Anyone who has ridden on the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis knows that it has a special quality unlike anything else in the area. It is nationally recognized as unique infrastructure that both promotes bike commuting and provides a much-needed location for urban outdoor recreation.
In our opinion part of what makes it so great is that although you are in the heart of a bustling city, it just feels different. Plants and animals line either side of the path and the car free route makes it seem almost as if you are riding in the countryside. Another thing missing? Big huge power lines, for now anyway.
If Xcel Energy has their way, your peaceful morning ride will soon also be accompanied by the hum of power lines running up and down the Greenway Corridor. The scenic rendering pictured right is one potential future for the Greenway as a new distribution system is built for the homes of South Minneapolis.
The two options currently up for debate are either running the power lines underground under 28th street or overhead on the Midtown Greenway. If you feel strongly that the Greenway needs to be protected (and don’t want to battle construction trucks, crews, and maintenance vehicles for the next few years) volunteer your time at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission January 10th.
Here is the information from the Midtown Greenway Coalition:
The Commission will hold a public hearing on January 10th in the Large Hearing Room on the 3rd floor of the Metro Square Building, 121 7th Place E., Suite 350, in Saint Paul. The hearing will start at 9:30 a.m. or shortly after. The Commissioners will first hear from the parties, who include the Midtown Greenway Coalition and many neighborhood groups as well as Xcel Energy, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and several business interests. The Commission will then allow members of the community to speak,
The Commission will hold a second hearing on January 12th at the same place. This meeting will also start at 9:30 a.m. or shortly after. At this hearing, the Commissioners will talk amongst themselves and make their decisions. It is important that members of the community come to this hearing also, so that Commission members will be reminded that they are accountable to the community as well as the utilities.
Our goal is to have at least ONE HUNDRED community members at each hearing to show support for upholding the ALJ’s recommendation to bury the lines under 28th Street. Commit to being there and to bringing your friends with you, and help us reach our goal.
If you won’t be able to make it they are also asking for donations to help pay legal fees related to defending the Greenway against this initiative. A few generous donations will take care of the outstanding bill quickly.