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Activists Against History

Some Minneapolis activists held a protest march against a proposed commuter rail project. I imagine they normally love commuter rail, except when it interferes with their NIMBY utopia:

Organizers of the march warned that Hennepin County’s proposal to use a 13-acre parcel in Bryn Mawr for train storage would jeopardize long-term redevelopment plans for Bassett Creek Valley. The largely industrial valley west of Downtown is divided between Bryn Mawr and Harrison, and residents from both neighborhoods have contributed to a decade of redevelopment planning.

In February, the City Council is expected to consider a city staff recommendation to negotiate a sale of the parcel, known as Linden Yards East, to Hennepin County by the end of the year.

Linden Yards East was one of three sites in or near Downtown included in a county study for future rail storage. With up to six commuter rail lines planned to connect to Minneapolis in coming decades, county planners were attempting to identify a site where rail cars could layover between trips.

The site in question, along I-394 between Kenwood and Bryn Mawr Meadows, is currently used to crush old concrete. It used to be a rail yard. Here’s the Kenwood water tower behind the Minneapolis & St. Louis’s Cedar Lake Shops:

Cedar Lake Shops

Coaches when not in service and those in for servicing were normally placed on these tracks.

Today’s urban “visionaries” see only the dense, walkable neighborhoods and shopping districts that rail used to serve. They seem to forget—or ignore—that trains have to park somewhere, and that railroading is a heavy industry that emits noise and stink the song and fragrance of commerce.

The planned rail line is fiscally foolish. But I would love to see the Linden Yards restored to their historical use.