LRT: Alternatives to U tunnel on the tableby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Metropolitan Council may scrap a proposed tunnel at the University of Minnesota in its plans for a light rail line connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis.
A new plan calls for running the train through a Washington Ave. "transit mall," and re-routing cars to other streets.
The university has studied that option, along with the idea of a shortened tunnel or another route through Dinkytown. But project staff said the tunnel would be too expensive, and a study of the Dinkytown route isn't finished.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who sits on a committee that advises the Met Council on the Central Corridor, said while he prefers the Dinkytown route, decisionmakers need to rally behind the transit mall or risk delaying the project.
"We need to keep our foot on the gas and move forward," Rybak said.
Earlier this week, Ramsey County made key concessions by supporting a shortened route in downtown St. Paul. The Met Council will vote on a plan Feb. 27.