Did you know? Transit challenges affect St. Paul's East Side

The Green Line may be up and running, but that is only the beginning of new transit development in the eastern metro. Did you know that there are three potential transit projects that could have a direct impact on the future of Dayton’s Bluff?

  1. Gateway Corridor – a transit corridor running along I-94 between Woodbury and Union Depot.
  2. Rush Line Corridor – a transit corridor running between Hinckley and Union Depot.
  3. Streetcar Line – running on 7th Street from Randolph Avenue, through downtown, to Arcade Street.

All of these projects are in various stages of study and planning, so now is the time to get involved.

Why are we spending so much money building new transit corridors?

  • Transit is the second-largest household expense for families. A household can save more than $9,700 per year using transit instead of a car.
  • More people use transit: from 1995 to 2012, there was a 35% increase in public transportation ridership.
  • More people live here: Along the Gateway Corridor, it is expected that the population will increase 40% by 2030, and MnDOT has no expansion plans for I-94.
  • Last year, FESTEC initiated several East Side community conversations about transit. Our neighbors told us that our current transit system is slow, doesn’t get people where they need to go when they need to go there, and the stops don’t always feel safe. They made it clear that our local transit systems need serious improvement to be truly useful.
  • Federal funds will be used for some of these projects. Though you and I contribute to those funds, the dollars can be spent anywhere in the country. Getting the funding spent here brings our money home, and an expanding transit system improves our quality of life and keeps us competitive for attracting large employers, sporting events and conventions.

How can transit help Dayton’s Bluff?

  • Transit takes people to and from work and will allow some of our neighbors to get to better jobs.
  • Every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales. Transit makes it easier for folks to get to jobs, shopping, and services in Dayton’s Bluff, which encourages investors to build here. Empty store fronts and vacant land will be filled.
  • For every $1 communities invest in public transportation, $4 is generated in economic returns. Families spending less on cars, with access to better jobs, will have more to spend, growing our economy.
  • Parking issues: transit options reduce the need for cars, easing parking and congestion.

What are the potential challenges with new transit?

  • Routes – potential routes could impact existing streets, highways, homes, parks, and parking. Studies provide a certain amount of data, but community input really informs planners about the true neighborhood impact of possible routes.
  • Construction impacts – construction can be a long, messy process impacting everyone and everything in the area. Careful planning and excellent communication ease construction stress.
  • Poorly-designed and -located stops – stops need to be easily accessible on foot, by bike, and from other connecting modes of transit. Stops also need to be strategically placed so that transit riders are dropped off near employers, shopping, and service providers to maximize the positive economic impact on our community.
  • Increased property values/rents – Studies show that property values and rents near transit lines will increase; this could help our neighborhood which suffered deeply from the foreclosure crisis. For households struggling to remain in affordable housing, this can create difficulties. In some cases, the transportation savings offered by transit and the access to better jobs can offset the increased housing costs. But careful planning will be necessary to ensure that those who struggle most will benefit from new transit and not be displaced by it.

Your input will help ensure that new transit is a positive thing for Dayton’s Bluff. Visit these websites to learn more about the projects and how to get involved:

Gateway: www.thegatewaycorridor.com

Rush Line: www.rushline.org

Streetcars: www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=4872

For this article's sources, please contact editor [at] daytonsbluff [dot] org.

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