|Central Corridor Update
By Linda Jungwirth
The Central Corridor runs 11 miles between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis, including the U of M, and is bordered by the Canadian Pacific Railway Short Line Rail on the south and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Northern Main Line on the north. Currently University Ave. and I-94 serve as major vehicular routes within this corridor. The Central Corridor has been identified in several studies over the years as a priority for mass transit investment and, in February 2000, the Central Corridor Transit Study was initiated to identify transit options for the corridor. The Coordinating Committee consists of representation from MN DOT, Met Council, the U of M, the cities of St. Paul & Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and Ramsey County.
Goals and objectives for this study cover transportation and mobility, economic opportunity and investment, and communities and environment. A multiple-phase screening process that addressed purpose and need was utilized to narrow the alignment and mode options. The environmental review process began in June, 2001 and will continue through spring of 2002. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a federally mandated requirement which addresses costs, benefits, design, transportation management, and economic, environmental, and social impacts. Alternatives currently proposed to be studied in the EIS are: no-build alternative (no change to transportation services or facilities beyond already committed projects); Transportation System Management (TSM) alternative (low cost infrastructure and bus improvements); Busway/Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alternative (service on exclusive right-of-way on University Ave.); Light rail Transit (LRT) alternative (service on either University Ave. or I-94). Two commuter rail options are being considered but will be deferred to a separate environmental document due to system planning, regional connections, and funding. Technical evaluations for commuter rail are currently underway.
Public meetings were held in June and written comments for this "scoping phase" will be accepted until July 20th, 2001. There will be opportunities for continued public involvement and all are encouraged to ask questions, express concerns, submit suggestions, and attend public meetings throughout the EIS process. Ways to be involved or get on a mailing list are:
Call 651-266-2784 or my office.