September 10, 2015 at 3:43 p.m.
The first phase or “tier one” of a multi-year study has resulted in the Rush Line Task Force putting together a preliminary recommendation for moving into the next phase. The favored “transit investment option” in this region is Bus Rapid Transit. (BRT)
Linda Nanko Yeager, Wyoming Council member, is vice-chair of the Rush Line Task Force. She said it’s important for the public to express themselves at this juncture. The finalization of a “locally preferred alternative report” is the next step in this process and this meeting is the time for locals to express their preferences.
The meeting will also provide details about what’s happened so far in studying commuter habits and analysis that led up to this recommendation.
The Rush Line presentation portion of the open house session is at 5:30 p.m. But, you can see exhibits and talk with transit officials anytime beginning at 5 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to end at 7 p.m. It’s at the Headwaters Service Center, (new library and transit facility) on the far south end of Forest Lake, at 19955 Forest Road North.
Rush Line is a corridor basically running along Hwy 61, from Union Depot in St Paul to Hinckley. (There is a bus service operated by the Metro Transit with pickup from the parking lot at Running Aces along 35, not affected by Rush Line activity.)
Elected officials who serve include Nanko Yeager, Chisago County Commissioner Ben Montzka and Kathy Blomquist, North Branch.
The task force has evaluated several modes of transit and identified “key destinations” and also looked at the feasibility of connector route lines to the main corridor.
The group has eliminated continuing any review of a connector transit service on Hwy 8. The population and other criteria didn’t rank this segment very highly, according to the early tier one conclusions.
The early BRT plan shows an ending point at the north end at Broadway Avenue, in Forest Lake. But, Nanko Yeager said there are no specifics on how this might be set up, such as parking lots for those driving to this end point, etc. It isn’t even finalized that Broadway will be the end point for the BRT, “We haven’t gotten that far,” she commented.
Modes of transportation evaluated over the last two or three years included Light Rail, streetcars, diesel multiple units and BRT.
The old rail line route is identified as the right-of-way for the BRT. Nanko Yeager said Rush Line Task Force discussions have been supportive of maintaining the trail, however, even if it means relocating.
There’s 100 feet of rail corridor width and BRT might require 60 to 70 feet, she said.
“Tier Two” will trigger the environmental and engineering investigations more specific to the chosen route location and mode of transit that comes out of this process, she added.
BRT is basically an enhanced bus service, that the BRT Institute describes on its website as mimicking rail. (An example of a BRT line that is now in use runs from Apple Valley to the Mall of America.) It follows a dedicated route and utilizes stations that afford “level boarding” and pre-ticket purchases.
BRT routes have signalization priority and are designed to have no cross traffic (turning and intersections) to slow it.
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