New BRT line along Hudson Road preferred transit route for the Gateway Corridor

Lisa Weik

After reviewing numerous options to improve transit connectivity of the east metro to downtowns St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Gateway Corridor Commission identified a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line along Hudson Road from St Paul to Woodbury as the best option for the region.

The Hudson road decision was the best option after extensive analysis and public involvement campaign spanning nearly two years.

BRT along Hudson Road was determined to best meets the Commission’s established goals of improving mobility, providing a cost-effective economically viable solution that promotes economic development, protects the natural environment, and preserves community quality of life and overall safety.

“The commission’s charge was to determine if the east metro could build a cost-effective, economically viable transit option that improved mobility and supports future economic development,” said Washington County Commissioner Lisa Weik, chair of the Gateway Corridor Commission. “The corridor’s population is projected to grow by 30 percent by 2030, creating a dedicated transit line along Hudson Road allows for the greatest access to the increasing population and job base in the east metro.”

The line will provide a fast, reliable and convenient trip for travelers into downtown St. Paul and on to Minneapolis and other regional destinations.  The 10 proposed station stops will provide connections to key destinations throughout the Corridor including Union Depot, Metro State University, SunRay Shopping Center, 3M and multiple commercial and job centers in the eastern suburbs.

“The decision to recommend the Hudson Road route was a result of numerous community meetings,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega. “Residents and business owners wanted a transit line that met the goals of mobility, economic development and preserving the quality of life. Hudson Road is that option the community can rally around and support.”

“Connecting the east metro to downtown St. Paul and the region’s transit system is great for business,” said Matt Kramer, president of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. “Transit in the Gateway Corridor will provide new opportunities for economic development and a critical link for employees commuting to their workplace.”

The public is encouraged to provide additional comments on the narrowing of alternatives by visiting the Gateway Corridor website at www.thegatewaycorridor.com.  The Gateway Corridor Commission will also be releasing a draft of the Alternatives Analysis Final Report for public comment by the end of October.  Once all comments are received the report will be revised as necessary.  The Commission is scheduled to approve the final report at its December 13 meeting.

The next phase of the study, preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), is expected to start in early 2013. The Commission advanced the BRT Option along Hudson Road as well as the second highest ranked option, LRT (Light Rail Transit) along Hudson Road.  LRT ranked second due to its higher capital costs for generating the same amount of riders as BRT.  Both options have the same route, station stops and similar service plans.  Advancing an LRT option forward as well provides an opportunity for a more detailed side-by-side comparison of the two transit technologies.

 

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