LRT tunnel urged by university

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“A tunnel promotes the safety of riders and non-riders alike,” Kathy O’Brien, vice president for services at the University of Minnesota, told members of the Central Corridor Coordinating Committee on May 24 at the Radisson Hotel on Washington Ave., the first of four public hearings.

O’Brien said light rail transit and a tunnel under Washington Ave. are “essential” to the university. The campus receives 80,000 visitors a day, she said, and Washington Avenue experiences 10 class change “rush hours” a day. Another university speaker said 400,000 patients a year use the hospital complex. The expense of a tunnel has become a question in the budget projections. An above-ground alignment on Washington would be less expensive.

Hearings were held to gather comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement about transit proposed for the corridor. The study of the 11-mile corridor proposes light rail, bus rapid transit, or no changes between the two downtowns. The route follows University Avenue and the university transit way through Prospect Park, and in a tunnel under Washington Avenue crossing the campus.

The public comment period ends on June 5. Comments on the draft EIS should be addressed to: Stephen L. Morris, project manager, Suite 665 RCGC West, 50 West Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102. (Phone: 651-266-2784. Email: deiscomments@co.ramsey.mn.us.) View the draft statement “here”:http://www.centralcorridor.org.

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