Lawsuit: Light Rail line that doesn't exist yet will be too loud


Is the Green Line light rail extension too loud?

One lawsuit is arguing yes – even though it doesn't exist yet, and still doesn't have funding.

The federal suit over the Southwest Light Rail Transit line (read it here) was filed Tuesday by three apartment complex owners, all of which have properties that would be near the light rail's path (if it actually gets built).

Here's an overlay showing the Deer Ridge, Greenfield and Raspberry Woods complexes in Minnetonka and Hopkins, with the proposed Green Line extension route included.

You can see a more detailed map of the route here.

The lawsuit says the apartments have been popular among people who want "a quiet place to live in a natural setting."

The lawsuit argues it'll be nearly 4 times as loud

The lawsuit says the Met Council didn't think enough about the noise.

The line will be as little as 125 feet from apartment units, about 50 feet from outdoor rec spaces, and less than 30 feet from a meeting and recreation facility for people who live at the property, according to the document.

The suit says the current noise level is about 53 decibels – they compare that to the hum of a refrigerator, while Industrial House Noise Control considers it a "quiet suburb" or "conversation at home."

With the new light rail line cutting through, it will increase the sound level to 70 decibels, the lawsuit argues. That's about four times as loud as 50 decibels, the industrial noise website says, and the suit compares it to a vacuum cleaner.

That means construction on the project shouldn't start until the Met Council takes a closer look at the noise issues, and adds measures to reduce it, the suit says.

Met Council confident there's 'just not a case'

Kate Brickman, spokesperson for the Met Council, told BringMeTheNews in a statement they feel "confident that there's just not a case."

"We have had numerous correspondence and meetings with the property owner and made design adjustments to avoid possible noise impacts," Brickman said.

She added that the noise assessment in the final environmental impact statement, which was just released last week, is in line with guidelines. She also said the review didn't identify any "potential noise impact" to the properties. (The suit says that conclusion is incorrect.)

Brickman also said the apartment owners want a station next to the property, but that it's "not part of the current project, despite their attempts to lobby the City and us to include one.”

So what's happening with the line?

You can read about the Final Environmental Impact Statement here – it details land, water and noise impacts, and also includes the route plan, station designs, and a whole lot more.

They're taking public comments on the impact statement until June 13.

But the extension – which would go from downtown Minneapolis, west through St. Louis Park and Hopkins before cutting south to Eden Prairie – doesn't even have funding yet.

State lawmakers have been fighting over how much money the $1.79 billion project it should get.

About $895 million of it could be paid for by the federal government...but only if the state agrees to kick in $135 million, which it hasn't yet.

The Met Council, however, hopes to get construction started next year, with trains up and running on the line in 2020.

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