Residents of a single street in Oakdale are reacting heatedly to plans for an east metro busway stretching from downtown St. Paul to Woodbury and Lake Elmo.
In fact, an official of a nonprofit senior housing project in the area warns that the public will need to buy that property if the Gold Line transitway proceeds, because “we will not be able to pay all our bills,” from the impact of construction, as well as changes to the street.
Paul Reinke, an Oakdale City Council member who serves on the commission driving the busway’s creation, said he sympathizes with some concerns.
If one particular configuration along Fourth Street in Oakdale is chosen, he said, “the impact could be just awful. I’ve been telling people who call and e-mail that to run the line along the north side of the street would make no sense, so destructive would it be to access to people’s property. I do sense support to take it off the table, but it still will be evaluated.”
The Gold Line, unlike busways to and from the south metro, is designed to run along frontage roads and other local streets near Interstate 94, rather than jump off and on a freeway. That means heated reaction where homes are involved. One resident wrote the commission to say, “I absolutely DO NOT want the Gold Line BRT to be placed on 4th St. It has zero redeeming value to me as a resident, it will damage my quality of life, and reduce my enjoyment of my single greatest asset, my home.”
The commission blacked out names of complaining commenters from a compilation placed online, but Reinke and other officials planning the line met late Thursday with citizens alarmed by the plans.
The Gold Line plans are also causing consternation in Lake Elmo, traditionally a militantly rural place worried that any stations on its turf will end up containing high-density housing.
The Gateway Corridor commission was expected on Thursday to settle on a plan creating a terminus for the line in Lake Elmo. But it deferred action at the request of Lake Elmo officials to allow them a chance to work with the Metropolitan Council on what it means for them.