New findings guide Gateway Corridor routes, stations; frequency decisions

The Gateway Corridor transit study has found modifying transit routes, stations and frequency would decrease costs, increase ridership and provide more long-term economic development potential in the corridor, commission officials recently announced.

The Alternatives Analysis Study was extended to refine the potential transit options after presenting the rankings to the public this spring.

Further evaluation of the corridor determined shifting the alignment out of the Interstate 94 median to Hudson Road south of I-94 in the Woodbury area would provide more long-term economic development potential for the corridor.

Manning Avenue was also found to be the optimal location to end all BRT and LRT operations rather than the St. Croix River because Manning decreased costs but not ridership. A new station in Landfall would also increase ridership without significantly increasing costs.

“We received a lot of great feedback and suggestions from the public after presenting the ranking of the eight transit options this spring,” said Lisa Weik, Washington County Commissioner and chairwoman of the Gateway Corridor Commission.

“The extension of the study gave us an opportunity to make necessary refinements that will ensure the alignments, stations and frequency rates are the most beneficial to communities along the corridor and at the best value,” she added.

The study also looked at potentially reducing property impact for the BRT and LRT options through St. Paul’s eastside, along East Seventh Street and White Bear Avenue. However, the design of these transit options would need to be narrowed by at least 12 feet to have any meaningful reduction of property acquisition. The evaluation found that the design could not be narrowed more than four feet for safe and proper transit operations.

“The additional research and feedback help us make the best decisions for St. Paul, Ramsey County and the entire corridor,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega. “We have a great opportunity to connect the east metro to the region’s transit system, but it has to be based on facts and public support.”

Final ridership and cost data based on these recent changes to the transit options are being evaluated.  Later this fall, the Gateway Corridor Commission will recommend the best transit options to be reviewed in the environmental assessment phase of the study.