LRT planners hear community concerns

Hiawatha train
A light rail train on the Hiawatha line moving through downtown Minneapolis. Planners hope to receive federal approval to enter final design next year.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

Planners of a light-rail transit line between St. Paul and Minneapolis are working to resolve a number of community concerns, ranging from street parking to traffic.

In downtown St. Paul, Minnesota Public Radio and two nearby churches are worried about vibrations and noise, which they say could affect their abilities to broadcast or hold services.

David Colby is the pastor at historic Central Presbyterian Church. He said the groups will put pressure on the project planners to come up with a written plan on how to resolve some of the expected problems.

"The clock is ticking. A lot of decisions are being made. The funding process is well under way. And yet a lot of our serious concerns have not been addressed in writing in a way that is satisfactory to the real questions our board is asking," Colby said.

Planners with the Central Corridor project will host a number of open houses this week, including one that will be held at Colby's church.

The gatherings are designed for people to talk one-on-one with project engineers about any concerns that weren't covered in an earlier project study.

Project spokeswoman Laura Baenen said the public is invited to speak one-on-one with project engineers about these changes at the five open houses this week.

"At this point, we've probably heard most of these issues raised several times. But this will give people one last chance to get some questions answered, and more importantly, hear what we've done since the summer hearings," Baenan said.

She said any concerns will be included in the project's final environmental impact statement.

The Metropolitan Council expects to finish its final environmental-impact statement next spring.