Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Light Rail On Campus

U Should Not Be Demanding Status Quo

(Letter to the Editor)

From the Star-Tribune:

In his July 27 commentary "Light rail: Sleepless in Minneapolis," Tim Mulcahy of the University of Minnesota wrote: "To establish a win-win scenario we seek engineering that guarantees that the trains will not increase vibrations and electromagnetic interference (EMI) in our laboratories to levels that exceed what exists today, and monitoring systems to ensure that continued operation of the line remains within these standards."

I live in a neighborhood that has airplane traffic. This was not always the case. Do I have a right to demand that noise not exceed the levels of 1950 rather than bow to what is needed for the greater public good?

Some mitigation is indeed necessary. But to ask that the public keep things exactly as they are as far as vibrations and EMI simply isn't reasonable.

It is time for the U to spell out the exact problems and the cost for the mitigation. How much would it cost -- a real number, say a quotation from vendors -- to move the NMR lab to one of the new buildings under construction? What is the possibility that NIH funding could be acquired to move the NMR lab?

Asking for things to stay as they are is simply unreasonable and not economically possible.

This leaves the U open to the appearance of trying to stop the project because it doesn't like the route. Please note I said "appearance."

William B. Gleason, Minneapolis

University Faculty Member

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