Transit operations will be somewhat topsy-turvey Thursday at St. Paul's Union Depot where Vice President Joe Biden will speak as part of a three-city tour promoting the seventh anniversary of the American Recovery Re-Investment Act.
Passengers who normally get on or off city, casino and inter-city buses in the transit center will find pick-up and drop-off locations in different locations near Union Depot, and in some cases buses won't stop there at all between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Light-rail service on the Green Line, however, will not be impacted. Amtrak passengers should not be affected, said railroad spokesman Marc Magliari.
Here is how things are expected to shake out according to Deborah Carter McCoy of Union Depot and the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority. But she warns that with these types of events, things can change on the fly, run longer than anticipated or wrap up early. "It depends on how long the vice president is here."
Consequently, it's up to transportation providers to decide when to resume normal operations.
Metro Transit Route 3 will terminate eastbound runs at Kellogg Blvd. and Minnesota Street. Westbound runs to Minneapolis will begin at Kellogg and Minnesota. Riders can catch the Green Line at Union Depot and ride to Central Station, then catch a bus from there.
Riders who normally access Routes 21, 54, 94 and 417 at Union Depot should use the stop at Broadway and 4th Streets.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority riders on Routes 480, 484 and 489 should also use the stop at Broadway and 4th Streets.
Casino and inter-city buses
Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, Megabus and those heading to local casinos will pick up customers on Sibley Street. That's between 4th Street and Kellogg Blvd.
Jefferson said it plans to shuttle passengers from Union Depot to the downtown Minneapolis depot and have passengers depart from there, said Kevin Pursey, bus company's director of marketing.
Inter-city bus passengers can be dropped off by using the carriageway that runs under Union Depot's north plaza between Sibley and Wacouta Streets. Traffic flows only one way so enter the tunnel off of Sibley Street. There is an indoor waiting area on the depot's lower level so riders "won't be waiting in the cold."
Taxis, Uber, Lyft and personal vehicles can also use the tunnel for drop off or pickup purposes. No buses allowed as they are too big for the tunnel, Carter McCoy said.
Metro Transit's Green Line will operate on a normal weekday schedule.
Amtrak's morning eastbound Empire Builder to Chicago will run as scheduled, but its ticket office will shut down immediately after train's scheduled 8 a.m. departure. It will reopen later in the day in time for travelers catching the westbound train to Seattle.
Why St. Paul?
Biden will come to St. Paul because Union Depot was given a $35 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant as part of the more than $4 billion the state received as part of the 2009 stimulus package. The package was designed to repair the U.S. economy after the housing market collapsed in 2008.