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Look out! Getting ready for light rail along the Green Line

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Expect to see a strong presence of officers in patrol cars, on bicycles and on foot along University Avenue and in downtown St. Paul, getting motorists and pedestrians prepared for the light rail trains that will soon begin traversing the Green Line.

The Pioneer Press reports that a safety education and enforcement campaign is beginning along the Central Corridor light-rail line in advance of the June 14 grand opening. Metro Transit will soon begin full-schedule testing, running trains as often as every 10 minutes. St. Paul and Metro Transit police will ramp up their education and enforcement efforts in connection with the accelerated testing.

While officers will issue tickets for violations of traffic and pedestrian laws, police and Metro Transit outreach staff will be focused on education, handing out brochures about safety and talking to people about how to navigate the new system.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune reports that tests are also checking on how the Green Line could impact its new neighbors.

Officials at the University of Minnesota are evaluating tests on vibration and electromagnetic interference created by trains moving past research labs. The U dropped a lawsuit filed against the Met Council after signing off on a 40-page agreement that listed specifics on construction, testing and possible remedies. A floating slab was installed on tracks running alongside campus buildings.

Officials with Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media tell the newspaper that vibrations from the test runs are disrupting recording in their broadcast center downtown St. Paul.

“The floor is vibrating, the ceiling is shaking, the structure is making noise, and that affects the recordings,” operations executive Nick Kereakos told the newspaper.

But according to Mark Fuhrmann, the Met Council’s rail projects director, the trains themselves have caused little vibration in test runs on the tracks. He said that tests have detected vibrations from vehicles clattering across nearby light-rail tracks.

MPR and the Met Council signed an agreement in 2009 that requires the agency to keep noise and vibrations within federal guidelines. The Met Council has installed insulated windows to block out street noise and agreed to install a $1 million concrete slab over hard rubber pads outside MPR. Additional modifications on the street or inside the studios may be required.

Earlier this week, defective concrete panels had to be replaced at 11 intersections.

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