Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Isn't the Gateway Corridor dead yet?

The Gateway Corridor is a splashy name for a race for cash.

Long time Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough continues to push for the light rail transit line (LRT) to zig-zag through the East Side, as a means to attract a buyer to the mostly leveled 3M plant (dubbed Beacon Bluff) at Minnehaha and Arcade.

The area that had been used to create Scotch tape is now the excuse to tape together plans for a transit line that cuts through a residential neighborhood.

Earlier plans had called for the route to use Third Street, pushing its existing traffic to Minnehaha or Seventh. Then the plan was to use Minnehaha, adjacent to the former 3M property, but Minnehaha residents didn't want the Gateway Corridor either. Now the plan pushes the route farther north to Seventh Street.

Last night the Gateway Corridor planners met with Seventh Street residents to sell the revised plan, comparing the plan to the Hiawatha Line or Central Corridor. One resident pointed out that Hiawatha and University Avenues are both highways and that Seventh is a residential street.

Another resident expressed a concern for the children of the neighborhood, having a train on the front doorstep. A Gateway Corridor planner reassured her that the trains would slow down when approaching children.

Other residents called the plans a waste of money.

Others said property values, already hurt by the recession, would drop, even though some properties near stations might increase. "Who would buy a house on train tracks?" one resident asked.

Other residents expressed concerns that long time, core neighborhood businesses would have to be removed because the road is too narrow for the added traffic.

Another resident said that her driveway couldn't be accessed if the roadway is full of trains and train tracks. Residential light rail doesn't make sense.

Minnesota State Representative Tim Mahoney talked about what great things the Hiawatha Line did for the Lake and Hiawatha intersection and was quickly corrected by the crowd.

Despite the abandonment of the Wisconsin connection, the Gateway Corridor is being sold as a way to relieve congestion on I-94, by moving the traffic to residential roads and slowing it down to a top speed of 35 mph.

© Copyright 2012 by Rip Gateway

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