Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

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

Information

Department:Planning ServicesSponsors:
Category:ContractProjects:No Project

Item Discussion

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 Board’s 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;”

 

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 until greater analysis occurs and project plans are modified;

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.

 

Body

 

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends that the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board state 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.

Staff further recommends that the Board state 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 until greater analysis occurs and project plans are modified.

Staff further recommends that the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board request that the SWLRT Project Office continue necessary design and engineering studies to confidently 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.

 

 

Meeting History

May 21, 2014 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting

Approved as Amended

President Wielinski called upon Bruce Chamberlain, Assistant Superintended Planning to present the current and proposed bridge structures for the SWLRT, along with Counsel Brian Rice to answer questions from the Commissioners

RESULT:ADOPTED [5 TO 0]
MOVER:Scott Vreeland, Vice President, Commissioner District 3
SECONDER:Meg Forney, Commissioner At Large
AYES:Liz Wielinski, Scott Vreeland, John Erwin, Meg Forney, Steffanie Musich
ABSTAIN:Brad Bourn, Annie Young
ABSENT:Jon Olson, Anita Tabb
May 21, 2014 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting

Amend as Follows:

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(Ff) Feasible and Prudent Alternative Within the Shallow Tunnel Option Regarding Minneapolis Parkland Impacted by the Project, However that Determination Requires Greater Analysis

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 until greater analysis occurs and project plans are modified ;

RESULT:ADOPTED [5 TO 0]
AYES:Liz Wielinski, Scott Vreeland, John Erwin, Meg Forney, Steffanie Musich
ABSTAIN:Brad Bourn, Annie Young
ABSENT:Jon Olson, Anita Tabb