Golden Valley And LRT… Who’s Really Listening?
by Jason Bradley
Golden Valley and their good friends over at the Met Council are dead set on building at least one, if not two, light rail stops in Theodore Wirth Park, upsetting residents that live in the area. Their concerns have gone almost unheeded from City Leadership, who flip-flopped on their original position against the line. Let’s not forget that (self-identified) “political insider”, Mayor Shep Harris, “Directed passage of the city’s Locally Preferred Alternative for the proposed Bottineau Light Rail Train” (http://www.fredlaw.com/our_people/shepard_m_harris/). Does anyone actually believe that they will get a fair hearing from a main proponent of this line? Even if there was a majority against it on the Council, he would have to agree to take the issue up. Good luck with that.
The trouble is that Mayor Harris, and the other members of the Golden Valley City Council for that matter, don’t hear you. If you read the Strib last Friday (I know, doubtful), you may have seen an article proving my point. (http://www.startribune.com/local/294460911.html) In it, Harris stated, “(We) feel like it needs to be there … if we’re going to be part of a larger metropolitan area,” Harris said. “Unfortunately … people who are more opposed or who have greater concerns are more likely to come out when it’s a subzero degree night and express their opinion.” So let me get this straight. 1) We need a station (or two) in Golden Valley if they want to be a part of a larger Metro Area. I would argue that being a first-ring suburb with three major highways (394, 100, and 169) running through it and existing mass transit routes (including the Louisiana Ave Park and Ride with 10 minute express bus service to downtown Minneapolis on its southern border) would make it a good candidate. 2) “People who are more opposed or who have greater concerns are more likely to come out when it’s a subzero degree night and express their opinion”. Doesn’t that tell you something? You know why they are willing to come out in the dead of winter? They are passionate about their cause! This will affect their homes and lifestyle. You know how I know? Crystal and Hennepin County did the same thing to me. So yeah, the people that will have to deal with the eyesore, commotion, redevelopment, and noise pollution every day do care more than the crowd that casually thinks… “Sure, I like the idea of taking a train from closer to home”. This statement is fancy politician talk for “if you disagree with my position, your opinion doesn’t mean a whole lot to me”. It’s really condescending to tell people that came out on a cold night to speak about something important to them that “there are plenty of others with a different opinion… they just didn’t show”.
Whether it is swept under the rug or not, Hennepin County maps show that high-density housing is planned. It will happen no matter what anyone tells you. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) goals show that high density housing and mixed use development within a half-mile of transit stops are standards of any good TOD project. Look at the Hiawatha Line. Look at the problems emerging on the Hiawatha Line. Golden Valley, you are set to experience that in one, and maybe even two locations. Rep. Rey Dehn (DFL- Minneapolis) might not think the stops are “ripe for development”, but that doesn’t mean a thing. Going back to Crystal, they tore out a number of homes and businesses in widening Co. Rd. 81, and building a medical center on the land where houses used to stand. If Hennepin County wants to do it, they will not let simple things like private property rights stand in their way. They will do whatever they can to get the land, tear down homes, and rebuild in the name of “public benefit”. Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat has been licking his chops for far too long to settle for half an implementation.
This is what happens when you elect a lobbyist and political insider as mayor. You not only reap all the benefits that his government buddies can get you, you get to feel what it’s like when they want to take things away. Enjoy all that, Golden Valley.
Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Liveand Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.
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Entry filed under: Golden Valley, Hennepin, Mayor, Met Council. Tags: Blue Line, Bottineau, Community Solutions MN, CSMN, DFL, Golden Valley, Hennepin County, Jason Bradley, Light Rail, lobbyist, Locally Preferred Alternative, LRT, mass transit, Met Council, Mike Opat, protest, redress, Rey Dehn, shep harris, Star Tribune, Theodore Wirth Park, TOD, transit oriented development, Transit stations.