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Many want more light rail stations in St. Paul

The proposed Central Corridor light rail line — now in the earliest phases of construction between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis — should have more stops along University Avenue, some St. Paul legislators say.

At a Tuesday hearing at the Capitol, many were concerned that of the 15 planned stations on the 11-mile line, only one is between Snelling Avenue and Dale Street, an approximately 2-mile stretch, said a report from House Public Information Services.

Bills sponsored by Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) seek $12 million to add stations at Victoria Street and Western and Hamline avenues. “These stops are essential to the vitality of the line,” said Rep. Paul Rosenthal (DFL-Edina).

Said the report:

Proponents said that greatly limits access in the low-income, ethnically diverse neighborhoods, where many residents rely on public transportation for everything from getting to work to going to the grocery store. Anne White, chair of the District Councils Collaborative of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, said there is “½-mile-or-less spacing along most of the rest of the line.”

St. Paul City Councilman Melvin Carter said the city has agreed to pay for one station at a cost of about $5 million. He said research has indicated resident would be willing to walk up to ½ mile to use the train.

Adding more stations could boost the $941 million project above a cost-effectiveness guideline used to procure federal money. Federal dollars are funding half the project.

 The rail line is scheduled to begin running in 2014.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/14/2009 - 05:51 pm.

    I’m sure many residents wouldn’t mind walking half a mile to catch a train, but for elderly people or for anyone carrying two bags of groceries, for instance, or trying not to fall down if the sidewalks are sheer ice on a cold morning, half a mile could be an eternal trip.

    Will there still be bus service that stops at many corners (I hope)? Most of University Avenue runs through residential neighborhoods on its north side and some of it on its south side, so there might be lots of folks who need the convenience of a bus more than the speed of a train.

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