Minneapolis 2040 Plan: SWLRT Up-Zoning, by Susu Jeffrey

The prospect of justifying SWLRT by rearranging the population is central planning in the authoritarian mode long criticized in Western democracies.  

The Bryn Mawr Southwest Light Rail Transit stop would be 30-feet below the dead end of  Penn Avenue North at Interstate 394, in an ancient Mississippi River channel, now park land. Access to the station would be along a horizontal pedestrian walkway, thrust across and above the freight rail carrying ethanol and oil. The pedestrian walkway would be 100-yards long—the length of a football field. At the end of the skywalk an elevator or stairway (42 steps) would take riders up or down. There is no parking for Minneapolis transit stations.

The 2040 (Twenty/Forty) Plan  

The DFL-controlled Minneapolis polity is split between quality-of-life proponents and development. The proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) project is driving “up-zoning” to increase tax revenues in Bryn Mawr and to increase population in Bryn Mawr and other LRT stops. Just look at the apartment blocks along Hiawatha (Hwy 55). My place could go from a two-bedroom single family unit to a six-story multi-family building.

The prospect of justifying SWLRT by rearranging the population is central planning in the authoritarian mode long criticized in Western democracies.

SWLRT is the operative issue here. It is the only light rail project which the Minnesota legislature has refused to fund. Instead the powers-that-be have volunteered Hennepin County to raise $1-billion by doubling the sales tax in order to qualify for federal matching funds. That amounts to almost $1,000 for every man, woman and child in our county of 1.2 million residents.

Everybody has to pay the regressive sales tax however SWLRT is designed to transport only one percent of the county’s population.

This is truly transit-without-the-mass when the commuter rail should have been routed to Uptown or the Northside, places where lots of people live, instead of through parkland and between Cedar and Lake of the Isles, threatening the top of our unique Chain of Lakes.

Besides the sales tax burden residents along the proposed SWLRT route could be exposed to accidents from electric passenger trains running beside the heavy freight trains carrying ethanol and oil. It’s called “co-location.”

SWLRT is the most expensive public works project ever proposed in Minnesota…

A one-half mile evacuation zone parallels the six to nine-mile route from Hopkins through St. Louis Park and Minneapolis to Target Field. A proposed “crash wall” would be installed along only one-mile of the route.

In addition to the Twins stadium the evacuation area labeled a “blast zone” includes the famous Kenilworth commuter bike trail, a 44-acre urban forest, Farmers Market, Dunwoody College, Blake School, Anwatin Middle, Bryn Mawr and Kenwood Elementary schools, Cedar Lake’s “Hidden” and south beaches, Jones-Harrison senior and recovery facility, Calhoun Beach Club and the Whole Foods shopping complex.

In order to promote co-location Hennepin County politicians have negotiated away citizens’ rights to collect damages in case of a train disaster. The shared rights-of-way would become a “liability immunity zone.”

SWLRT is the most expensive public works project ever proposed in Minnesota, it has cost more than $200-million in its 20-years of planning. It was designed to transport elite exurbanites into the city before the demographic switch to move rich in, and poor out.

Minneapolis 2040 is designed to attract developers and tax revenue.

Susu Jeffrey, Bryn Mawr resident since 1986.

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