How Much Will Southwest LRT Really Help Hopkins Students?

With Hopkins High School so far from the planned light rail line, School Board Director Kris Newcomer questioned whether students would actually be able to use LRT to travel to courses offered at the University of Minnesota.

One of the benefits of the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit line, promoters say, is that west metro high schoolers could use the line to take college classes at the University of Minnesota.

School Board Director Kris Newcomer was skeptical, though. Hopkins High School is about four miles from the nearest station. At a joint meeting with the City Council on Tuesday, she wondered how the students are going to get there.

The discussion centers on Southwest’s green line extension,which would allow riders to get all the way from Eden Prairie to the University of Minnesota and on to St. Paul.

That’s a perfect fit for the state’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program, light rail advocates say. That program allows high school juniors and seniors to take classes for both college and high school credit—with the cost of tuition and textbooks subsidized by the state.

Metro Transit plans to rearrange bus routes once Southwest trains are running—using LRT as a spine that bus routes along the line connect to.

But Newcomer’s worry isn’t an idle one.

The school district’s Legislative Action Coalition has urged the public to ask Metro Transit to redirect Route 615 around Hillside Lane to pass Hopkins High School and expand hours of operation so students and parents can attend evening events. As it stands, the nearest stop is two to three blocks away from the high school and buses only run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.—making it difficult for families to use public transportation for school events.

Officials say they’ve heard those concerns. Plus, districts could always route their own buses to the stations. But if a solution isn’t found, it’s hard to see how students could take advantage of light rail the way planners envision.


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Dave Lloyd November 03, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Ultimately, those trying to financially reshape and strongly fiscally manage government are more likely to save public schools and union workers. Those two groups will always say they are not paid enough and will exercise their political activities to support "Moderates." It's unfortunate. But, resources are not unlimited. I urge you to support the candidates concerned about excessively growing state budgets, rapidly increaseing local government borrowing, and spending that is not prioritized. You can save the system now, or you can deal with the massive pain should the system fail to be able to support all the spending and borrowing. Greece, Spain, France, Italy, all come to mind. There's no way to "responsibly" reduce trillion plus annual deficits. Voting for those that have already shown they know how to keep spending and debt in check is very important this year. Also, those that understand regulations are going to choke out small business development must be given a positive look. It's that important.
Political Mama November 03, 2012 at 05:14 PM
LRT is a waste of taxpayers money. SW METRO does a great job of getting people where they need to be and has the ability to add and subtract routes based on riders needs and can easily change routes based on road construction. LRT cannot. Lets keep more money in the pockets of minnesotas!
Beavis Friesl November 03, 2012 at 08:23 PM
So sayeth Political Mimi, our resident tea party piñata. Now go back to sleep Mimi while the rest of us figure out how to fix the damage done by your fellow tea party extremists.
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