Kenwood Neighborhood Organization
PO Box 2061
Minneapolis, MN 55402-0061

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LRT

Kenwood News January 23, 2016

In July, 2013, KNO advanced a position statement opposing “co-location” of freight rail and SWLRT.  We continue to maintain that position, as this routing decision adds enormously to project costs without evidence that it can preserve the environment, protect quality of life, and create a safe and equitable mode of transit.

Since then, the KNO board and other Kenwood residents have engaged with planners through public processes such as environmental review, Section 106 historical review, and the Community Advisory Committee.  In this spirit, we pass along the information below.

SWLRT Community Update

On Tuesday, February 2, Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene will host a community update on SWLRT, “to discuss project goals and opportunities for community input in 2016.”  SWLRT Project Office staff will be joined by staff from the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County. Please come with your questions and concerns. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1917 Logan Avenue South, February 2nd 6:00 to 7:00 PM

Proposed SWLRT Station Names

It seems like putting the cart before the horse, but the Met Council is considering different names for the proposed 21st Street station and the proposed Penn Ave station.  For Penn, they’re proposing “Bryn Mawr station.” For 21st Street, they are proposing “Kenwood station” or “Cedar Lake station.” If you would like to weigh in or propose a different name, please contact any KIAA Board member or KNO at your earliest convenience.

KNO Chair Jeanette Colby: jmcolby@earthlink.net; KNO55405@gmail.com

 

To: Mark Fuhrman, Southwest Project Office

Jim Alexander, Southwest Project Office

March 3, 2014

Kenwood Isles Area Association (KNO) renews its strong objection to routing both freight rail and light rail (LRT) in the Kenilworth Corridor. While many reasons exist for this position, these comments refer specifically to the recent Water Resources Draft and Freight Rail Location Alternatives reports released at the end of January.

The necessity of collocating freight and light rail in the same corridor is a direct result of Hennepin County’s lack of planning in designing the Locally Preferred Alignment (LPA) that includes the Kenilworth Corridor. Because of this failure, the plan to move freight to St. Louis Park has been rejected for a variety of reasons (some relevant and some not). Minneapolis renewed its objection to the collocation of both enterprises in the corridor and, as a compromise, the Met Council recommended placing the LRT in a shallow tunnel. We believe that this compromise is short sighted at best and without more complete study PRIOR TO ANY MUNICIPAL CONSENT may in the long run prove disastrous.

The conclusions of Burns and McDonnell (independent consultants hired by the Met Council) of the shallow tunnel plan and its effect on the water resources of the corridor were summarized in the presentation to the Corridor Management Committee (CMC) on February 20, 2014. To us, those findings raise more questions than provide assurances. A few of those conclusions and our concerns are:

1. “Add lateral and nested piezometers.” This recommendation is meant to substantiate the conclusion that shallow tunnels will not interfere with groundwater movement and activity. Shouldn’t that be established BEFORE the decision is made to bury the LRT tracks in a tunnel?

2. “Complete a comprehensive capacity analysis for sanitary and storm sewer systems.” If an analysis is needed, and those systems prove to be deficient, what will it cost to upgrade them and who will pay for it? How will those costs effect the overall project budget, and shouldn’t they be known before a decision is made?

3. “Complete a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.” Again, why should Minneapolis be asked to provide municipal consent for this project without knowing the results of this assessment? A Phase II study is especially important in this corridor because it carried freight traffic for many years, during a time when environmental concerns were not as important as they are now. Why would the Met Council want to go forward with this project without having the Phase II results that may show more funds will be required to clean up the corridor before any digging into the groundwater can be initiated?

Barr Engineering, consultants hired by the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, raises other issues (also described in the CMC meeting presentation) that we believe need to be resolved before the project is approved and begun. Paramount among these issues is their first concern: “The effectiveness of sheet pile sealing and seal pour performance.” Barr Engineering is concerned with the effectiveness of the seals needed to connect about thirty 150’ concrete, rectangular tunnels sitting in eight feet of groundwater. To us, this part of the design is the linchpin in the plan that, if it fails, may have significant and irreversible consequences for the Chain of Lakes system in Minneapolis. We believe that the risk of a failure of this design, even though it may be small, is larger than the city of Minneapolis should ever be asked to take. For that reason, and for the others listed above, we believe the shallow tunnel as a compromise to at-grade colocation fails as a viable alternative.

In addition to the water issues described above, KIAA has great concern for any permanent placement of rail in the Kenilworth Corridor. To begin with, the City of Minneapolis has been clear for many years that any placement of light rail in this corridor requires the permanent removal of freight rail. KIAA believes, like the City of Minneapolis, that the existence of light rail in the Kenilworth Corridor, either at grade or in a shallow tunnel, constitutes colocation of the two and is unacceptable. Like the city, KIAA has taken this position since the current LPA was chosen and we have not changed our opinion.

In addition to this violation of the basic premise for acceptance of the LPA by the City of Minneapolis, KIAA also believes that any plan for colocation of freight and LRT is incomplete and has not addressed important issues:

1. What measures to make freight (in addition to light rail) safe and livable in the community will be taken, and at what cost?

2. What will be the environmental impact of a tunnel option, including crash walls (impact on wildlife, vegetation, noise, and trail and park users.)

3. Who will assume liability if freight stays in the Kenilworth Corridor? Up until now, Twin City and Western Railroad (TC&W) has assumed full liability while running trains in the corridor because they believed placement of freight rail was “temporary” (according to Jim Alexander of the Southwest Project Office at the community meeting at the Jones Harrison Residence on June of 2013). Is Twin City and Western Railroad asking for another entity to share liability for any accident that happens in the corridor? If that is the case, who will bear the cost of this shared liability?

4. Why is TC&W now suggesting that a right of way of less than 25 feet from the center of their track is acceptable in the Kenilworth Corridor when it was stated earlier that 25 feet was the minimum industry standard?

5. Perhaps most importantly, what assurance will the City of Minneapolis receive that the money for shallow tunnels will be available if colocation is implemented against its will? If those assurances cannot be made, when will all the issues and concerns relating to at-grade co-location be addressed?

KIAA, a totally volunteer neighborhood organization, has been involved in the discussions regarding the Southwest LRT project since before the LPA was chosen. We objected to that LPA for a variety of reasons but once chosen we shifted our focus to mitigating the effect of 220 trains traveling between two lakes and separating our neighborhood. Because members of the board, and numerous residents of the neighborhood, feel a strong sense of responsibility for our neighborhood and the environment, we have felt compelled to add our voices in defense of Minneapolis. Neighbors spent a day discussing and designing the station area. We attended numerous meetings that discussed everything from transit oriented development to effects on traffic in the neighborhood. All of these discussions began with the premise that freight would not be part of the Kenilworth Corridor if it was to be used for LRT.

 

 

 

SWLRT Community Advisory Committee

The Southwest  Light Rail (SWLRT) Community Advisory Committee, with new members, has begun meetings again. The Met Council describes its role as follows:  “The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) serves as a voice for the community and advises the Corridor Management Committee during the planning and implementation phases of the light rail line.” Jody Strakosch from Kenwood is on the CAC.

CAC meeting schedules and minutes can be viewed on the Met Council website:

http://www.metrocouncil.org/Transportation/Projects/Current-Projects/Southwest-LRT/SWLRT-Committees/Community-Advisory-Committee.aspx

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Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement

A Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) regarding the  Southwest Light Rail Transit project is required because of changes to the project since the preparation of the DEIS. Changes include the decision to co-locate both freight rail and light rail in the Kenilworth Corridor and the addition of a  tunnel under Cedar Lake Parkway for light rail. The Southwest Project Office has thus far released just one section of the DEIS, concerning noise and vibrations impacts (before any mitigation). It can be viewed here.

DraftSDEISSections (2)

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Southwest Light Rail update and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

After the Minneapolis City Council granted Municipal Consent for the $1.65 billion SWLRT project, the Met Council proceeded to the “30% engineering” stage. The current illustration of the 21st St. Station can be viewed here:

http://metrocouncil.org/Transportation/Projects/Current-Projects/Southwest-LRT/Publications-And-Resources/Engineering/PE_RollPlots/SWLRT_PE_22_21stStreetStation.aspx

The 2012 SWLRT Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) recommended against the current plan to locate both freight and light rail in the Kenilworth corridor, and did not cover the impact of the currently proposed shallow tunnel. The Supplemental Draft EIS addressing these and other issues is expected in 2015.

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act provides for a review process to encourage (but does not mandate) preservation when a federally-funded project like SWLRT affects historic properties such as Kenwood Parkway and the Kenilworth channel between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake, which is part of the Chain of Lakes.  KNO approved an expenditure of up to $5,000 for a contract with Preservation Design Works to assist KNO with its role as a Consulting Party in the section 106 review process. KIAA will use Neighborhood Priority Plan (NPP) funds from the City under the Community Participation Program to pay for this cost. Based on the neighborhood survey in 2013, one of KIAA’s NPP priorities is “hiring a professional to identify ideas for mitigation near the proposed 21st Street Station, including visual, noise, and safety issues related to the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit, or otherwise addressing issues related to the impact of the SWLRT on the neighborhood.”

The four comment letters submitted by KNO to date under the section 106 review process can be found here:

KIAA SWLRT 106 Letter on 04_22_2015 Materials_THL

KIAA SWLRT 106 Letter on 02_24_2015 Materials FINAL

SWLRT 106 Letter 2 16 15 FINAL 3.2.20 15

KIAA Response to 11_12_2014 106 Materials Final (2)

KIAA 106 Response to 10_17_2014

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Hill & Lake Press article re: SWLRT

Viability of Southwest LRT, current Kenilworth alignment questioned as challenges accumulate By Michael Wilson

The above article can be found on the bottom part of page one of this link:

http://hillandlakepress.com/PDF/15Jan.pdf

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Southwest LRT Update re Park Board:

The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Commissioners will be asked to support a light rail transit bridge over the Kenilworth channel, (i.e., discontinuing their research efforts into tunnel alternatives), and to facilitate future LRT projects.

The Commissioners voted on the following resolution:

Resolution 2015-139

Resolution Determining that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Will Not Pursue Tunnel Crossing Options for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) Project; Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with the Metropolitan Council that 1) Establishes a Process that Recognizes Parks and Park Resources in the Transit Project Development Process, 2) Outlines a Process for Collaboration Between the Southwest Project Office and MPRB on Design of Bridge Crossings at the Kenilworth Channel, and 3) Results in an Agreement Between the Metropolitan Council and the MPRB to Facilitate Approval and Construction of the SWLRT Project; and Authorizing the Superintendent to Initiate Agreements with Metropolitan Council to Reimburse the MPRB for Costs Related to Its Work on the SWLRT Project and the Blue Line Light Rail Transit Extension (Bottineau) Project.

Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting to share your opinion during

Open Time* or by contacting the Commissioners** prior to the meeting.

Click here to read more about the agreement between MPRB and Metropolitan Council and the Memorandum of Understanding.

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Kenwood Isles Area Association

Position Statement on Freight Relocation for SWLRT

Adopted July 1, 2013

Nearly 1.5 miles of the proposed SWLRT runs through the Kenwood Isles Area Association neighborhood.  We vehemently oppose the idea of maintaining freight rail along with light rail at grade in the Kenilworth Corridor, known as “co-location.”

Relocation of freight out of the Kenilworth Corridor has been promised for years.  While the corridor was long used for transporting goods, freight use of Kenilworth was halted in 1993 when the Midtown Greenway was established.  When freight was later re-introduced into the Kenilworth Corridor, Hennepin County assured residents this use of the corridor was temporary.

Meanwhile, over 20 years of citizen efforts to build and maintain Cedar Lake Park and the Kenilworth Trail have resulted in a more beautiful and complete Grand Rounds and Chain of Lakes.  Traffic on federally funded commuter and recreational bicycle trails in the Kenilworth Corridor grew to over 620,000 visits in 2012.

When the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority began looking at using the Kenilworth Corridor for LRT, several key studies and decisions reiterated the expectation that, if Kenilworth is to be used for transit, then the freight line must be relocated. (See notes below.)  Trails were to be preserved. Freight rail was to be considered a separate project with a separate funding stream, according to Hennepin County. This position was stated publicly on many occasions, including Community Advisory Committee meetings and Policy Advisory Committee meetings.

Minneapolis residents have positively contributed to the SWLRT process based on the information that freight and light rail would not co-exist in the Kenilworth Corridor.  Although many of us think that Kenilworth is not the best route, most have participated in the spirit of cooperation and compromise to make the SWLRT the best it can be.

Despite numerous engineering studies on rerouting the freight rail, it was not until December 2012 that the current freight operator in the Kenilworth Corridor, TC&W, decided to weigh in publicly on the location of its freight rail route.  TC&W rejected the proposed reroute.

The Met Council has responded by advancing new proposals for both rerouting the freight and keeping it in the Kenilworth Corridor.  For either option, these proposals range from the hugely impactful to the very expensive – or both. Six of the eight proposals call for “co-location” despite the temporary status of freight in Kenilworth.  The Kenilworth proposals include the destruction of homes, trails, parkland, and green space. Most of the proposals would significantly add to the noise, safety issues, visual impacts, traffic backups, and other environmental impacts identified in the DEIS.   

This is not a NIMBY issue.  The Kenilworth Trail provides safe, healthy recreational and commuter options for the city and region.   It is functionally part of our park system. The Kenilworth Corridor is priceless green space that cannot be replaced.

For over a decade public agencies have stated that freight rail must be relocated to make way for LRT through the Kenilworth Corridor.  If this position is reversed midway through the design process for SWLRT, the residents of Kenwood Isles would find this a significant breach of the public trust.

Simply stated, none of the co-location proposals are in keeping with the project goals of preserving the environment, protecting the quality of life, and creating a safe transit mode compatible with existing trails.

This has been a deeply flawed process, and we reject any recommendation for at-grade co-location in the Kenilworth Corridor.  If freight doesn’t work in St. Louis Park, perhaps it’s time to rethink the Locally Preferred Alternative.

Notes

1) The 29th Street and Southwest Corridor Vintage Trolley Study (2000) noted that, “To implement transit service in the Southwest Corridor, either a rail swap with Canadian Pacific Rail or a southern interconnect must occur.”

2) The FTA-compliant Alternatives Analysis (2005-2007) defines the Kenilworth section of route 3A for the proposed Southwest Light Rail in this way:  “Just north of West Lake Street the route enters an exclusive (LRT) guideway in the HCRRA’s Kenilworth Corridor to Penn Avenue” (page 25).  This study goes on to say that “to construct and operate an exclusive transit-only guideway in the HCRRA’s Kenilworth Corridor the existing freight rail service must be relocated” (page 26).

3) The “Locally Preferred Alternative” (LPA) recommended by HCRRA (10/29/2009) to participating municipalities and the Metropolitan Council included a recommendation that freight rail relocation be considered as a separate “parallel process.”

4) In adopting HCRRA’s recommended Locally Preferred Alternative based on treating relocation of the freight rail as a separate process, the City of Minneapolis’ Resolution (January, 2010) stated:

“Be It Further Resolved that the current environmental quality, natural conditions, wildlife, urbanforest, and the walking and biking paths be preserved and protected during construction and operationof the proposed Southwest LRT line.

Be It Further Resolved that any negative impacts to the parks and park-like surrounding areasresulting from the Southwest LRT line are minimized and that access to Cedar Lake Park, Cedar LakeRegional Trail, Kenilworth Trail and the Midtown Greenway is retained.”

5) The Draft Environmental Impact Statement supports the Locally Preferred Alternative, which includes relocation of freight out of the Kenilworth Corridor.  (December, 2012)

6) The southwesttransitway.org has stated since its inception that:

Hennepin County and its partners are committed to ensuring that a connected system of trails is retained throughout the southwest metro area.  Currently, there are four trails that may be affected by a Southwest LRT line. They are the Southwest LRT trail, the Kenilworth trail, the Cedar Lake Park trail, and the Midtown Greenway. These trails are all located on property owned by the HCRRA. The existing walking and biking trails will be maintained; there is plenty of space for light rail and the existing trails. Currently, rails and trails safely coexist in more than 60 areas of the United States.

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The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Southwest Light Rail project documents the potential social and environmental impacts of this light rail project, the proposed route for which will pass through Kenwood along the Kenilworth Trail. The final KNO response to the DEIS was formulated with input from Kenwood residents. The document can be read by clicking on this link:

DEIS KNO final

KIAA is working on its response to the Southwest Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS is now available for review and comment at southwesttransitway.org.  The DEIS documents the potential social and environmental impacts of this light rail project, the proposed route for which will pass through Kenwood along the Kenilworth Trail.  Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, December 11. KNO’s draft response can be found in the links below. Please consider submitting your own response on the DEIS by following the instructions on the website mentioned above, and also provide input on KNO’s response by emailing Jeanette Colby, KNO LRT Committee Chair, at jmcolby@earthlink.net, or by attending KNO’s December 3rd meeting (7 pm at the Kenwood Rec Center). KIAA’s draft response to the DEIS:

DEIS Introduction

DEIS Ch2 Alternatives

DEIS Social Effects

DEIS Ch4 Environment

DEIS Ch5 Economic

DEIS Ch6 Transportation

(scroll to the bottom of the page for other KNO / LRT – related documents)

Southwest Transitway DEIS Now Available

The Southwest Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is now available for your review and comment at southwesttransitway.org.  The DEIS documents the potential social and environmental impacts of this proposed project.

For the most up-to-date information regarding the Southwest LRT project, visit  www.southwesttransitway.org

Southwest LRT Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Public Hearings Set  November 13th, 14th and 29th

The important information below, dated September 25th, 2012, appears on Hennepin County’s southwesttransitway.org web site.

The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority has scheduled three public hearings in November to formally gather public comments on the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Friday, Oct. 12; the comment period will be 60 days, extended from the minimum requirement of 45 days due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The Southwest LRT DEIS will be available online as a searchable document on the southwesttransit.org website. Hard copies will be available at the Hennepin County 701 Building; Hennepin County Library locations; the city halls along the proposed route and the Southwest LRT Project Office. For immediate notification of DEIS publication, please sign up for the project email list.

Public comment on the impact statement will inform preliminary engineering on the project, which is scheduled to begin in early 2013.

The public hearings will each be preceded by an open house, where people can learn more about the Southwest LRT project and the DEIS.

·        4:30 p.m. (4 p.m. Open House) Tuesday, Nov. 13, Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis map

·        6 p.m. (5 p.m. Open House) Wednesday, Nov. 14, St. Louis Park City Hall, 5005 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park map

·        6 p.m. (5 p.m. Open House) Thursday, Nov. 29, Eden Prairie City Hall, 8080 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie map

In addition to formal testimony at one of the three public hearings, comments can be submitted:

· By email: Written comments can be submitted to swcorridor@co.hennepin.mn.us.

· By U.S. Mail: 701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55415

All comments received on the impact statement will be forwarded to the Metropolitan Council, which will be responsible for responding to the comments during the Final Environmental Impact Statement phase of project development.

Southwest Light Rail Transit Update – March 2011

Planning for the proposed Southwest LRT between Eden Prairie and downtown

Minneapolis continues. Because a station stop is planned at 21st Street, a number of KIAABoard members participated in station area planning beginning last summer and concluding on February 28th. The final product can be found atwww.southwesttransitway.org/station-area-planning.html.

Two KNO Board members, Eric Sjoding and Jeanette Colby, are part of the

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC). www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=1247

In preparation for a response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), the CAC is charged with developing recommendations related to the proposed corridor and LRT’s potential impacts on parkland. The County initially believed that the DEIS would be made public in November, but it is now not likely to be released before the end of April. Finally, KNO has been following the heated discussion in St. Louis Park of the expected relocation of freight trains. These trains currently run about four times per day through the Kenilworth corridor, and their relocation is a requirement for building the SWLRT. Hennepin County has assured constituents that “the existing walking and biking trails will be maintained” and that they can safely co-exist with light rail. With advocacy, high standards, creativity, and use of available tools and partnerships, KNO hopes that the proposed SWLRT can be a national example of excellence in transit design.

Jeanette Colby, KNO LRT Committee Chair

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(click on a topic below to view a PDF related to that topic)

KNO_Station_Response_2011 (PDF)

Joint_Neighborhood_LRT_Design_Goals (PDF)

City_of_Mpls_LRT_Locally_Preferred_Alternative_Resolution (PDF)

KIAA_LRT_2008_Resolution (PDF)

Community Update on SWLRT:

What 2015 Holds

Kenwood Rec Center Gym

2101 West Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis,MN

Wednesday, January 21st, 6-8 PM

This event is hosted by Hennepin County District 3 Commissioner Marion Greene and co-sponsored by the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association (CIDNA), the Cedar Lake Park Association (CLPA) and the Kenwood Isles Area Association (KIAA). In response to feedback from these neighborhood groups, the meeting will offer presentations by the County and Southwest Light Rail Project Office, rather than an open house, with ample time for questions and answers. It has also been requested that the staff identify future opportunities for meaningful community input into the planning process. Commissioner Greene and other presenters will begin at 6 pm and answer questions afterwards, starting sometime between 7 and 7:30. Questions may be submitted to Marion Green in advance or asked at the meeting. Marion.Greene@hennepin.us

Commissioner Greene states: “All are welcome; we anticipate this meeting being of greatest interest to people who live in the area of the West Lake, 21st Street, or Kenwood side of the Penn Avenue Stations, who want to know how the project will move forward in 2015, and ways to get involved.”

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How should the City of Minneapolis gauge its success?

 

The City of Minneapolis has launched a project soliciting public input on how the City can know it is achieving its goals.  For example, what does “Living Well” (one of the five City goals) mean to those who live, work, and play in Minneapolis? Does it mean connected neighborhoods?  Access to amenities? Safe streets?

Through the project, the City is looking for input from the community to help define what success looks like.  through community outreach and online engagement, the City wants to hear from folks on what Minneapolis looks like when the City achieves its goals.

Folks are encouraged to share their thoughts using an online engagement tool (Success.MinneapolisMN.gov) now until Feb. 6 and encourage others in Minneapolis to also weigh in with their feedback.  Because the online engagement tool uses crowdsourcing technology, the information within the tool will update in real time to display the changing input and ideas of its users. Log in often to submit new ideas and vote on new information!  It’s quick and easy to participate, and you can spend as much or as little time within the tool as you want.

The City is using tailored engagement strategies to ensure it gets a variety of perspectives from a wide range of communities including cultural communities, GLBTQA, seniors, youth, and City employees.  The community will have opportunities to provide input through community listening sessions and paper surveys in addition to the online engagement tool.

Once the engagement period closes, City staff will develop measures for the most popular themes within each City goal.  Thank you for participating in this important project.

 

INPUT NEEDED on KIAA’s Response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Light Rail Line

KIAA is working on a response to the Southwest Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS is available for review and comment at southwesttransitway.org.  The DEIS documents the potential social and environmental impacts of this light rail project, the proposed route for which will pass through Kenwood along the Kenilworth Trail.  Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, December 11. KNO's draft response can be found on the LRT page of this website:http://kenwoodminneapolis.org/blog1/lrt/ . Please provide input on KNO’s response by emailing Jeanette Colby at jmcolby@earthlink.net or by attending KIAA’s December 3rdmeeting (7 pm at the Kenwood Rec Center). Please also consider submitting your own response to the DEIS by following the instructions on the Southwest Transitway web site, southwesttransit.org.

LRT Public Hearings

Southwest LRT Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Public Hearings Set  November 13th, 14th and 29th

The important information below, dated September 25th, 2012, appears on Hennepin County’s southwesttransitway.org web site.

The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority has scheduled three public hearings in November to formally gather public comments on the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Friday, Oct. 12; the comment period will be 60 days, extended from the minimum requirement of 45 days due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The Southwest LRT DEIS will be available online as a searchable document on the southwesttransit.org website. Hard copies will be available at the Hennepin County 701 Building; Hennepin County Library locations; the city halls along the proposed route and the Southwest LRT Project Office. For immediate notification of DEIS publication, please sign up for the project email list.

Public comment on the impact statement will inform preliminary engineering on the project, which is scheduled to begin in early 2013.

The public hearings will each be preceded by an open house, where people can learn more about the Southwest LRT project and the DEIS.

·        4:30 p.m. (4 p.m. Open House) Tuesday, Nov. 13, Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis map

·        6 p.m. (5 p.m. Open House) Wednesday, Nov. 14, St. Louis Park City Hall, 5005 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park map

·        6 p.m. (5 p.m. Open House) Thursday, Nov. 29, Eden Prairie City Hall, 8080 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie map

In addition to formal testimony at one of the three public hearings, comments can be submitted:

· By email: Written comments can be submitted to swcorridor@co.hennepin.mn.us.

· By U.S. Mail: 701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55415

All comments received on the impact statement will be forwarded to the Metropolitan Council, which will be responsible for responding to the comments during the Final Environmental Impact Statement phase of project development.

The next KNO meeting  is Monday, November 5th from 7 to 8:30 pm at the Kenwood Recreation Center and we expect discussion of the DEIS to be on the agenda. All Kenwood residents are invited to the meeting, as always.