KENWOOD — A rally against co-location of light rail and freight rail in the Kenilworth Corridor is planned for Saturday morning.
The rally is being led by LRT Done Right, a citizens group that recently emerged to oppose co-location, one possible outcome of planning for the new Southwest light rail transit (LRT) line connecting downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. The narrow corridor cuts southwest to northeast between Cedar Lake and the Kenwood neighborhood and is already home to a railroad track and a parallel walking and biking trail.
The corridor is also intended to be the route followed by the Southwest LRT line — actually an extension of the Green Line, or Central Corridor LRT, set to begin operations next year. It’s the official position of the City of Minneapolis that freight rail should be rerouted to make way for the new LRT line, a project that is still in the engineering phase.
Others, though, oppose rerouting freight rail and argue co-location is the best solution. Some of the loudest voices against rerouting come from St. Louis Park, a suburb that would see more freight train traffic if heavy rail is eliminated from the Kenilworth Corridor. In Minneapolis, more than 60 town homes built on the edge of the Kenilworth Corridor would have to be removed to make room for two sets of tracks, according to some estimates.
The Metropolitan Council is the local government body now leading the project. It has yet to make a final decision on the co-location issue, but aims to begin construction of the Southwest LRT line by 2015. The 15.8-mile line is not expected to begin service until 2018.
LRT Done Right’s rally begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. It will take place in the meadow area south of the Burnham Road Bridge. Organizers say the nearest street access to the trail is at 2512 Upton Ave. S. (map).
Expected to join the rally are state Sen. Scott Dibble, state Rep. Frank Horenstein, City Council Member (and mayoral candidate) Betsey Hodges and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Anita Tabb.