Southwest Corridor light-rail station studies funding approved
Members of a Hennepin County Board of Commissioners committee have approved $400,000 to fund a station and further study for light-rail transit in the Southwest metro.
The board, acting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), OK’d the funding June 17 for the proposed Southwest Corridor, a light-rail transit line serving Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Minnetonka and St. Louis Park, according to a Hennepin County news release.
Hennepin County is applying to the Federal Transportation Administration for potential New Starts projects grants to study land use and economic development potential within a quarter- to half-mile radius of future station locations.
The Southwest Station Area Master Plans will be developed throughout the next year, creating future land use plans that identify opportunities for transit-oriented development in the Southwest metro, the release said.
The HCRRA also approved $2.5 million to fund the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Southwest Corridor, which will be prepared over the next 18 months.
Major federal transit grant secured
Funding for the $133 million Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA) — federal money for a host of transit projects — came through June 12. The UPA will fund transportation projects along I-35W from downtown Minneapolis to suburbs in the southern metro.
To celebrate the federal grant, a number of Southwest transportation stalwarts gathered in Bloomington with Mayor R.T. Rybak and Gov. Tim Pawlenty to mark the occasion.
State Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-60B), Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-60) and U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters were also in attendance.
The UPA will, among other changes and additions, convert narrow bus lanes to wider toll lanes along I-35W between 46th Street and downtown by the end of 2009. The agreement also calls for an additional, speedier bus lane between the post office and the convention center.
That plan includes converting existing car pool lanes on I-35W to allow single-occupant drivers to also use them if they pay a fee, and extending the new lanes, known as High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. The federal funds also will be used to purchase 26 new buses, speed wait times for buses at stoplights and construct new park-and-ride facilities along the corridor.
The Urban Partnership Program is part of a U.S. Department of Transportation effort to address traffic congestion. In addition to Minneapolis, the Department has entered into partnerships with Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Seattle.
Crosstown questions answered at Kingfield Farmers’ Market July 13
Ever had a burning Crosstown closure question that your neighbors just don’t have the answer to? Well, Crosstown staff have agreed to stop by from 10 a.m.–noon Sunday, July 13 at the Kingfield Farmers’ Market (KFM), at 43rd & Nicollet. There will also be an ice cream flavor contest at the KFM, albeit most likely not associated with the Crosstown or its staff.