The 8 alternatives are:
- do nothing (No Build) - this is a baseline to measure impacts of real options - what would the I-94 corridor look like if we did nothing? How would congestion change?
- Transportation Management System - this is also a baseline for comparison - what would the I-94 corridor look like if all we did was manage behaviors that lead to congestion?
- Bus Rapid Transit along I-94 (BRT) - designate special lanes dedicated to express bus system, with limited stops and enhanced stations (pay at station, not on bus)
- BRT along White Bear and 7th Street - limit WB and much of 7th to one lane in each direction, dedicated bus lanes, enhanced stations and limited stops
- Light Rail Transit along I-94 (LRT) - specially designed rail and train system like Hiawatha or the Central Corridor, limited stops, enhanced stations (pay at station, not on train)
- LRT along White Bear and 7th Street - limit WB and much of 7th to one lane in each direction, specially designed rail and train system, limited stops and enhanced stations
- Commuter Rail - this line would follow existing regular rail lines north of District 1 and would go through the eastside without stopping roughly along Phalen Blvd. The only stop in St. Paul would be at Union Depot. This alternative goes all the way from Eau Claire, WI; there would be no benefits at all to the eastside of St. Paul
- BRT Managed Lane - this would involve a dedicated express bus lane down the center of I-94 with stations in the center of the freeway. This alternative is proposed to have no station at Sun Ray, unlike alternatives 3-6
The study looked at potential impacts on properties. Alternatives 3 and 5 (BRT and LRT on 94) had impacts on 26 and 24 properties west of Century Avenue, respectively, of which 4 and 9 would have to be "taken". Alternatives 4 and 6 (BRT and LRT on WB/7th) had impacts on 282 and 285 properties west of Century Avenue, respectively, of which 80 and 87 would have to be "taken".
The study also looked at potential impacts on parking (on-street parking). Alternatives 3 and 5 involved the removal of 72 parking spaces (BRT and LRT on 94). Alternatives 4 and 6 involved removal of 864 parking spaces.
Finally, there were also studies of other traffic impacts - turning motions allowed or not allowed at various intersections. Because Alternatives 4 and 6 went through many more intersections, these alternatives had dramatic impacts on many more intersections.
All the information is available at www.thegatewaycorridor.com. There are opportunities to give comments at this location, also. BUT there will also be a community meeting on March 27 from 6-8p at the Eastside Community Center at Harding High School. We recommend that everyone with an interest attend...
The District 1 Community Council is not surprised by the large, negative impact that alternatives 4 and 6 have on eastside communities. From the very beginning, we have said that these alignments along White Bear Avenue and 7th Street go too far out of the way and through too many residential neighborhoods to be realistic options for the Gateway Corridor. We hope that the West Seventh Arterial BRT proposal that will be in place many years sooner than Gateway will be extended out EAST Seventh early on and meet some of the need some officials see for enhanced transit amenities and economic development along Seventh Street.
We are concerned that economic development happen at our business areas, e.g. Sun Ray Shopping Center, that have not seen any city or county investment in a very, very long time. These business areas do not have a vibrant, small business focus as do other areas on the eastside, and they lack diversity essential to thriving business areas. We are also concerned that residential neighborhoods not be disrupted, torn apart (or torn down) to accommodate potential development in other parts of the eastside - especially when such development elsewhere can be supported and encouraged by other transit projects that will be completed much earlier than Gateway.
We want the Gateway Corridor to be successful in generating economic opportunity for ALL our residents and businesses. And we want to see our government officials focus on a COMPLETE TRANSIT SYSTEM on the eastside of St. Paul that fits into a COMPLETE REGIONAL SYSTEM. If we assume that Gateway Corridor is the only transit project we will ever see, we are not understanding what a transit SYSTEM is.
Get informed, get vocal... attend the public meeting on March 27 at the Harding Eastside Community Center.