News & Developments
The design for the Xcel Hiawatha Substation has changed in a way that is very problematic! The new design favors obscured and distant views of the structure from people in cars and trains on Hiawatha/55, at the expense of views by people using the Midtown Greenway.
UPDATE: As of December 14th, Xcel has decided to ignore community input and proceed with the new design for the substation. Here is our response letter.
We were successful in getting the Hiawatha Project transmission lines ordered underground, but now we are struggling with recent decisions that have a big negative impact on trail users.
Views of the south side were prioritized over any treatments to the east side at all due to the "airport-to-downtown gateway experience" for Hiawatha Avenue motorists and LRT riders. Although there are more cars on Hiawatha Avenue and passengers on the LRT trains than there are cyclists and pedestrians on the Greenway, the gateway views of the substation’s south side are obscured and/or distant, and much less visible to Hiawatha Avenue motorists and LRT train passengers than the substation’s west side which will have art walls along its entire length.
The change to eliminate art walls on the east side of the Hiawatha Substation were made when more detailed budget information became available after an Advisory Work Group approved the designs. While we are sympathetic to the budget ceiling, we disagree with Xcel’s decision to completely eliminate all art walls on the east side, resulting in an unscreened view of the substation for trail uses approaching from the east. We recommend that a cost-neutral change be made to decrease the length of the art walls on the south side in order to afford putting some upper art wall back on the east side.
Only by generating comments to Xcel will we be successful in correcting this problem. Please help us communicate the following points:
- The angled aluminum mesh wall designs are outstanding.
- It was a great idea to set up an advisory group and engage artists/architects to recommend substation wall designs, and this model for substation design should be repeated.
- The last minute change resulting in an unscreened east side of the Hiawatha Substation, which will be viewed by Midtown Greenway trail users, is unacceptable.
- Small modifications to offer a segment of art wall high up on the east side can and should be done in a way that is cost-neutral and does not delay the date by which the new transmission lines are put into service.
Send an email to Ms. Raelynn Asah at Xcel Energy (email@example.com) to list or paraphrase the points above and explain why this is important to you.
Source of base image: Xcel Energy's Hiawatha Project Compliance Filing, August 31, 2012