Metro Gold Line
Overview
SystemMetro
OperatorMetro Transit
StatusProposed (New Starts Engineering phase)
Began service2025 (est.)
Route
Route typebus rapid transit
Locale(Ramsey County)
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Maplewood, Minnesota
(Washington County)
Landfall, Minnesota
Oakdale, Minnesota
Woodbury, Minnesota
Landmarks served3M Headquarters
Metropolitan State University
StartDowntown Saint Paul
EndWoodbury, Minnesota
Length9 mi (14 km)
Stations11
Service
Ridership6,500 (2040 projection)[1]
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The Gold Line, also known as the Gateway Corridor during early planning, is a proposed bus rapid transit along Interstate 94 from St. Paul, Minnesota to Woodbury, Minnesota.

History

Originally, the Gateway Corridor was planned to follow Interstate 94 from the St. Croix River Bridge in Wisconsin to Saint Paul and is one of the most heavily used and traveled corridors in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. As a result of recent population growth, the Gateway Corridor today moves more than 150,000 vehicles per day. In 2009, a commission was created to study and plan alternative transportation options in the corridor.

In August 2010, the Gateway Corridor Commission and its consultant team initiated a Transit Alternatives Analysis Study (AA), looking at the corridor from the Twin Cities to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This is the first step in determining the best mode (i.e. light rail, commuter rail or bus rapid transit); estimated ridership, possible routes and stops, and projected costs to build, operate and maintain. In looking at these four main areas, the study will help to address the issues of congestion, potential economic development/revitalization and environmental and social impacts.

The AA Study will take approximately 18 months to complete and is expected to be finished by spring 2012. Final decisions regarding the mode of transit and route will be determined by the Metropolitan Council and Ramsey and Washington County Regional Railroad Authorities. These decisions will help move this from a planning effort into a real, tangible project.

The Gateway Corridor Commission has dropped the commuter rail option, leaving only possible bus rapid transit or light rail routes. All of the bus rapid transit route options would run on Interstate 94.[2]

Bus Rapid Transit

The proposed bus rapid transit line would from downtown Saint Paul to Woodbury and was proposed to be built by 2024. The project was renamed from the Gateway Corridor to the METRO Gold Line[3] The line would cost $485 million in 2021 dollars with 45% of that coming from federal sources. The Gateway Corridor Commission estimates 8,600 weekday riders by 2040.[4] Buses would run 90% of the time on new roads that run next to existing roads and highways. Service would be every 10 minutes during peak times and 20 - 30 during other times. Travel times from end to end for the 12 stations would take at least 34 minutes.[5] The Metropolitan Council approved the locally preferred alternative in December 2016. The project began New Starts Project Development in January 2018. After passing the National Environmental Policy Act with a Finding Of No Significant Impact from the FTA in January 2020, the Metropolitan Council declared no additional environmental review was needed for the project in March 2020.[1][6]

The project was given a "medium-high" rating by the Federal Transit Administration in March 2021. The rating allows the project to continue into the engineering phase of the FTA's New Starts program.[1][7] The "medium-high" rating was an improvement over the "medium-low" rating that the project received in January 2020. By adding 350 park-and-ride spaces, ridership projections increased which improved the project's rating.[8] Utility work for the project could start as soon as the summer of 2021.[6]

With 3 years needed until service could start, developments worth $200-290 million were proposed along the line by April 2021.[9]

References

  1. ^ a b c "METRO Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit" (PDF). Federal Transit Administration. March 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Article". Archived from the original on 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  3. ^ "Welcome to the expanding METRO network". Metro Transit. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  4. ^ Shaw, Bob (December 18, 2015) "Woodbury-to-St. Paul Gold Line would be second costliest, per rider" Saint Paul Pioneer Press
  5. ^ Shaw, Bob (December 19, 2015) "Is the $485M St. Paul-to-Woodbury Gold Line bus worth it?" Saint Paul Pioneer Press
  6. ^ a b Johnson, Brian (April 16, 2021). "Metro Transit Gold Line project advances". Finance & Commerce. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  7. ^ Moore, Janet (April 14, 2021). "East metro bus rapid transit Gold Line clears critical hurdle with feds". Star Tribune. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  8. ^ Shaw, Bob (April 15, 2021). "Gold Line clears key hurdle for federal funding". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  9. ^ Shaw, Bob (April 30, 2021). "Rapid-transit bus line sets up rapid-growth development in east metro". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 3 June 2021.

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