I live in north Minneapolis and for years have loved the solitude and the “Up North” feeling of biking along the Kenilworth corridor — four short miles from Ole Olson Park, the trail begins and is walked, biked and enjoyed by people from all over the city.
I have seen deer on several occasions, as well as fox and other wildlife. Riding along, I have heard nothing but birds. A rare solace in a noisy city.
The proposed destruction of this beautiful corridor will include much wildlife as well as all the trees (“Light-rail toll: 1,000 trees on trail,” April 22). To replace this by noise-polluting trains is not progress — find another avenue.
Susan Vikse, Minneapolis
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I walk and bike in the Kenilworth corridor regularly, but I wouldn’t call this area “sacred,” as one person quoted in the April 22 article did. It’s an active rail corridor, part of which was acquired by the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority decades ago for the explicit purpose of siting a light-rail line. Since then, many trees have sprouted, including ash and buckthorn.
What is sacred is the health of the planet we live on. Building low-carbon infrastructure like rail transit is an important part of the fight against global warming, Of course it’s sad that this impacts an area we care about. One response might be to adopt and water a few of the thousands of new plantings, so that future generations will inherit a new urban forest and a cooler world.
Richard Adair, Minneapolis
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Will the weeping and wailing over the Southwest light-rail project never end?
We don’t want to see it!
We don’t want to hear it!
It’s too close to this or maybe to that!
Now it’s the “sacred ground” of the existing trail, and its trees and bushes that should be the reason to halt a project that will, like its fellow lines, likely prove to be an incredibly popular way to get around the Twin Cities area.
Two things that should be remembered.
First, although I haven’t researched it, I would imagine that there were also objections from those who didn’t want the houses now owned by those who don’t want their views sullied, or the “sacred” trail built in the first place.
Second, if we hadn’t spent seemingly endless years arguing over issues that in a more realistic society would have been easily settled, the entire project might now be finished — its riders happily using the service, neighbors adjusted to its presence and the replacement trail’s new trees and shrubbery well on their way to full-grown.
Harold Onstad, Plymouth
DENSITY IN MINNEAPOLIS
Has it occurred to the city that this, too, is environmentally intensive?
It was remarkable to hear Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey say, regarding climate change and the environment in his State of the City address: “At the local level, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring science.” (As reported in the April 19 article.) Unfortunately, the city of Minneapolis has denied the need for any environmental study of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan and its likely cumulative effects. The plan will intensify land use in virtually every square inch of the city.
A blanket upzoning on this scale has never been attempted anywhere in North America and will, if it receives final approval, affect over 49% of the land in Minneapolis. Any responsible plan for greater density must anticipate and identify ways to mitigate unintended harm to already fragile urban water, air and earth resources, as well as planning for climate-change resilience. The only way to do this is through meaningful scientific study, which the city has refused to do. This is why Smart Growth Minneapolis and its co-plaintiffs are suing the city: because at the local level we really don’t have the luxury of ignoring science.
Rebecca Arons, Minneapolis
PAYING FOR ROADS
Suburbs are not making good use of the money taxpayers are spending
Ten years ago, the Metropolitan Council told suburbs that they should plan new housing developments next to or near existing interstates or major highways in order to reduce unnecessary new road construction. The suburbs ignored the council’s suggestions.
The city of Lakeville is a prime example. Interstate 35 is on the west side of the city, and new home construction is on the east side. All the roads have had to be upgraded to four-lane highways in order to accommodate the traffic heading to the interstate. Just stupid.
Lakeville established an industrial park five miles off Interstate 35. Then built a two-lane road to service it. Today there is so much traffic on the new road that it needs to be upgraded to four lanes. Just think of the traffic hazards the city’s decisions have created for the motoring public.
Today, the Legislature is considering a proposal by Gov. Tim Walz to raise the gas tax by 20 cents a gallon to pay for road improvements. What this really would do is tax the motoring public to pay for the stupid decisions suburbs such as Lakeville have made. These suburbs need to pay for their own new road construction. No new gas tax.
Mark Lene, Elko New Market
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I read with interest Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s April 17 commentary, “Our goal: Funding sufficient for quality roads and bridges.” She stated that Minnesota “spends less on transportation than most other states. We’ve tried the ‘do more with less’ approach and it isn’t working. … The need [for more funding] is real, urgent and serious.”
Shortly thereafter, while browsing the daily news on the MSN website, I ran across an article headlined “States that are falling apart” (tinyurl.com/msn-apart). The website 24/7 Wall St. had created an index using the share of bridges, roads and dams that are in a state of disrepair or potentially hazardous, to identify the states with the best and worst infrastructure. States were ranked on infrastructure from best (No. 50) to worst (No. 1).
Based on Kelliher’s article, I fully expected to see Minnesota ranked toward the bottom. To my surprise (tinyurl.com/msn-mnrank), it was 48th (third best). Roads in poor condition: 4.1% (20th lowest). Deficient bridges: 5.3% (11th lowest). Dams at high hazard risk: 5.1% (fifth lowest). State highway spending per driver: $555 (18th highest).
The article stated that “[i]n the Donald Trump era, the United States appears to be more politically divided than it has been in decades. Still, there are matters of public policy that most Americans can agree on — chief among them is investment in infrastructure.” That would include me. And according to a recent nonpartisan Gallup poll, 3 out of 4 Americans support the president’s plan of spending more federal (not just state) money on infrastructure. The president proposed a $1 trillion plan to improve aging roads, bridges and tunnels across the country. While funding the project has proved to be a political challenge, broad public support for the plan is rooted in necessity.
Thomas B. Johnson, Walker, Minn.
AUNTS AND UNCLES
I couldn’t help but notice an April 21 letter writer’s response to the April 17 article about the value of “aunties” and the author’s defense of the role of uncles. I see his point. However, I couldn’t help noting his narrative: “This is how men are marginalized in the lives of children — by being ignored or excluded, by being assumed incompetent or disinterested, and by being perceived as a liability rather than a resource.” Replace the word “men” with “women,” and this describes how women have been treated in general throughout the ages. Just sayin’.
Carol A. Henderson, Minneapolis