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Continued: Scott County unhappy with busway station plans

  • Article by: DAVID PETERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 5, 2013 - 11:05 PM

Lobbying for Hwy. 169

A wider issue foremost on the mind of Jon Ulrich, transportation point man for the Scott County Board, was just lobbying for a 169 line at all.

“We need to be included here,” he said.

Compared to other corridors, the meeting made clear that 169 has drawbacks:

• It feels a bit duplicative of the Southwest Corridor light rail line, running from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.

• No express bus service would go away, so why would commuters dump a nonstop service downtown for one that stops at stations all along the line?

• That’s especially true because a stop like General Mills Boulevard, potentially a major station because so many folks work there, could mean a five- to seven-minute wait for all other riders.

Conversely, though, Scott County officials are plainly worried about being left off the grid at a time when gas prices are volatile and transit could pull in a lot of riders.

Carver officials noted that, much like with Scott, a lot of their folks are aging and are going to be looking for options other than the car.

Chance to weigh in

Last week’s meeting was billed as a major chance for local officials to weigh in on the evolving plans for transit lines, but far from the end point.

Met Council officials stressed that one key goal was to let cities and counties know what they need to do in their own planning to maximize their chances of being included in the system as it grows.

For both Scott and Carver, there was lots of talk of chickens and eggs: Do stations follow high density, or do stations create the conditions for density to occur? Whose first move is it?

The 169 busway, according to the preliminary draft, would have stops at Marschall Road in Shakopee, site of a major transit station being created right now; Stagecoach Road; Pioneer Trail in Bloomington; something in the Golden Triangle area of Eden Prairie, site yet to be decided; Bren Road, Excelsior Boulevard, Cedar Lake Road, and then turning east on 394, at General Mills Boulevard, Louisiana Avenue and Xenia Avenue, site of the West End development in St. Louis Park, before finally heading downtown.

 

David Peterson • 952-746-3285

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