Sunday, July 26, 2009

Light Rail Redux

The Strib and the Pioneer Press both have editorials on the latest blow-up over mitigation of the effects of the new light rail system on the University of Minnesota research facilities, especially the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance laboratories which are a sidewalk and some bushes away from the proposed line.

I've put up a truncated version of both editorials and a suggestion about this situation on the Periodic Table, Too, site:

Light Rail and the U, a Modest Proposal

Unfortunately, this situation looms as another public relations disaster for the U. From the Strib site comes the following scene-setter:


"I'm absolutely committed to dealing with the university's legitimate concerns. I've said, we will mitigate so that they can use existing equipment in existing locations, and if that mitigation does not work, we'll come up with corrective action. ...They want us to mitigate against some future uses. That's an open checkbook."

Peter Bell, Metropolitan Council chair


"We don't have room to compromise, and we won't compromise the research of the university. They have yet to prove to us that what they are proposing will work."

Kathleen O'Brien, vice president for university services

This exchange is eerily like the ones that occurred during the original siting struggle. We know how this shook out. The U administration needs to learn how to put its case in terms that a layperson can understand. This "my way or the highway" attitude is not selling very well and makes the U continue to look bad to the public.

It is time to face reality: The siting is on Washington Avenue.

How are we going to work together to solve the resultant problems?

Making claims that what the Met Council is proposing "won't work" won't cut it.

The U needs to come up with some hard numbers for the amount of money that it thinks is necessary for mitigation. Claiming that the Met Council's proposed solutions won't work based on University paid consultants is not very convincing to the man in the street.

Motherhood, apple pie, and the public good are not in the same category as research - at least in the eyes of Minnesota citizens.

No comments: