do believe Golden Valley could benefit from it.” Freiberg added that the city is in need of more transit options.
This vote is one step of many in a long approval process. The Railroad Authority will recommend a route to the Met Council. The Met Council has to approve it, and if that happens, designs will be drawn up. Once the designs are ready, each city along the route will have a chance to weigh in again.
The Railroad Authority is scheduled to vote on this issue next Tuesday. It’s unclear how the city’s vote will affect the group, but Rail Authority Chairman Peter McLaughlin told the StarTribune “it shouldn’t slow us down.” McLaughlin added, "I think this can be worked through. There's no easy answer here, and there's no route that doesn't have complications."
What do you think? Did the city make the right move? Should the transitway come through Golden Valley? Tell us your thoughts in the comment box below.