Size: 7,650 square feet
Cost: $21 million
Parking: 750 cars
Developer: Minnesota Valley Transit Authority
Architect: Collaborative Design Group
Details: Construction of the Apple Valley Transit Station, touted as the first visible sign of the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority's long-planned Cedar Avenue bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor project, got underway last week along the bustling suburban commercial thoroughfare.
Funded with a combination of federal highway money, state bonds and sales-tax dollars from the metro-area Counties Transit Improvements Board, the facility's most striking feature is an 1,875-square-foot, heated pedestrian skyway to be built over Cedar Avenue to connect the northbound (2,475 square feet) and southbound (1,898 square feet) halves of the station.
The station is designed to serve a new generation of BRT vehicles, built to feel and ride like rubber-tired versions of light-rail trains. The build-out of the rest of the BRT corridor is not yet secured -- county officials are still seeking $11.9 million to complete the $76 million needed to construct the first phase of the Cedar Avenue corridor. But the new Apple Valley station sports the kind of design and architectural features that will be seen in future facilities along the route from Lakeville to the Mall of America.
The station's most noticeable features, aside from the skyway, are its new, 486-space, two-level parking ramp and the curving roof over the northbound station platform. The north platform is much the bigger of the two, at 1,125 covered square feet, while the south platform will be only 279 square feet: Because the Apple Valley stop is nearer the southern terminus of the line, many more bus riders will be heading north toward the Mall of America than will be going south toward Lakeville. The platforms will be level with the bus entrances, so riders won't have to step up to get onto the vehicles.
The parking ramp will have 10 stalls reserved for hybrid gas-electric vehicles as well as 10 bicycle lockers, planners say.
The architect, Collaborative Design Group, has included an array of green features, highlighted by a system to capture all of the storm-water runoff from the station for reuse in rain gardens stocked with "sustainable vegetation." Other features include use of passive ventilation for cooling, capturing solar energy for heating and a high percentage of building materials that include recycled content or that can be recycled themselves.
Don Jacobson, a freelance writer based in St. Paul, can be contacted at email@example.com.