A $420 million rapid busway from White Bear Lake to Union Depot in downtown St. Paul is still years away, but its future is coming into focus. The cities along the route, as well as Ramsey County, had approved its route and vehicle type as of last week.
The project next moves to environmental review, design and engineering. Construction could begin as soon as 2023, officials said.
Plans for the line include 20 stations served with hybrid-electric buses, running every 10 minutes during peak traffic periods and every 15 minutes from early morning until midnight, seven days a week.
The Rush Line would follow a 14-mile route along Robert Street, Phalen Boulevard, the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority’s right-of-way alongside the Bruce Vento Trail, and Hwy. 61. Most of it would consist of bus-only lanes.
Key installations along the line include Maplewood Mall, its transit center and park-and-ride lot; and 17 medical facilities, including Regions, St. John’s and Bethesda hospitals, as well as Gillette Children’s, HealthPartners, HealthEast and Allina clinics.
The cities of St. Paul, Maplewood, White Bear Lake, Vadnais Heights and Gem Lake, along with White Bear Township, have given their approvals.
Controlled deer hunts to begin Oct. 2
Controlled bow hunts to cull deer in six Brooklyn Park locations are set to begin Oct. 2 and run through Nov. 15. The hunts will be conducted by Metro Bowhunters Resource Base on properties owned by the city or the Three Rivers Park District.
Parks will remain open to the public during the hunts, although visitors will be advised to stay on the trails and maintained areas.
Brooklyn Park city leaders adopted a deer management plan in 2011, which includes current hunting efforts. Since then, the number of deer-related car accidents has dropped from 105 to 60 in 2016, according to the city.
Permitted hunters are selected through a computerized lottery system.
A list of hunting locations and dates is available on the city website.
City unveils new business-friendly website
Roseville is investing $12,000 a year in a new website that promises to be “vibrant,” with a constant flow of new information aimed at luring new businesses to the suburb and keeping existing ones happy.
The pitch it makes is that Roseville is close to both major downtowns and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, while still maintaining a suburban feel.
Jeanne Kelsey, the city’s housing and economic development program manager, and Kari Collins, community development director, described the site last week to the City Council shortly before its unveiling.
The site, GrowRoseville.com, was designed to feel like a stand-alone while also having the same look and feel as the city’s main website.
The site makes it easy for businesses to find out things such as the city’s willingness to subsidize projects, while highlighting available sites for development and redevelopment.
Board is concerned over departing workers
More than a third of new employees left their jobs in Washington County government in 2016, a budget worksheet shows.
The budget document shows that 37 percent of all departures in 2016 involved new employees, a figure that Commissioner Karla Bigham said was “concerning” and needed further study.
“I was surprised at the number of employees leaving in two years,” said Lisa Weik, the board’s chairwoman.
Washington County had 149 total job departures in 2016, including 40 retirees, 15 who left involuntarily and 94 who left for other reasons.
In recent years, county leaders have worked to improve wages and benefits for the county workforce, which currently numbers 1,217.
Free Northstar work shuttle kicks off
Workers traveling on the Northstar commuter line can now catch free shuttles to get to their jobs from the Fridley station.
The shuttle service, which began Sept. 5, transports workers from the Fridley station to area employers along dedicated bus routes, including stops at the Medtronic facilities, Unity Hospital, BAE Systems and Cummins Power Generation.
The shuttle service will be funded for a year with a $240,000 federal grant awarded to Anoka County. It was one of eight projects selected by the Metropolitan Council to receive the federal funds.
A kickoff event for the shuttles will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 28 at the Fridley Northstar station, 6050 Main St., with a ribbon cutting planned for 8 a.m.
Council seeks community feedback on pool
New Hope City Council members are looking to replace the city’s 50-year-old outdoor pool and want input from residents on what amenities pool users value most.
A listening session is planned for 7 p.m. on Oct. 2 at New Hope City Hall, 4401 Xylon Av. N.
The city aims to locate a new police station and city hall on the existing pool site, which has stirred pushback from residents and pool users who object to plans to reduce the size of the current 50-meter pool.
City leaders last month asked a resident committee to consider other options that would keep the same size pool.
More information on the pool planning process is available on the city’s website.