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May 23, 2014

Council Chair Susan Haigh


Metropolitan Council
390 N. Robert St.
St. Paul, MN 55101

Re: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) position on Southwest Light Rail
Transitway options through the Kenilworth corridor.
Dear Council Chair Haigh:
On May 21, 2014 the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) adopted
Resolution 2014-209, articulating its position on Light Rail Transit through the
Kenilworth corridor. While the MPRB is not part of the Corridor Management
Committee nor will it be party to the Municipal Consent process, it plays a critical role
in protecting parkland from the impacts of transportation projects. Below are key
points of the attached resolution.
1) The MPRB states its position that, based on Southwest Light Rail Transitway Project
Office preliminary finding of feasibility, tunneling LRT under the Kenilworth Channel
may be the only Section 4(f) feasible and prudent alternative within the shallow
tunnel option regarding Minneapolis parkland impacted by the project;
2) The MPRB states its determination that the project as currently proposed to bridge
LRT over the Kenilworth Channel is likely not the most feasible and prudent
alternative and therefore the MPRB will not grant project consent under Section 4(f)
of the Federal Transportation Act;
3) The MPRB requests that the SWLRT Project Office continues necessary design and
engineering studies to determine the feasibility and prudence of a tunnel under the
Kenilworth Chanel in conjunction with the shallow tunnel options in accordance with
the requirements of Section 4(f) (2) of the Federal Transportation Act and that these
studies be done immediately and in conjunction with the pending municipal consent
process so as to prevent any unnecessary delay with or confusion about what type of
SWLRT project will be acceptable to the government entities charged with
representing the interests of the people and parks in Minneapolis.
Thank you for serious consideration of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Boards
position on this matter.
Sincerely,

Liz Wielinski, President
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board of Commissioners
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Resolution 2014-209
Resolution Stating the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Determination That, Based on Southwest Light
Rail Transitway Project Office Preliminary Finding of Feasibility, Tunneling LRT Under the Kenilworth Channel
May be the Only Section 4(F) Feasible and Prudent Alternative Within the Shallow Tunnel Option Regarding
Minneapolis Parkland Impacted by the Project, However that Determination Requires Greater Analysis
Whereas, The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) was created by the Minnesota Legislature in
April 1883 and has the authority to manage and operate park lands;

Whereas, The Minneapolis Chain of Lakes is designated under federal law a National Scenic Byway and is a
portion of the Minneapolis Grand Rounds deemed eligible by the U.S. Department of the Interior under the
Historic Preservation Act for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places and the Park Board has
ownership interests in parkland that will be directly affected by current plans to bring the alignment of the
South West Light Rail Transitway (SWLRT) over the Kenilworth Chanel thereby co-locating freight and
passenger trains along with a recreational trail necessitating massive at grade infrastructure on critical
parkland;

Whereas, Section 4(f)(1) of the Federal Transportation Act requires a finding of no feasible or prudent
alternatives to the use of parks and historic sites before the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) can
approve the use of such property for transportation purposes and the attendant expenditure of federal
transportation funds;

Whereas, Section 4(f)(2) of the Federal Transportation Act imposes a duty on the Secretary to utilize all
possible planning at the earliest stages to minimize harms to parks and historic sites before the Secretary can
approve a route;

Whereas, In August, 2013, the MPRB Board of Commissioners passed Resolution 2013-282 stating a position
on the preliminary engineering options for the proposed SWLRT through the Kenilworth corridor;

Whereas, Through Resolution 2014-114 in February 2014, the MPRB notified the SWLRT Project Office of the
Park Boards concern about the project and its effect on parkland and requested the SWLRT Project Office to
conduct preliminary engineering feasibility and cost comparison analysis of tunneling under the Kenilworth
Channel as part of the shallow tunnel option;

Whereas, SWLRT Project Office staff have indicated their preliminary findings that tunneling under the
Kenilworth Channel is technically feasibility, however the MPRB finds that important technical questions need
further analysis and resolve before Federal Transportation Act Section 4(f) findings can be reasonably made;

Whereas, The time to conduct additional analysis is now, during the municipal consent process, so project
alterations that entail the most feasible and prudent alternatives in regard to Section 4(f) can be made
without delaying the project timeline; and

Whereas, This resolution is supported by the MPRB 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan, which envisions
Dynamic parks that shape city character and meet diverse community needs;

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RESOLVED, That the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board states its position that, based on Southwest Light
Rail Transitway Project Office preliminary finding of feasibility, tunneling LRT under the Kenilworth Channel
may be the only Section 4(f) feasible and prudent alternative within the shallow tunnel option regarding
Minneapolis parkland impacted by the project;
RESOLVED, That the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board states its determination that the project as
currently proposed to bridge LRT over the Kenilworth Channel is likely not the most feasible and prudent
alternative and therefore the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board will not grant project consent under
Section 4(f) of the Federal Transportation Act;
RESOLVED, That the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board requests that the SWLRT Project Office continues
necessary design and engineering studies to determine the feasibility and prudence of a tunnel under the
Kenilworth Chanel in conjunction with the shallow tunnel options in accordance with the requirements of
Section 4(f) (2) of the Federal Transportation Act and that these studies be done immediately and in
conjunction with the pending municipal consent process so as to prevent any unnecessary delay with or
confusion about what type of SWLRT project will be acceptable to the government entities charged with
representing the interests of the people and parks in Minneapolis;
RESOLVED, That the Secretary to the Board transmit a copy of this resolution to the Metropolitan Council,
Governor Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Legislators, Hennepin County Commissioners, the Minneapolis Mayor
and City Council and other officials with interests in the SWLRT; and

RESOLVED, That the President of the Board and Secretary to the Board are authorized to take all necessary
administrative actions to implement this resolution.