Tran­sit panel fa­vors street­car for W. 7th link

Star Tribune - - MINNESOTA - Min­neapo­lis Rich­field Men­dota Li­ly­dale Men­dota Heights Ea­gan West St. Paul Sun­fish Lake In­ver Grove Heights Janet Moore • 612-673-7752 @MooreStrib

Not ev­ery­one is on board. Some, like the Frank-Shan­non fam­ily, worry how the com­pli­cated, years­long construction project will af­fect their busi­ness.

“We are a small, fam­i­ly­owned busi­ness,” Crys­tal Frank-Shan­non told the Riverview Cor­ri­dor Pol­icy Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee. “It’s im­por­tant you keep me in mind, my baby and hus­band in mind. Re­mem­ber us. This is my world.”

The com­mit­tee opted for the street­car — a mode that doesn’t ex­ist in Min­nesota — over five oth­ers, in­clud­ing a “no build” op­tion and bol­ster­ing bus ser­vice.

Thurs­day’s rec­om­men­da­tion now means the pub­lic will have its say at a Nov. 9 hear­ing. Once that oc­curs, the Pol­icy Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee will likely vote on a for­mal rec­om­men­da­tion in De­cem­ber. Ul­ti­mately, the Metropoli­tan Coun­cil will have a say, pre­sum­ing Min­neapo­lis, St. Paul, Bloom­ing­ton and Hen­nepin and Ram­sey coun­ties ap­prove the plan. The line isn’t ex­pected to be­gin pas­sen­ger ser­vice un­til 2027.

Light rail, which faced se­ri­ous com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion, was ruled out ear­lier. While shar­ing some sim­i­lar­i­ties with light rail, the street­car would op­er­ate in traf­fic along much of W. 7th, shar­ing track with the Green Line in down­town 35W E. Lake St. CedarAv.S. Mall of Amer­ica

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62 Bloom­ing­ton Univer­sity Av. W. Marshall Av.

Snelling

Av.S.

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13 35E

35E

Lone Oak Rd. St. Paul and the Blue Line in Min­neapo­lis between the Fort Snelling light-rail stop and the Bloom­ing­ton mega­mall. A tun­nel would bur­row un­der Fort Snelling.

A new bridge over the Mis­sis­sippi River next to the ex­ist­ing Hwy. 5 span would be erected. This is be­cause a street­car op­er­at­ing in fast­mov­ing traf­fic on the ex­ist­ing bridge would be un­safe, and the struc­ture it­self couldn’t bear the ex­tra weight, said Mike Rogers, tran­sit project man­ager for the Ram­sey County Re­gional Rail­road Author­ity, which is over­see­ing the project.

The plan adopted Wed­nes­day in­cludes a caveat that more study will be done re­gard­ing a link to the Ford site de­vel­op­ment

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Union De­pot St. Paul

Riverview Cor­ri­dor

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in the High­land Park neigh­bor­hood.

The ma­jor­ity of the com­mit­tee said the street­car op­tion would work well and heartily sup­ported it. John Re­gal, from the St. Paul Cham­ber of Com­merce, said tran­sit is im­per­a­tive for the city and re­gion to re­tain and at­tract busi­nesses. “Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple have been wait­ing for this project for 20 years,” Re­gal said.

Ram­sey County Com­mis­sioner Rafael Ortega, who chairs the com­mit­tee and the county’s rail author­ity, said a grow­ing num­ber of ag­ing baby boomers will need tran­sit to stay mo­bile. “Tran­sit will be a crit­i­cal mode for young and old,” Ortega said.

Some be­lieve the street­car op­tion was pushed be­cause it may at­tract fed­eral tran­sit dol­lars.

“My prob­lem, as a mem­ber of the busi­ness com­mu­nity, is this is re­ally the fed­er­ally pre­ferred al­ter­na­tive,” said steak­house owner Pat Mancini.

The Fed­eral Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FTA) is ex­pected to pay 49 per­cent of the project’s cost, with Ram­sey and Hen­nepin coun­ties cover­ing the rest. Jon Com­mers, who rep­re­sents the Met Coun­cil on the com­mit­tee, said Riverview is among 65 projects na­tion­wide vy­ing for fed­eral tran­sit money. Many of them en­joy a higher rat­ing with the FTA, said Com­mers, who nonethe­less sup­ported the street­car op­tion.

Mem­bers of an­other Riverview ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee said Ar­te­rial Bus-Rapid Tran­sit — sim­i­lar to the pop­u­lar A-line con­nect­ing Rosedale with the Blue Line’s 46th Street sta­tion in Min­neapo­lis — would work bet­ter. ABRT is a bus that mim­ics light-rail tran­sit ser­vice; pay­ment is made be­fore board­ing, for ex­am­ple.

The com­mit­tee voted 9-3 for the street­car. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for St. Paul City Coun­cil Mem­ber Re­becca Noecker, who rep­re­sents the neigh­bor­hood, voted against the mea­sure, say­ing she needed more in­for­ma­tion.

Source: Metro Tran­sit, NCom­pass Tech­nolo­gies

2 miles

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