Southwest LRT Planners Resolve Final Lawsuit by Eliminating Last 15 Stations

Planners at the Metropolitan Council say they have solved the latest, and hopefully final, lawsuit over the planned Southwest LRT transit line by eliminating all but the first three stations of the line. The line will now begin at Mitchell Station and end at Eden Prairie Town Center Station. “We’ve talked with all the stakeholders and local governments along the line,” said Chuck Rootbender, lead planner with the Metropolitan Council. “This is a solution that everyone can get behind and support and finally move this project forward.”

The line has been plagued by debate and lawsuits, including the latest by a group of Minnetonka residents claiming that the route would harm a local natural area. The Metropolitan Council also sparred with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board over the design of a channel crossing in Minneapolis. The new route plans would solve those disputes by ending the line before it left Eden Prairie city boundaries.

Park and ride plans for Mitchell Station

Park and ride plans for Mitchell Station

The new line would now serve primarily suburban residents, moving shoppers quickly to Eden Prairie Center Mall from further flung destinations. “Everyone agrees that parking at Eden Prairie Center gets nearly three-quarters full around the holidays, and a nice warm LRT ride from the park and ride at Mitchell would really help out,” said Eden Prairie mayor Archibald Freelane.

The new routing plan would also shave over $1 billion of the cost of project, bringing the cost to $300 million, versus the previous estimates of $1.65 billion. “This is a heck of a deal,” said Rootbender. “We’re getting a significant savings here. $300 million is only a little more than it would cost to put bus shelters at every stop in the metro that needs one. That is value.” A funding package for the new line still needs to be finalized, according to Rootbender, but sources will include a bread tax, local, county, state, and federal sources, a donation from George Soros, and aluminum cans collected at Metro Transit waste baskets that will be driven to Michigan on an old Route 16 bus.


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3 Responses to Southwest LRT Planners Resolve Final Lawsuit by Eliminating Last 15 Stations

  1. Ben April 1, 2015 at 6:15 am #

    Nice! Now if we in Brooklyn Park can get that sort of victory to leave LRT on highway 81, my neighbors and I would not have to move.

  2. Ben April 1, 2015 at 7:01 am #

    Sigh…and only if it were true.

  3. Julia Silvis April 1, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    I think you meant “eliminating all but the *final* three stations”: the line — as with everything in the metro — starts in Minneapolis 😉