Minnetonka, Hopkins See Big Need for LRT Pedestrian Bridge

Trains will have their own bridge to get over wetlands and train tracks, but there’s no plan for an easy way for walkers to reach the Shady Oak Station.

The Southwest Light Rail Transit bridge that will cross Bass Lake Spur tracks and wetlands west of the landfill.
The Southwest Light Rail Transit bridge that will cross Bass Lake Spur tracks and wetlands west of the landfill.

The Southwest Light Rail Transit route crosses the Bass Lake Spur tracks and wetlands as it heads into the Shady Oak Station west of the Hopkins landfill. A $13 million bridge will help trains traverse the area, but there’s no easy route for pedestrians.

Hopkins and Minnetonka fear that could cause the line to miss out on hundreds of riders—particularly since the area off of Smetana Road has demographics that align well with forecasted ridership, said Julie Wischnack, Minnetonka’s community development director. It has many young workers. There are a large number of renters, and homeowners live in lower-value properties.

Local officials have proposed building a pedestrian bridge running beneath or alongside the light rail bridge. But Minnetonka Engineering Director Lee Gustafson said the cities aren’t likely to get the project to pick up the costs, so they’re now investing whether grants could pick up the tab.


Smetana vs. Minnetonka Overall

The table below shows how the Smetana area compares to Minnetonka as a whole. It includes Claremont Apartments, Beachside and Deer Ridge neighborhoods, as well as others. The numbers do not include Hopkins.

Julie Wischnack, Minnetonka’s community development director, provided the neighborhood figures. Because an exact counterpart to those figures wasn’t always immediately available, a relevant Minnetonka data point is listed below. The overall figures are based on data from the Metropolitan Council.

Smetana Households           

  • Number of households: 278
  • Number of adults: 470
  • Adults per household: 1.7

The Minnetonka population in 2010 was 49,734. There were 21,901 households.

Smetana Age           

  • Under 35: 15.1 percent
  • 35-54: 39.2 percent
  • 55-74: 38.5 percent
  • 75+: 7.2 percent

In Minnetonka overall for 2010, 8.5 percent of the population was 75 or older, 24.6 percent was between 55 and 74, 28.3 percent was between 35 and 54 and 38.65 percent was younger than 35. About 11.6 percent was younger than 19.

Smetana Ownership           

  • Owned: 56.8 percent
  • Rented: 43.2 percent

Minnetonka overall had a 75 percent homeownership rate in 2011.

Smetana Housing Type           

  • Owned single-family: 0.4 percent
  • Rental single-family: 0 percent
  • Duplex/triplex: 0 percent
  • Owned multifamily: 56.5 percent
  • Rental multifamily: 3.6 percent
  • Rental apartment: 39.6 percent

In 2012, Minnetonka overall had 57.4 percent of housing in single-family homes, 11.4 percent in townhomes, 29.4 percent in apartments and 1.8 percent in duplexes, triplexes or four-plexes.

Smetana Home Values           

  • Under $200,000: 100 percent
  • $200,000-$249,000: 0 percent
  • $250,000-$299,000: 0 percent
  • $300,000+: 0 percent

Minnetonka’s overall median home value was $294,000 in 2011.


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