St. Paul looking for resident feedback on Gateway Corridor stations

A map of the Gateway Corridor route shows the five general areas where stations would be placed in St. Paul’s East Side. The Gateway Corridor will be a Bus Rapid Transit line with a dedicated roadway connecting St. Paul’s Union Depot to Woodbury. (submitted graphic)
A map of the Gateway Corridor route shows the five general areas where stations would be placed in St. Paul’s East Side. The Gateway Corridor will be a Bus Rapid Transit line with a dedicated roadway connecting St. Paul’s Union Depot to Woodbury. (submitted graphic)

Though the rough locations of St. Paul stops for the Gateway Corridor are set, the specifics have yet to be hammered out for the up-and-coming transit line.

The Gateway Corridor is a bus rapid transit project that will connect downtown St. Paul’s Union Depot with Woodbury and other eastern suburbs, and will make a projected five stops on St. Paul’s East Side. The five stops will be at Mounds Boulevard, Earl Street, Etna Street, White Bear Avenue and the Sun Ray Shopping Center.

The transit line would run right along Interstate 94 and would provide a roughly rail-like experience with 10-15 minute service every day in both directions between Union Depot and Woodbury.

Unlike a traditional bus line, it will be mostly on its own new roadway. The buses would be easier to board, with no steps up into the passenger areas, and riders would pay for their trip before getting on. The shelters would also include more amenities, such as heating, bench seating and real-time bus information.

In hopes of getting the most out of the project, St. Paul planners are hoping residents will have a chance to put in their two cents about what they want out of the stops.

“We’d like to amplify our citizens’ opinions in that process,” said Bill Dermody, a St. Paul city planner who’s involved with Gateway Corridor planning.

The ultimate decisions on stop locations does not lie in the city’s planning department but rather with Gateway Corridor staff, led by Washington County.

“Those aren’t city decisions, but we want to hear what people think,” Dermody said.

The city is holding two public input meetings on the East Side on Wednesday, Feb. 25, and Thursday, Feb. 26.

Questions on the table at those meetings include things like “How can BRT help St. Paul?” and “What are your priorities for redevelopment?”

Planning around a station includes how the station will look, its precise location, integrating the buildings that are in the immediate vicinity, plans for future commercial or residential developments near the station, transit connections, and more.

Staff will also ask residents for input about pedestrian and bike connectivity to the stations, and ways to cross over I-94.

Lyssa Leitner said the planning process for the Gateway corridor has been oriented around a lot of earlier planning. She points to the Blue Line -- the Hiawatha Light Rail line that goes from the airport to downtown Minneapolis -- planning and development around that was more piecemeal, and developments are just coming along as a result of the project, which was completed in 2004.

Leitner said the Gateway transit project is making progress -- currently, there are ongoing environmental impact studies, analyzing how the project would affect the surrounding area, including looking at noise, construction-related challenges, stormwater management and more.

Those studies will be done by the end of 2015, after which the project development phase of the project begins. It will involve further engineering studies, leading up to a rough construction start date in 2018.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.
 


If you go

Two open house meetings for Gateway Corridor station planning are coming up:

• Wednesday Feb. 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center, 800 Conway St., in the gym

• Thursday, Feb. 26 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 1730 Old Hudson Rd.

The events will include brief presentations, and time for community members to give input.

The open houses will have children’s activities and light food available. Interpreters will be provided by the city if residents request them.


 

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