On Tuesday, March 27, over 150 eastsiders gathered at the Eastside Community Center to hear about the Gateway Corridor alternative proposals and to voice their opinions. This was a great turn out for the area, but remember, there is still time to send in your opinions about what you would like to see happening with transit in this area.
County Commissioner Jim McDonough spent a good deal of time explaining his preference for an alignment of light rail that travels along I-94 from the east to White Bear, then goes up White Bear to 7th Street and follows 7th Street into downtown St. Paul and the Union Depot. In terms of the rating of the options so far, this option is ranked quite low, and the District 1 Community Council has come out with a preference for a different alignment along I-94. However, if you would like to contact Commissioner McDonough about his preference, you can reach him at Jim.McDonough@co.ramsey.mn.us or by calling his office at 651.266.8350.
We also heard from residents about their concerns. These concerns ranged from wondering which and how many properties would be taken to build a light rail line on White Bear, to how noisy light rail would be, to why any money was being spent on this proposal at all. Not everyone was in opposition – some people saw this project as an opportunity to clean up the eastside and to provide access to jobs across the region.
The point now, however, is to let the planners know what you think and what you would like to see. The details of the alternatives can be found at http://www.thegatewaycorridor.com/html/transit-study-gateway-corridor.php
You can send comments to http://www.thegatewaycorridor.com/html/contact-gateway-corridor.php
Keep in mind that other transit projects are in the works for the eastside and that some of these are likely to be in place before anything related to Gateway is built. These include an “Arterial Bus Rapid Transit” way along 7th Street – a limited stop, fancy bus, fast way to access points from Maplewood to downtown St. Paul (and along West 7th, too), and a proposal to do a study of a streetcar line along 7th. In addition, at a longer time interval, the Rush Line proposal is to have a commuter transit line from up near Forest Lake to downtown that would travel along either 35E or the Phalen Corridor. All of these options would increase development investment on the eastside of St. Paul – some with greater development potential than others.
Stay informed, ask questions and provide your feedback. This is an example of how your opinion helps shape the future of your community.