Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Latest From Pioneer Press on Light Rail

From the Pioneer Press:

Advisory panel approves Central Corridor light rail route

By Dave Orrick

The Central Corridor light rail line is one step closer to reality.

Today, the Central Corridor Management Committee, a 13-member advisory panel, unanimously approved the light rail route that would link St. Paul and Minneapolis via University Avenue.

The advisory panel recommendation includes:

A $909 million train up and running in 2014.

A station in front of Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, with a Lowertown maintenance yard that allows a future link to the rear concourse of Union Depot for its envisioned role as a transit hub.

A basic infrastructure to allow additional stations along University Avenue at Western Avenue, Victoria Street and Hamline Avenue.

A street-level train through the University of Minnesota campus on a car-free Washington Avenue — and an agreement to figure out later how to make that work.

Political and civic leaders have grappled in the past several years with a range of possible routes, including a loop in downtown St. Paul.

One sticking point remains and that is what happens to traffic around the U.

The university agreed it could accommodate an outdoor "mall" for trains along what is now Washington Avenue on its east bank campus. Previously, the U had been holding out for an expensive tunnel or a little-studied route along the north edge of campus through the Dinkytown neighborhood. Kathleen O'Brien, vice president for university services, said the U will continue to study two Dinkytown routes.

Results of the study to show the feasibility of those routes won't be complete until May or June.

The Metropolitan Council is expected to take the panel's recommendation and approve it at a 4 p.m. meeting today.

No comments: