White Bear Lake has a 25,000 population and a quaint downtown. Every time we’ve had bus service, it’s cancelled due to non-use.
Years ago, Metropolitan Council and Ramsey County started their push for the light rail Rush Line (also known as the Purple Line) and for a bus to run every 15 minutes … up to 89 buses daily (in each direction) between St. Paul and White Bear Lake. The transit line would have 20 stops between the two cities and would operate on the Bruce Vento biking/walking trail, ruining that too.
Initially Met Council proceeded without any input from residents. A few years later they “told” city councils what they were going to do. Then they started having “community input meetings.” At those meetings, anyone who was against this Rush Line was shot down at the meetings, and their input was never mentioned again. Their comments/questions didn’t support what the Met Council planned to do with our tax money.
Then they came to White Bear Lake and did more meetings, and a survey, to ask “which area would you like the White Bear Lake station to be located?” Not, “Do you want this?” Many people wrote in they didn’t want it all. But again, they didn’t include any of the non-supporting comments in any of their reports to the public. They even claimed everyone wants the Rush Line.
The then White Bear Lake City Council didn’t feel they could do anything, except perhaps influence where the station would be. Voters in White Bear Lake totally disagreed with this stance, and in November we voted in a new mayor and a new Ward 2 council person, that ran against the Rush Line/Purple Line.
St. Paul also has businesses that have hired a PR firm to help fight this Purple Line. If the Purple Line goes forth, these businesses will lose their customer parking spots, and thus go out of business. Do members of Metropolitan Council not care? The answer clearly is no, Met Council doesn’t care about small businesses.
I’m happy to see that more people and cities are fighting these overpriced bus lines and light rail lines, even though to date they haven’t been able to stop Met Council.
I feel so bad for the people living in the buildings with cracks caused by construction from these light rails (one of the early concerns from the people who didn’t want it). Will the members of Met Council ever start listening to the people and cities?
Another clear example why we should have a Met Council that has members voted in by the people, so we can vote them out when they don’t and won’t listen. Clearly our governor isn’t listening to the people, and lets his Met Council do whatever they want to do to us.
Met Council has way too much power, and they don’t seem to answer to anyone. How did they ever get so much power over the people, cities and our tax money? I’m happy to recently hear and read that some of our state politicians are finally looking into things, wanting audits and justifications. I certainly hope they stop this madness. The people will be watching.
Peggy Van Sickle lives in White Bear Lake and is a volunteer with the No Rush Line Coalition.