Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

Resolution
2012-321

Resolution Approving a Comment Letter to Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority for the Southwest Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Information

Department:Strategic PlanningSponsors:
Category:PolicyProjects:No Project

Attachments

  1. Comment Letter, SWLRT DEIS Draft

Item Discussion

Whereas, The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is the steward of the Minneapolis park system;

 

Whereas, The Southwest Transitway (SWLRT) is a proposed project intended to provide light rail transit from downtown Minneapolis through neighborhoods and communities to the southwest area of the Twin Cities;

 

Whereas, A Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) is adjacent to MPRB property and includes trails that are maintained by the MPRB (part of the Cedar Lake Regional Trail and all of the Kenilworth Regional Trail);

 

Whereas, The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the SWLRT was released on October 12, 2012 for a 60-day comment period;

 

Whereas, The MPRB formed an appointed Community Advisory Committee to prepare recommendations to the Board on the contents of a formal comment letter in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Southwest LRT Alternative 3A;

Whereas, The MPRB directed that the recommendations of the CAC shall focus on desired outcomes relative to historical, cultural, visual, recreational, social, environmental, and safety issues as they relate to lands owned or managed by the MPRB;

Whereas, The CAC met 14 times to identify potential issues and impacts of the project, review the DEIS and develop recommendations for the MPRB’s comment letter;

 

Whereas, The comment letter combines CAC recommendations and staff comments; 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”;

 

RESOLVED, That the Board of Commissioners approve the comment letter to Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority for the Southwest Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement; 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.

 

 

Body

Background

The Southwest Transitway (SWLRT) will connect Minneapolis to the southwest suburbs of the metro area. The Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the SWLRT is adjacent to land owned and managed by the MPRB and includes trails that are maintained by the MPRB (part the Cedar Lake Regional Trail and all of the Kenilworth Regional Trail). The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the SWLRT was released on October 12, 2012 for a 60-day public comment period. Due to the location of the LPA, it is critical that the MPRB comment on the DEIS to ensure impacts to MPRB property or the facilities it maintains are identified and addressed through preliminary engineering of the project.

 

A DEIS is required for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) because federal funds are being sought to help pay for its construction. The Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) uses the NEPA process as the overarching umbrella under which the mandates and considerations of all laws affecting transit project development are considered. As part of this process, the FTA is the federal lead agency under NEPA, and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) is the state lead agency under the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) for development of the project’s DEIS. The DEIS discusses (1) the purpose and need for the project, (2) the alternatives considered, (3) the impacts of these alternatives, and (4) the agencies and persons consulted.

 

To develop a comment letter for the DEIS, the MPRB formed an appointed community advisory committee (CAC) with the following charge:

 

Prepare recommendations to the Board on the contents of a formal Comment Letter in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit Alternative 3A. The recommendations of the CAC shall focus on desired outcomes relative to historical, cultural, visual, recreational, social, environmental, and safety issues as they relate to lands owned or managed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

 

 

The CAC met 14 times between September 2010 and December 2012 to identify potential issues and impacts of the project, review the DEIS and develop recommendations for the MPRB’s comment letter. The comment letter combines CAC recommendations and staff comments.

 

RELATED BOARD ACTIONS

 

July 21, 2010                            Board approves CAC charge and composition

 

September 1, 2010               Board approves revised CAC charge

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Staff recommends approval the comment letter to Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority for the Southwest Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

 

This action is supported by the following vision and goal statements in the MPRB 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan.

 

Vision Theme 3:              Dynamic parks that shape city character and meet diverse community needs.

Goal:              Parks shape and evolving city.

 

Meeting History

Dec 5, 2012 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting
RESULT:ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Annie Young, Commissioner At Large
SECONDER:Scott Vreeland, Commissioner District 3
AYES:John Erwin, Liz Wielinski, Brad Bourn, Bob Fine, Carol A. Kummer, Jon Olson, Anita Tabb, Scott Vreeland, Annie Young