Readers Write: Light rail extension, housing, I-94 land bridge proposal
Opinion editor’s note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.
Here we go again! (“New route proposed for Blue Line train,” April 19.) Metro taxpayers beware! When will we learn?
“The Metro Blue Line Extension is an essential part of our region’s transit infrastructure,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Charlie Zelle in the article.
And later: “Planning for the Blue Line comes as the Met Council is facing scrutiny over the building of the Southwest light-rail line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. The project has been beset by cost overruns and prompted legislators to vote for the Legislative Auditor’s Office to review the troubled project.” Remember taxpayers: The largest infrastructure project in Minnesota history came with the large cost overruns, with still unknown limits to those overruns. How can we expect better results this time, if we have not even audited the last debacle to learn how this happened? The same obviously inept Met Council is still in charge.
Zelle is also quoted in the same article as follows: “The route is not without its challenges, but I sincerely believe they are not insurmountable.” But at what new cost(s) beyond the $1.5 billion projected?
Can we not wait to clean up the Southwest messes first?
Dennis Sellke, Minnetonka
At last, a rational approach to mass transit. The Blue Line planners see the light: Put the transit where the people are. It’s too late for the Southwest light rail. They are committed to the route through the high-dollar lakes neighborhoods with low population density and high water tables. Regardless of the ballooning construction costs through that neighborhood, it made no demographic sense.
Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park
In a time when disregard for scientific fact can seem acceptable (the election was stolen, global warming is a natural event, etc.) experts can help because they are trained to look for bias.
An example: Residents of the Cedar Isles Condominiums predicted their homes would be damaged by light-rail construction and now reject the conclusion by a respected engineering firm that the cracks in their buildings (retrofitted concrete grain silos) were mainly caused by thermal expansion and contraction (“Temps called key cause of condo cracks,” April 14). Maybe they’re right and the experts are wrong, but factoring in the role of bias is an essential part of getting at the truth.
Richard Adair, Minneapolis
Kudos to the editors of the Star Tribune for running a piece on a good-looking and affordable home (“Remodeled St. Paul farmhouse ‘may be the best house under $300K,'” April 18). Let’s see them more often.
James M. Hamilton, St. Paul
One thing I’ve noticed about the Strib’s real estate coverage is the incessant focus on high-end and luxury markets that often leave the rest of us behind, especially in the north metro. Classism is alive and well.
To be honest, we are tired of being ignored while also having so much to offer. Not only is housing reasonably priced with an extensive variety of values and housing types, but the commercial industry and the school systems are well thought of, well rounded and well respected. Both public and private schools are highly rated and accommodating to all students.
The north metro boasts successful corporations, banking, real estate, engineering firms and innovative medical efforts. Retail and restaurants are abundant. Oh, and did I mention the phenomenal park systems such as Elm Creek Park, the Rice Creek watershed and the Coon Rapids Dam? Bunker Hills Regional Park has bike paths, walking paths, a horse stable, a ginormous water park and wave pool. Golf courses and wineries are all part of the growing landscape. Recreational lakes are abundant also.
The Blaine National Sports Center attracts players locally and from around the world. Participation in sports is big up here. So is theater. The Lyric Arts theater in downtown Anoka has a national reputation. The Franconia Sculpture Park makes for a fantastical experience nestled among the fields and pines.
The attitude in the north metro is relaxed and respectful; it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do for a living. No one is better than anyone else.
We are not just “drive-through country.” Yep, we take pride in our location, location, location!
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
I was surprised that advocates for the Interstate 94 land bridge called out opponents for “racism,” as I simply do not know how this project produces racial justice (“Republicans seek to renege on Rondo land bridge funding,” April 14). For example, when the city of Stillwater promoted the $600 million St. Croix crossing, they stated it would reduce traffic in downtown Stillwater. It was easy for me to grasp the mechanical linkage between removing a highway from downtown and reduced traffic. As for the land bridge, I’ve done my best to frame my skepticism with the points below.
- Many articles promoting the land bridge state 700 families lost their homes when I-94 was built. Please explain the mechanical linkage between building a land bridge on top of these former homes and producing racial justice.
- Many articles covering other developments within Twin Cities low-income neighborhoods often express concerns about gentrification. These include projects such as the Central Corridor light rail and the north Minneapolis Greenway. Please explain how the land bridge will avoid the pitfalls of gentrification.
- Lastly, advocates provide a vision of an arts and business district producing racial justice. However, when I survey new commercial buildings, I see Starbucks cafes, T-Mobile stores and dentist offices. Whereas in a survey of Lyndale Avenue in south Minneapolis, I see a business district with many independent stores. This is for the simple fact that rents in new commercial space are more expensive than rents in 70-year-old commercial buildings. Please explain how this project produces affordable new commercial space.
I may come off as a supposed “racist,” but believe me, I simply don’t see the mechanical linkage between this project and racial justice.
Ronald Hobson, St. Louis Park
My wife and I are getting to the age where we are beginning to think about making a move into the “perfect” senior housing. For years, I have wondered why no one has built an independent and assisted living facility attached to the Mall of America. It’s the perfect spot: walking, shopping and socializing in the winter would be ice-free and wheelchair accessible, and with a potpourri of shops and restaurants one could stay active for hours on end. Looking for nature? How about the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge across the street with its 45 miles of trails? Want to get out of town? The airport is across the street in the other direction. Grandkids want to visit? How about taking them hiking and then a trip to the water park? Oh, and did I mention the light rail, if one feels like going downtown for a change of venue? What could be better?
Rod Martel, Minneapolis