Crystal takes “no action” on LRT design plans
Light rail through Crystal has raised plenty of concerns.

"There's been concern about crime, traffic, emergency response," said Crystal City Council member Casey Peak.

There's also optimism about what a light rail line could bring.

"I believe the light rail line is going to bring in a lot of economic development, help a lot of our businesses in downtown Crystal," said Crystal City Council member Laura Libby.

But on Monday night, the Crystal City Council wasn't voting whether light rail is good or bad. It was voting whether to give "municipal consent" on METRO Blue Line Extension designs plans that are only 15 percent finished.

"I don't feel comfortable putting my name behind something that's fuzzy," said Crystal City Council member Olga Parsons.

It's fuzzy because the city doesn't have concrete guarantees the city will get a pedestrian bridge over County Road 81 at Bass Lake Road, the light rail's lone stop in Crystal. There's also no guarantees from the Metropolitan Council about sound walls and visual screening for homes along the line.

"I really believe we have done everything in our power to explain to the project office exactly what we want," said Crystal Mayor Jim Adams.

While most Crystal City Council members have been against light rail, they realize a "no" vote would just delay the project. It wouldn't mean the project would not happen.

"Even if we voted no, it doesn't have any teeth," said Crystal City Council member Elizabeth Dahl.

Which brings us to the question: what's the best way to say "no," when the result will ultimately be "yes?"

"It's a travesty the system is set up this way," said Parsons.

In the end, the city council approved a "no action" resolution, which means the project does move forward. The council also added a list of demands, such as the pedestrian bridge and visual screening. The Met Council has said it will work with the city to see those demands are met.

Corey Bork, reporting



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